Parental Leave – Uncharted territory

It has been a while, for (hopefully) obvious reasons; the arrival of a little one in your life means that everything you knew until then is thrown in the air and rearranges itself as it lands in a heap by your feet.

We have had the Urban Wild Boy (UWB) now since the end of February and it has been a lot of fun! The first three weeks we had together as a family to help him (and us) settle in to this new situation, which was great. After this, because we do like bacon on our bread, I had to go back to work and make some money whilst the Urban Wild Woman stayed at home with the boy. She was entitled to 18 weeks of fully paid Parental Leave, so the choice was easy; she took the full 18 weeks.

After the 18 weeks were up, at the end of June, it was my turn. I had spoken at work that I wanted to do the same, so take 18 weeks off to balance things out, but they asked if it would be alright if I took 26 weeks. This meant that it would be a lot easier to find cover for the time I am away in the form of a secondment. Given the fact that they asked me to have 8 extra weeks off and that we had saved up enough for any period of time that we would be on Statutory Parental Pay (aka. “beer money”), the choice was easy, I took the 26 weeks.

This meant that I am now at home with the boy and won’t have to go back to work until the beginning of 2017! It seems unreal, a period that long without work but with money in the bank but at the same time very exciting to be given this opportunity.

We are in week 4 now (as far as I can tell, they all blur together) and things are going great. We had a couple of days in the beginning of getting used to each other and getting used to the routine of feeding, sleeping and playing but now everything seems settled for the moment.

Now the dust has settled and we have survived the first mini-heatwave (poor little boy) and teeth have come through, summer seems to finally have arrived and calm will set in. The problem now is that a lot of the services and playgroups and swimming etc. break up for a couple of weeks, so I will have to get creative and find us things to do. This will probably involve a lot of walks outdoors in the carrier and gardening, but I will also have to get in touch with lots of people for play-dates and a change of scenery for the UWB. There is a gym session for babies (I presume more for parents than for the children) that does run over the summer which I am keen to explore, as well as checking out the local swimming pools for a nice break from the monotony of home life.

If anybody has some good ideas for Dads and babies to do for 6 months, I am open to anything, please let me know in the Comments section below.

I will do another post on the progress of the Fostering to Adopt process shortly (I hope) as that is another story altogether, this one is just a quick update and a sign of life.