I am… Jamie, and I’m married to Georgia. We have a 3-year-old girl called Edie, who employs me as her butler, entertainer, Netflix operator, bike riding instructor and plaster applier, aka her daddy, and a 6-month-old son, Arlo. He’s new on the scene and so far thankfully he goes a little easier on me.

I work as… I work in a local primary school. Thanks to the school holidays that come with the job I get to spend lots of time with Edie and Arlo. I’m very lucky. I think the only other dads that are fortunate enough to enjoy so much time with their children are full-time stay-at-home dads. I know that a lot of men hardly see their children during the week and then have two short days at the weekend to make up for it. I realise how incredibly fortunate I am that I get to spend so much time with mine.

Do you worry about work-life balance? I think my circumstances are a little different but I can see that things are slowly improving for men. I know one dad who took advantage of the shared paternity leave and he had the time of his life. Also, most men are now afforded two weeks off on full pay for paternity leave, which is a great improvement as a lot of companies used to only offer the statutory amount. These days, working from home is a brilliant option for all parents too, not just dads and I think it’s only a matter of time before we see this kind of flexible working becoming the norm. This would be a great help to parents who find it difficult to see their children as much as they’d like. Just don’t tell the boss you’re secretly watching Peppa Pig as you tap away at the laptop.

I’m the kind of dad that… I would say I’m a hands-on, sensitive, and I would hope, pretty modern dad. I don’t believe in mums taking the lion’s share of responsibility, dads can do it all too (ok, perhaps not breast feeding, but everything else). If men can put together an IKEA wardrobe, they can put a baby grow on a small child. I’m the other end of the spectrum to those dads from past generations who were stern and distant, I’ll do everything with my children whether that’s being soppy with them and showering them with kisses, or the more serious stuff like holding their hand to the doctors, attending parents’ evenings, disciplining them and importantly, encouraging them in everything they do.

As a family we… I’m forever thinking up new places to visit and adventures to take Edie and Arlo on (you should see the Notes app on my iPhone) it’s list after list of places to visit, play dates to arrange, etc. I’m always keen to get us outside, whether it’s somewhere like a new park, a local farm, or into some undiscovered woods to climb fallen trees all day. To balance it out and ensure we don’t turn into complete country bumpkins, we’ll often seek a bit of culture in London, or jump in the car and head down to Brighton.

Parenthood has taught me… That Bing on CBeebies is annoying – he’s so whiny! But seriously, its taught me just how special children are. They’re so innocent, so entertaining, so happy, so hopeful, so trusting and so loving. We would all do well to remember some of those qualities we were born with sometimes. But yeah, Bing – Christ all mighty!

To make my kids feel special… I love putting Edie to bed, I always have. After the children finish their bath together Arlo goes off with Georgia for one final feed whilst I look after Edie. We have a set routine of three short books and then sleep. I’m not sure why I love it so much as it can actually sometimes be a little trying if she’s not in the mood to go to sleep, but perhaps there’s a protective parental instinct subconsciously tugging away at me; I need to end her day by ensuring she’s tucked up safe and sound.

The biggest surprise of fatherhood… Just how much I’ve loved it. I always knew I wanted to be a dad, but I didn’t quite anticipate how incredible it is. There’s nowhere I’d rather be than with my children (and my wife of course!) (and dogs, don’t forget the dogs).

I love being a dad because… It’s hard to say one thing, as put simply, I just love being a dad to two such wonderful children, it’s amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I do sometimes find myself struggling to cope; it’s bloody hard dealing with a 3-year-old having an apocalyptic tantrum whilst the 6-month-old is trying to throw himself off the bed in a suicidal kamikaze mission to reach the dogs who have been rolling in fox poo. But, when it’s good, it’s really good, like the best thing you can possibly imagine. My heart swells thinking about my children, the pride I have in them, the happiness they bring me and the unconditional love I have for them (even if I am forced to watch Bing now and again).

For more about Jamie check out adayinthelifedad.com

More in Features

Writers Bloc #1 Val McDermid

By , 25th September 2018
Features, Regulars
From imposter syndrome to plotting, in a new series for Marie Claire authors give me chapter and verse on how the writing process works for them - starting with multi award-winning crime writer Val McDermid, who has written 32 books in as many years