The se­cret life of a dad on a day off who still puts the twins in nurs­ery


Llanelli Star - - FAMILY MATTERS - Richard IRVINE

THERE’S no money back ser­vice at nurs­eries if your child is ill or on hol­i­day. This is per­fectly un­der­stand­able, they’re busi­nesses and need to bud­get for all even­tu­al­i­ties.

The owner can’t turn away a nurs­ery as­sis­tant with, ‘Thomas and Emma aren’t in to­day, so you won’t be busy enough and we’re not pay­ing you’.

Un­for­tu­nately, there is a prob­lem with this sys­tem.

I like to get my money’s worth, so there’s an awk­ward re­la­tion­ship be­tween days off and child­care.

This week, I’ve taken the twins into nurs­ery for their usual three days, de­spite not tech­ni­cally need­ing child­care.

I drop them off and the nurs­ery as­sis­tant says: “Have a nice day at work.”

I re­ply: “Thank you, yes, hope it’s nice and quiet.”

For some rea­son, I’ve cho­sen to live a se­cret life rather than ad­mit to nurs­ery I’m not at work. I’m even con­scious of not dress­ing down too much so they don’t get sus­pi­cious.

Yes­ter­day, I even said, ‘Yeah, should be al­right to­day, there’s some­body new start­ing who should be a big help,’ to give a bit more depth to my lie.

What I’m try­ing to do is paint a pic­ture of a hard-work­ing car­ing fa­ther, yet the re­al­ity is a man hur­ry­ing off to put Homes Un­der The Ham­mer on the telly, while he pot­ters around do­ing me­nial tasks and eat­ing snacks.

Child­care may feel like an awk­ward lux­ury, but there are a few fac­tors in my de­fence for such self­ish be­hav­iour.

Firstly, noth­ing quite beats the feel­ing of free­dom af­ter drop­ping chil­dren off at nurs­ery for the day.

You wave good­bye to them then drive away feel­ing younger – maybe even lighter – with the win­dows down and the ra­dio on a lit­tle louder.

The sec­ond is an ex­cuse fre­quently used by par­ents who send chil­dren to board­ing schools when they’re seven years old. They prob­a­bly en­joy it more at nurs­ery be­cause there are toys and chil­dren to play with.

While this may be true, I feel be­ing seven years old and sleep­ing in a shared dor­mi­tory with lots of other boys might be a path to West­min­ster but not to child­hood hap­pi­ness.

Also, time off from work is mostly spent find­ing space, tidy­ing and buy­ing things all re­lated to the twins.

A Royal wed­dings doc­u­men­tary on tele­vi­sion this week has helped ease my guilt. It showed aris­to­cratic folk with chil­dren ar­riv­ing at so­cial events flanked by nan­nies.

It made me re­alise, if peo­ple with­out an ac­tual job re­quire 24-hour as­sis­tance with their off­spring, so they can get drunk at wed­dings, then maybe my se­cret ex­is­tence isn’t too bad.

Richard tried to hide his sad­ness at drop­ping the twins at nurs­ery

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