Other men thought I spent all day at home eating biscuits...
WHEN computer programmers Edmund and Elaine Farrow sat down to consider the impending birth of their first child, they came to a life-changing conclusion: that he – rather than she – was probably better suited to bringing up the baby.
The couple earned roughly the same, but their verdict was that his calm and patient nature would be better employed at home.
Mr Farrow, 42, of Edinburgh, has only just returned to conventional work after 15 years raising three youngsters – and writing two books about his experiences.
He said: ‘It should seem a bit more normal now than when I began. In all my time as a housedad, I only twice encountered another father in the same role.
‘It can be quite isolating being the only man at the toddler group.
‘You have to be a bit brazen and just go up and start a conversation because you’re not going to be first preference in a room full of other mothers. But not having birth stories to share was a disadvantage.
‘I found myself justifying my existence to people – and other men would think I was just sitting at home all day eating biscuits.
‘The truth is totally different of course. It’s not necessarily hard work but it is constant.
‘At one point I was looking after three children under five and spent the day covered in food and sick.
‘I was having to make the choice between having some time to myself and getting enough sleep. Many men make the mistake of going into being a house-husband thinking they’ll do something else at the same time, like write a book or run a small business. ‘Chances are all that will go by the wayside.’ Mr Farrow – who lives with Elaine, 41, and children Matthew, 15, Daniel, 13 and elevenyear-old Joanna – added: ‘The changes to the law allowing maternity leave to be shared will help increase the numbers of housedads.
‘I suspect that there won’t ever be an equal number of men and women raising the children, but the proportion of fathers doing it will increase.’