Other men thought I spent all day at home eat­ing bis­cuits...

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Comment -

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.’

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