Stay-at-Home Dad: Jonny Scott, Northern Ireland

“The term stay-at-home dad doesn’t bother me. I didn’t mind being described like that. But if someone asked me, I’d say I was a lady what lunched.” Jonny Scott, on parenting…

Jonny Scott lives in Northern Ireland with his wife Katie and their two children: Edie, four, and Herbie, eight months. He talks about being a stay-at-home dad for the first two years of Edie’s life…

On being a stay-at-home dad

“The term stay-at-home dad doesn’t bother me. I didn’t mind being described like that. But if someone asked me I’d say I was a lady what lunched. I was having a great time.

We hadn’t planned for me to stay at home with Edie rather than working. It came about because childcare was so expensive in London. It would have been most of my wages, so it was a no-brainer that I should knock it on the head and hang out with Edie.

At the time, I was landscaping gardens, working for somebody else. Katie was earning more by a long shot so we decided that she’d go back to work while I stayed at home. I loved my job but I didn’t find it hard to stop working.

We’re now living in Northern Ireland and I’m running a landscaping business. I don’t think that working is easier than staying at home – no way. I found it easier being at home with Edie than what I’m doing now.

I never worried that people were judging me. But we didn’t have enough money with me not earning. If we’d had enough so that I could stay home, it would have been great but instead we moved back to Ireland when Edie was 18 months because London was too expensive.

When you parent full time, you know everything – all their needs and wants

We had got ourselves into a bit of debt because we didn’t curtail our lifestyle although only Katie was earning – we went out for lunch, dinners, partying. And we couldn’t afford it.

So we moved back and I continued to look after Edie, as well as my mum – who had breast cancer. Then when Edie was two, I went to college to study and started doing bits of work. By that point, my mum was able to look after her a bit, and we also got a childminder.

I didn’t find it difficult to be separated from Edie – she was with my mum, so it was nice, and the childminder was my best mate’s mum. It was good for Edie to not just hang out with me. She was right age to go off and find herself.

When she was little in London, I had friends with kids and there were parent and child groups in Brockwell Park. We’d also go out for lunch (a lot). I didn’t feel excluded as a dad – though I could see how that would happen.

Katie was breastfeeding until Edie was one so she’d do night feeds then I’d get her up in the morning and sort out breakfast while Katie went off to work. In the evenings, we’d look after her together.

I felt proud telling people I was looking after Edie. And I think it was good for her; she enjoyed it. Good one on one attention. I think she learned a lot. Our friends didn’t question it but maybe older people thought it was a bit weird, as they would never have done it.

Katie was happy about it, as she thought Edie was too young for a childminder. She was happy that it was me at home with her instead. Also, we’d worked out how much childcare would cost and it wasn’t affordable. But the one negative was that with me at home, we weren’t making as much money.

It was good for me to get to know Edie in that way, it was lovely. And it made it easier when our second one, Herbie, came along – knowing what to do. When you’re working, you get home from work, they go to bed – you don’t link in with their routine. When you parent full time, you know everything – all their needs and wants.

This time round, I didn’t stop working. Katie went back after eight months. Herbie goes to the childminder and she’s the most lovely human being in the world; it’s like leaving him with family, so it’s easy. Childcare is so much cheaper here, we pay £3.30 an hour – so we’re in a much better position financially.”

Are you at stay-at-home dad? How do you find it? Or perhaps you’re considering becoming a stay-at-home dad? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below…

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