The Dad Diaries: Stuart Hall, freelance film producer – Day 2

Etta and her mum

On Day 1, Stuart Hall – dad of one-year-old Etta – told us about his daughter’s premature birth and loving mornings with her. Today, things take a turn for the worse and he begins to see what it’s really like for his wife, being at home full time…

If you missed, it read Stuart Hall’s The Dad Diaries: Day 1 first.

The Dad Diaries: Day 2

‘’Please tell me she’s leaping or about to come out of a leap, please!’’ Those are the words I hear myself utter to my wife in an exhausted and beaten tone of voice.

Today has been tough, really tough. I know I said yesterday that I totally understood how difficult it is being a full time mum but those are just words that I’ve been saying for the past year. I do, of course, believe them and to a certain extent understand how hard it is, but today those words had serious weight behind them.

From almost the minute Etta woke up today it’s been a struggle. A struggle to get her dressed, tears galore. A struggle to play games, screaming her tiny lungs out. A struggle to go out and about – she hates the pram, she hates the shopping trolley. I’ve fed her when I thought she was hungry, I’ve changed her nappy, I’ve given her cuddles, I’ve made her laugh (not convincingly though, strange how even a one-year-old can ooze with disdain). But nothing was working and as much as I hate it, I get frustrated and angry. I know she doesn’t mean it, I know she is never malicious but sometimes her screaming is like fingernails down a chalkboard.

The weeks leading up to and including that leap are characterised in the book by a jolly little rain cloud. That jolly little rain cloud is more like a complete and utter shit storm.

We’ve been avid readers of The Wonder Weeks and it has kept us relatively sane over this last year. I can’t recommend it enough for new parents. For those who perhaps haven’t heard about it, it’s 30 years’ worth of research into babies’ development cycles. They can pretty accurately pinpoint when a developmental leap is going to happen. The weeks leading up to and including that leap are characterised in the book by a jolly little rain cloud. That jolly little rain cloud is more like a complete and utter shit storm.

We are smack bang in the middle of a leap right now and it’s the worst one yet. I had managed to steer clear of most of the fallout from this leap due to disappearing off to work for eight hours a day. But today was my first real taste of the overwhelming and all-encompassing effort it takes to raise one’s child. Gone are the days when she would sit happily on our laps giggling away to herself. She is constantly up and on the go and it is utterly draining.

I love and respect my wife, but today has taught me that she is literally superhuman. She has to deal with all of this on a daily basis and I can barely cope for 12 hours.

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