Dad's Eye View
Posted by Nicola Elliott
The Easter holidays are almost upon us. Cue two weeks of ‘I’m bored!’ and planning play dates. We asked dad of two and blogger, Jamie Day, from A Day In The Life Dad for his top survival tips and how he fits in wellbeing.
Your blog is called ‘A day in the Life Dad’. What’s a typical day?
‘My life is pretty full-on but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My wife Georgia works in London four days a week while I’m at home being pelted with cereal by the kids. I drop Edie at school, and 2-3 days a week I drop Arlo with his grandparents, then work until 3pm. I’m a freelance writer and social media manager and editor of The FMLY Man, a blogzine for men created by Molly Gunn. I collect the kids, do homework, supper, bath and bed before I finally feel I can slow down a bit. That said, I’ll often work in the evenings but that’s just part and parcel of this new breed of stay-at-home parents who also want a career, and to me, writing can be relaxing and therapeutic.’
Top school holiday survival tips?
‘(1) Engagement with the kids is key during the holidays, whether that’s at home or travelling. They’ve gone from being stimulated at school to being stuck at home, so unless their busy minds are occupied, they quickly turn feral – mine do anyway!
(2) I try and get Edie and Arlo out of the house as much as possible (even if it’s just a dog walk or a trip to the swings), and when we’re at home, we’ll invent games or get the 4 million felt tip pens out for some drawing.
(3) NEVER get the glitter out, you’ll still be clearing it up when the next school holiday comes around.’
Favourite school holiday activity?
‘My kids’ favourite is definitely Legoland. We’re only a short drive away and having been so many times, I’ve become a bit of a nerd when it comes to the best route around the park and avoiding queues (sad I know). It’s up there with my favourite things to do too, purely to see how happy they are, but I just wish it wasn’t so darn expensive. Dog walk anyone? They’re free.’
Favourite game when it all gets TOO MUCH?‘If the kids are reenacting Wrestle Mania with noise levels turned up to 11, a quick win for an element of calm in our house is to have a talent contest. It sounds a little chaotic but stick with me. One by one, we take to the stage (aka the sitting room rug) and sing, dance, play the untuned guitar or simply spin around until we’re dizzy (Arlo). But here’s the key - my talent is that I’m the World Champion at keeping quiet and they have to try and beat me - they fall for it every time!’
What is your Easter break looking like?
‘My daughter Edie gets three weeks off, so that’s an extra week of trying to keep the kids off Netflix. When the holidays come round, I tend to work in the evenings, so during the day we can hit local farms and National Trust sites. I’ve also promised them a trip to the Natural History Museum – Arlo is convinced he’s going to meet Andy from Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures there. He’s going to be very disappointed.’
Our mantra is small steps, big difference. Are you a wellbeing kind of guy?
‘I’ve actually struggled with my wellbeing for a long time, in particular my mental wellbeing which has lead to me not looking after myself in other ways. Thankfully these days I’m very open about how I feel, which has had an incredibly positive impact on my life. Despite a busy life looking after the kids and trying to carve out a successful freelance career, I try and find time for myself with lots of walking and fresh air, I eat well and more recently I’ve taken up meditation.’
SLEEP. Get any? Tips for bedtime routine with kiddos?
The FMLY Store, sells ‘good tees’ (sweaters, t-shirts etc) with £5 from each sale going to charities: Women for Women International, KIDS, Help Refugees UK, The Refugee Council, mothers2mothers, Starlight UK, YAZDA, Prostate Cancer UK, Stand Up To Cancer, Tommy's The Baby Charity, Save the Children, Little Green Pig and Breast Cancer Haven.