New Dad Diaries – Week 14: Our first family holiday




Chronicling life as a new father to his beautiful firstborn child – daughter Thea – Chris Kerr’s goal is to provide all men experiencing fatherhood for the first time with some invaluable tips and tricks as they are learned – the hard way. This week, Chris and Alicia take Thea on her first holiday.

For our first family holiday we went to Torquay, Devon. This was special for me as Torquay is where I spent many of my happiest childhood memories, staying with my Nanny and Grandpa during the Easter and summer holidays. Grandpa is sadly no longer with us, and I feel sad that he didn’t get to meet either Alicia or Thea, as I know he would have loved them dearly.   

We did stay with Nanny, and she instantly bonded with Thea, whose big smiles and joy at sitting on her lap showed me that this bond was very much mutual. We even did many of the things that I did as a kid, including travelling to Brixham by boat and visiting Paignton Zoo, which is one of my earliest childhood memories. You might argue that this was more for me than Thea, and you would probably be right!  

Thea is clearly enjoying her father’s lecture on the biology of gorillas

One thing that really jumped out at me was that holidays with a baby are wonderful – but boy, are they exhausting affairs! First, there is the packing which, bless her, my wife did whilst I was at work. It took her the best part of the week, and Thea’s entourage of stuff filled our entire car. As I rolled up her sun tent and shoved it under the driver’s seat, I fondly remembered the days I would fit everything I needed for a week in my backpack. Those days are gone!  

Second, and I say this as a man who spends a good portion of his work time devising and executing strategy, the planning involved just to get out of the house and down to the beach is insane. Considerations include calculating the exact minute we need to leave the house to maximise Thea’s chances of napping on the way, making sure we have every resource we need for her various needs (nappies, wipes, sun hats, Calpol etc), and being prepared for every weather eventuality – which in the UK is everything short of a tornado. Then, like every strategy, there is always a last-minute curve ball, which in our case involved the inevitable poonami just as we were stepping out the door.  

When we did finally make it to the beach, Thea loved it! 

The days of reading a whole book on the beach are just a memory, for now. Looking after Thea is a 24/7 responsibility that is glorious and tiring in equal measure. This holiday gave me a first-hand experience of what life is like for my wife every day of the week, and I have to say, I am in awe of her and every other stay-at-home parent. For my wife, there are no lunch breaks or out-of-offices, there are no financial rewards and her client certainly doesn’t respect the 9 to 5 working hours. Day or night, Thea calls on my tired wife, and she responds with a love and kindness that I find inspiring. 

This reminded me of the importance of being a team as parents. We have a mutual goal: to build a healthy, happy, thriving family, and the only way to achieve that is by working together. It is therefore unacceptable for the working parent to come home and do nothing.  We may be shattered, but so are our partners. We may have important jobs, but so do our spouses. Great men take responsibility, and that starts with rolling our sleeves up in the home. 

There are many benefits to this. First, we get to spend dedicated time with our wife and child which builds strong marriages and excellent bonds. Second, this hands-on approach will make your child feel loved and secure – key to sound sleep. Third, it keeps morale high – and that is the secret ingredient to happy families. Fourth – it means you and your wife will get things done more quickly, meaning you both get to rest for longer.  

I actually learned the last lesson from my Grandpa, who was ahead of his time in that regard. As a young boy, I asked him why he always dried the dishes whilst my Nanny washed them. He said, “It’s an excuse to spend more time with your Nanny. Besides, the quicker we get the chores done, the quicker we both can rest. That’s the secret to a good marriage.”   

On that note, society needs to start giving stay-at-home parents the same respect as CEOs and other workers. I have often found it strange that our society rises and falls on the strength of the families within it, yet never gives stay-at-home parents the respect that they deserve. So, here’s to my wife, and all stay-at-home parents (on maternity/paternity leave or full-time). You really are doing the most important role of all.  

That’s all for this week.  I am heading back to work for a much-needed break!  

TIP OF THE WEEK:  We have a saying in our house: the money I bring home is not mine, it’s ours. It is in a metaphorical pot in the middle of the room, and it’s just as much my wife’s as it is mine. My role in making sure our family thrives includes ensuring we have sufficient income to cover costs (with some left over for memory creation!). My wife is in charge of day-to-day operations management (the tough bit). Together, we might just succeed in mission parenting! 

Chris Kerr

Chris is a husband to Alicia and father to Thea, who is the subject of his columns on Fatherhood for Sorted.  In his spare time he works for a national law firm in an executive capacity and provides crisis leadership consultancy support for non-profits across the UK.  He attends Urban Crofters Church in Cardiff.  A keen weekend adventurer, Chris is regularly spotted in the sea or on mountains.

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