A few weeks ago I officially became a stay-at-home-dad when Kaiko got a full time job. Champagne flowed freely on the day my dream was realised! I know many men who go to work primarily to get away from their wife and kids but not me, I love this life! Up at six every morning, make lunch boxes and breakfast followed by the school run, playgroup for Millie on the odd day, picnic in the park if it's warm enough, another school run, make dinner, go to gym - ahh, this is the life!
But I have come to realise that people who make the decision to look after their own children, which generally means giving up a job, belong to a minority group who instead of being congratulated, receive no support from the government and are in fact, persecuted for doing the right thing!
After having a chronic cough for some 20 years I was diagnosed with having a type of asthma - one day into the medication and it was like having a new set of lungs! Only trouble is, now I'm a stay-at-home-dad with no money coming in all these sprays and inhalers are a bit expensive. Having never claimed any sort of social security I know nothing of the system but thought that as a full time carer I would probably qualify for free prescriptions. After several days of looking for a number to call I was told I would have to call Jobseekers. So I did, and it went something like this.
Me: I'm calling to check if I am entitled to free prescriptions.
Bored Voice: Are you claiming Job Seekers Allowance?
Me: No, what's that?
Irritated Voice: Are you looking for a job?
Me: No, my wife works and I look after the kids.
Jumped up Prick: Well why don't you get a childminder and work like everyone else?
Me: Because all the childminders are full and the private nursery costs £800 a month. Besides I don't want job seekers allowance, just free asthma medicine. And even more besides I don't want a childminder - I want to look after my own kids.
Bored Jobsworth: Sorry I can't help unless you are looking for a job.
Me: I hope this call is being recorded for training purposes.
I was a bit stunned by this! Would he have talked to me like that if I was a housewife rather than husband? I grew up (and worked!) in an age when it seemed half of England was on the dole and living on handouts but the first time I could use a bit of help its implied that I'm a lazy bastard who doesn't want to work! Luckily since then I have discovered Family Tax Credits and although I am still not eligible for free prescriptions we will at least get some tax back every month, so the inhalers stay.
Despite the opposition I remain undeterred and a very happy Stay-at-home-Dad!