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The stay-at-home dad who forged a brand new path
WHEN Jason Ayres and his wife Claire discussed what they would do after the birth of their first child, he had no doubts about the future.
“I wanted to take a break from my career. I’m older than my wife – I was 37 then – and she didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mum, because at 22 her career was only just beginning,” he said.
So for the past six years Mr Ayres, 45, from Bicester, has stayed at home looking after their sons Oliver, six, and Jamie, three, while Claire works shifts as a carer for disabled people.
He had already given up his job as an account manager at market research company Nielsen in Headington, where he had worked for 15 years, for a research job with the probation service.
“That’s when our first child came along. At that time I was doing a lot of DJ and karaoke work for other people and I said, ‘why don’t I try doing that for myself instead?’. “I bought a lot of equipment and it has been very successful.
“It worked for us,” he said. “And then I started writing about it."”
He has just published Austerity Dad, his second book of comic tales about life as a stay-at-home dad — only a few months after his first book, Fortysomething Father.
He says the early years were most difficult, as at toddler groups he was invariably the only man.
“Sometimes there was another dad there, but he would be with the mum, having happened to have a day off. At that stage I was getting used to being a parent, and the change of lifestyle that involved, and I did find it uncomfortable.
“Initially I found it daunting, but over time I got chatting to people and started to make some friends. “I have a lot more female friends now than male, but I don’t really notice the gender issue now.”
He has also built up his hobby into a business, providing discos and karaoke for children’s parties, birthdays and weddings.
“I’ve stopped advertising because I get booked up by word of mouth,” he said.
“I do a regular Sunday night at the White Hart in Bicester and people know me from that.”
He added: “I’m completely unrecognisable from the person I was 10 years ago. I feel incredibly happy and fulfilled. “I have two wonderful children, a wonderful family life and I’m making a living doing things I enjoy.”
Austerity Dad is available from Coles Bookstore, in Crown Walk, Bicester and online at http://www.amazon.co.uk
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