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Dad Life with Josh Zimmerman: Which parent has it more durable? The verdict is in

The average workday for a journalist can be pretty frantic, so it’s always nice to have things put in perspective for me by my wife.

No matter how run off my feet I feel on any given day, it’s a safe bet Jade is having it worse – something I’m reminded of often by the steady stream of progress reports I receive via WhatsApp.

Faced with rapidly approaching deadlines and a seemingly insurmountable workload, there is something magically reassuring about your phone lighting up with a photo of your baby.

Especially when said baby is covered head-to-toe in spaghetti sauce, screaming and in the process of throwing what remains of her dinner at her mum.

Other real-life examples of these kinds of pick-me-ups include a video of Cleo standing up in the corner of her cot nearest her baby monitor and waving directly at the camera.

“Ommgggg I thought she was asleep. I put her in there 20 minutes ago and was making the breakfasts. Maybe she’s done a poo. I wish the camera had a smell setting,” Jade’s accompanying message read.

A few days later: “Cleo peed on the bathroom floor today when I was trying to change her nappy.”

Later that same afternoon: “I just woke her up dropping my peanut butter spoon on the tiles, NOOOO.”

And a personal favourite: “Omg just did lunch, full clean up, got Cleo all dressed with fresh nappy and socks ready for her only nap and she’s gone and done her third s*** for the day”.

When I don’t hear anything at all, one of two things has happened. Either it’s a magical day on which Cleo is a perfect angel and Jade is enjoying her company so much she forgets to message entirely.

On these occasions, my latent delusion that being a stay-at-home parent is bliss flares up to the point I consider looking up how much notice the office requires I provide when throwing in the towel.

Alternatively – and nine times out of 10 – everything on the home front has gone completely to hell.

This happened most recently earlier this month.

For once the culprit wasn’t Cleo. Or at least, it wasn’t only Cleo – although she certainly played a strong supporting role.

Since I went back to work following Cleo’s birth we’ve started getting our groceries delivered direct to our house. Apart from the odd missing item or nonsensical replacement (if I order crunchy peanut butter I sure as hell don’t want smooth) this has worked pretty well.

That was until Jade, distracted by Cleo pulling over the indoor washing line while she was in the middle of cleaning up after lunch, missed a call from the delivery man.

Despite checking the “leave at door” box on the order form – something that had occurred without fail for months – this driver instead decided he would depart with the supplies still on board.

That resulted in Jade becoming acquainted with Olive the virtual assistant.

After asking to speak to a real-life operator three times – and being read the opening hours of our nearest store three times in response – she was seeing red.

Luckily for Olive, on Jade’s fourth attempt the message finally got through, she was connected with a human and the driver was dispatched back to our home post-haste.

His arrival brought Jade to the front door just long enough for Cleo to pull over the freshly re-populated washing line for a second time.

I had the pleasure of hearing this anecdote recounted while returning our clothes to the washing line for a third time, freshly relieved of any delusion about which of Cleo’s parents has the toughest gig.

Jade’s tips from the trenches

Despite the occasional hiccup, getting our groceries delivered has been an amazing time-saver and very handy during this sickness-ridden winter.

Cleo has recently gone through what is apparently a common, temporary eating regression at around 10 months’ old. Changing up her environment, such as eating outside on a rug, has helped us reduce some of the meal time stress during this phase.

Getting Cleo somewhat involved in everyday chores helps keep her entertained so I can tick off some to-dos. Allowing her to play with a small basket of her old clothes while I deal with the mountain of washing is one example of what’s currently working.

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