While she's not totally back full-time in the office, the change has been quite noticeable. She is doing a lot of work from home, and going in when she needs to. Still, it means that she's away from us for a few hours each day so that she can focus on getting her job done.
What it means for us is that I get to spend a whole heap more time with Ava than before - which has both upsides and downsides... It means that I get to see all her little smiles, hear her giggles & watch her develop; it also means that I have to change every poopy nappy, console her every time she cries, and spend every morning up early reading and playing when usually I wish everyone was still asleep...
Of course, none of these are really anything to be upset or annoyed about. I'm incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to raise her as best I can, which not many other parents (fathers in particular) would ever get. It's estimated that less than 1% of Aussie dads stay at home, so I'm all the more fortunate to have such an opportunity to be so involved in my little girl's life.
It has also been said that having the male as the stay-at-home parent can bring about various advantages for the child, as well as the modern mother. While allowing Megan to return to work this early, she is not missing out on being a part of Ava's life and research suggests that the maternal bond is strong enough to be maintained while the mother works full-time (full-time working mothers were 'more engaged with their children on a day-to-day level than their male counterparts'). It has also been suggested that infants respond favourably to being raised by their fathers for at least the first 5 years of life, with fathers providing a better physical, cognitive, emotional & behavioural development, resulting in 'greater emotional balance, stronger curiosity and a stronger sense of self-assurance in the child'.
Obviously, I didn't do any of this research myself, and the whole thing is going to be debated for centuries to come, and obviously the traditional method of mothers being the primary caretaker has worked for millennia. It does, however, give us a bit more confidence that Ava's not going to grow up resenting either of us, and gives me faith that I'm not going to be a total screw-up... I guess only time will tell.