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The interview

WHY I LOVE BEING A STAY-AT-HOME DAD

The interview

WHY I LOVE BEING A STAY-AT-HOME DAD

Chief child carer to his two children, Jaron James reveals the joys of looking after the kids full time and describes his perfect Father’s Day

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“It’s fun hanging out with the kids – everything they come out with at this age is so genuine. I just feel really lucky”

With more than half of fathers keen to take a less stressful job in order to spend more time with their children and get a better work-life balance (as revealed in a recent report), an increasing number of men are opting to become stay-at-home dads. Meet freelance photographer Jaron James. The 42-year-old dad is now chief child carer of his two children – Coco, five, and Sylvie, two – and a fixture at the school gates.

After marrying Red magazine’s deputy editor Sarah Tomczak in 2011 and having Coco, it was a natural step for Jaron to take on the main childcare responsibilities. “Sarah really loves her job, and as I’m freelance, I had more flexibility,” he says. “We’ve got a system going where I do the school run, which I love. I like the short, sharp social interaction and I’ve built up my own little clique of mums.” Jaron also describes himself as “a bit of a clean freak” and laughs at Sarah’s lack of interest in the vacuum cleaner.

Despite overseeing getting the girls ready, washing, cleaning and meal-planning at home, Jaron doesn’t miss the daily grind of working life. With a recent survey showing that 96 per cent of us make decisions on autopilot rather than conscious ones, he has decided to focus on what matters. “Looking after the girls has changed my perspective of what life should be about. You get so sucked into life being about work. And I don’t have to worry about the long commute.”

What about the perfect Father’s Day? “As I’m with the girls all week and the mornings are frantic, I would get up early and be out of the house before 7am and go on a long bike ride in the Kent countryside – maybe 50 miles or so. It’s the only thing I get to do that’s just me. I’d spend the rest of the day outside with Sarah and the kids. We’d go kite-flying somewhere like Dungeness [a huge shingle beach on the Kent coast]. Then we’d have a picnic on the beach or in the woods. It would have to include scotch eggs, sausage rolls and posh ginger beer.”

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Photographer: Matt Holyoak / Stylist: Lucy Bond / Interviewer: Maggie Davis

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