Exhausted dad reveals difficulty of 'being mum'

Brad Kearns and his sons Knox, 2, and Finn, 6 months.
Brad Kearns and his sons Knox, 2, and Finn, 6 months.  Photo: Facebook

When Brad Kearns's wife was taken to hospital with liver failure, the 27-year-old Aussie dad had to become 'mum' to his two infant sons.

After realising how hard stay-at-home mothers have it, Kearns took to Facebook to document his disastrous attempts at single parenthood in a post that has now gone viral.

"It all started yesterday," begins Kearns's social media post, "when I had to rush out of work. Because I'm a dad - and dads get respite for 40+ hours per week under the socially acceptable proviso of 'supporting the family' - while mum continues doing what women seem to so effortlessly do. 'My liver has failed,' read the text message from Sarah. And that's when I became the mum.

"It's now been 24 hours..."

Kearns proceeds to reveal how exhausting he found just one night alone with his children and how Knox, two, and Finn, six months, managed to break his spirit in just over 12 hours.

"As the night rolls on, my patience wears thin," writes Kearns, detailing how he fed his two-year-old instant noodles and sat him in front of the television. "I reduced myself to keeping Knox quiet by allowing him to place stickers on my (very hairy) legs. He was being quiet - 'It's okay, I can shave them off in the morning' was the thought - 'just don't wake Finn'." 

Kearns then describes how volatile his six-month-old baby son is.

"It's amazing how babies sleep the way they do. When you change and finish feeding them, and you gently pick him up to burp him, and he burps, and you rub his back to make him comfortable. And his eyelids become heavy, and he breathes heavily through his nose as the comforting warmth becomes too much for him to be able to keep his eyes open. It's really beautiful.

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"Right up until the part where he f**king screams from the high heavens, as if I've thrown him at a wall by his legs!"

After describing his sleepless night in the post that has now been 'liked' over 50,000 times, Kearns reveals the moment that his mother-in-law arrived at the house.

"I opened the door to my mother-in-law," writes Kearns. "So there I was; unshaven, hair a mess, wearing the pants and socks from the day before and a hoodie covering up the fact I had no shirt on.

"I hadn't showered, not yet brushed my teeth, Knox comes running out in his sleeping bag asking for a new yogurt muesli bar to be opened. I open the door to her to reveal the fact that Knox's noodles were still in a bowl on the table, stickers stuck to the goddamn lounge, the house an absolute mess.

"It was in that moment I knew I was defeated," he admits. "It was also in that moment I knew she knew I knew I was defeated. A vulnerability we try our best to keep from our in-laws.

"That was only 16 hours of being a mum. And I failed."

Kearns has since begun a Facebook blog called 'DadMum life', and promises to update it with his single-parent progress until his wife recovers and makes it home.

Telegraph, London