Dads at home: 'I can't turn my back for a second!'
From engineer to 'nappy architect', first-time dad Darragh Breathnach (31) from Stepaside, Co Dublin, inadvertently ended up on baby duty after losing his job late last year.
Now happily juggling bottles, buggies and teddy bears -- as well as his part-time studies -- Darragh reckons raising one-year-old Morgan is his greatest achievement to date.
"Our first baby Morgan was five months old when I was made redundant last December. My wife Cathy was still on maternity leave, so for the first few months we looked after him together.
"Initially, the plan was for me to return to work -- but I enjoyed minding Morgan so much that I decided to do it full time after Cathy went back to work in May.
"At first, I was nervous about being left on my own with him -- or thought I might be bored at home. Within a week, however, I was loving every minute of it.
"Generally, mammies get all the attention. As a stay-at-home dad, I get to be there for all the different stages of Morgan's development -- his first steps, his first words.
"During the day, Morgan and I go for walks, do the grocery shopping, visit my dad at the nursing home or do Waterbabies swimming lessons together.
"Of course, it's hard work too. From the moment Morgan gets up in the morning to the moment he jumps into Cathy's arms in the evening, I can't turn my back for a second -- but it's also incredibly rewarding.
"If I was still working, I wouldn't even realise what I was missing. It can be hard for Cathy.
"As an accountant, she works long, hard days. For us, though, it simply made more sense for her to be the main breadwinner -- and I have no problem with that.
"Growing up, there were eight of us -- and it would have been unheard for our father to stay at home minding us. Nowadays, childcare is so expensive, there are lots of other men in the same position as me.
"Being a stay-at-home dad has also allowed me to study for Cisco CCNA certification, so that I'm better qualified when I rejoin the workforce down the line. For now, though, I'm happy to be left holding the baby."