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Note, this page is no longer updated. However please feel free to read about my past experiences as a full-time househusband.

Life as a househusband is never simple!

Just to set the scene: sixteen years of climbing the corporate ladder as an IT project manager meant I was well versed at dealing with crises at work. Having reached the decisive mid-life age of 41 - it should have been 40 but writers hate clichés - I realised I had a crisis at home. That of seeing my children grow up quicker than their father could get back from work. My wife, Gillian, a primary school teacher who listens to The Archers whilst ironing, has a coquettish look that would melt butter, and is mostly vegetarian - the odd Big Mac excepted - approved a 'gap year' so I could spend some quality time with my family. That one year became four and, unwittingly, I became a desperate househusband.

Other important characters in my musings from that period are: my teenage daughter Bethany (14), who likes to play the clarinet and piano and is generally bright and bubbly - except first thing in the mornings when she'd easily win a part as an extra in a zombie movie - and Christian (11) who reads voraciously, has more energy than the electricity board, and likes to pair his brilliant sense of humour with some truly awful jokes. Lollipop, Angel, Dexter and Sydney are our four goldfish - the 'LADS' - and complete our happy family. Sadly Katie, our transsexual hamster, died - he is sorely missed.

Son of a Busker (posted 01/08/2010)
Who needs X-Factor when you've got Hunstanton seafront?

17.5 Things To Buy With £17.50 (posted 27/06/2010)
The responsibility for holding the beer kitty money proves too much for Steve. It's amazing what you can spend £17.50 on these days.

Growing Pains? Tell Me About It. (posted 21/05/2010)
Children will insist on growing. Which makes school uniform an ongoing challenge for a desperate househusband.

10/10 Foot-Mouth-Insert Moment (posted 30/04/2010)
As embarrassing moments go, one that scores 10/10 doesn't come along very often. Not unless you are a desperate househusband.

IQ Test Produces Shock Results! (posted 27/03/2010)
If anyone ever asks you to do an IQ test 'for fun', don't do it!

Energy Crisis Hits Home (posted 02/03/2010)
High fuel bills hit the Barleys, and it's Steve's old school friend who's to blame.

Peace Of Mind? War Of Wills More Like! (posted 22/01/2010)
When a leaflet drops on the Barley's doormat, it shatters the very peace it promises.

A Magical, Musical Christmas (posted 19/12/2009)
Christmas is a magical and musical time of year, as proved by Steve Barley's Christmas message.

Why Me? (posted 07/12/2009)
A seasonal temp fills in while Lady Luck is on holiday and causes the longest run of bad fortune Steve Barley's ever had.

Cosmology And Domesticity (posted 05/11/2009)
Steve has a 'Eureka!' moment and discovers the missing link between the universe and life as a stay-at-home dad!

Bad Backs and Bad Attitudes (posted 18/09/2009)
It's bad backs and bad attitudes as Steve unintentionally gets to compare standards of health care in Hertfordshire.

Making A Meal Of It (posted 17/08/2009)
When kids host a dinner party for their parents, their culinary methods prove totally ludicrous yet utterly logical!

That Sinking Feeling (posted 10/07/2009)
One of the Barley family's goldfish, Dory, isn't well. And having a bruiser of a brother called Billy Bob doesn't help. We can only pray for fishy salvation.

You Must Be Nuts! (posted 04/06/2009)
Prince Charles thinks grey squirrels have replaced red ones. Pah! It's the black ones you should watch out for. As Steve's squirrel assault course video proves.

Must The Show Go On? (posted 22/05/2009)
There's major drama in the Barley household when Christian's theatre production looms but he's not in it!

A Fishy Tale (posted 24/04/2009)
From April fool's jokes to student pranks and 'best man' antics. Steve is ashamed to say he's done them all.

Booking From Hell! (posted 30/03/2009)
Booking a half term holiday online turns out to be a painful experience for Steve.

Eulogy to Eric (posted 04/03/2009)
A tribute to my father-in-law, one of life's great characters, who sadly passed away recently.

What Is It About Doctors? (posted 08/02/2009)
We blindly entrust our bodies and our lives to doctors we barely know. Steve exposes what they're really like!

Am I a Job Tart? (posted 14/01/2009)
Comparing jobs with friends in the pub, Steve learns he has had more than expected. But does that make him a job tart?

A Christmas Confession (posted 18/12/2008)
It's haunted him for years and he's ashamed at what he did. It's time for Steven to confess his Christmas sins.

We've Gone Viral! (posted 20/11/2008)
Autumn is a time of change. A time of falling leaves, winds and grey skies. Oh, and malicious flu bugs too.

A Not So Clean Break of It (posted 30/10/2008)
Steven remembers the days when a weekend in Brighton didn't involve kids, but did involve a mystery garment in bed!

What the Credit Crunch Really Means (posted 12/10/2008)
Tired of hearing all those financial phrases in the news but not knowing what they're talking about? Try Steven's alternative guide to the credit crunch gobbledegook!

Missing Letters (posted 03/10/2008)
When Steven's local freebie newspaper has a printing error, it produces some hilarious results.

On Yer Bike Mate! (posted 22/09/2008)
Cycling 520 miles over the French Alps is nothing compared to the grief Steven gets from his fellow cyclists before they've even begun their gruelling tour.

Deciphering the Country Code (posted 02/09/2008)
Flies, wasps, voles, what more could you ask for on holiday? Steven shares his country experiences and creature discomforts.

The Emperor's New Clothes (posted 15/08/2008)
Steven attends the Swanwick Writers' Summer School, makes lots of new friends and shares his contemporary take on a classic fairy tale.

How Difficult Can a Sandwich Be? (posted 04/08/2008)
According to Steven, the collective noun for a group of elderly relatives is an 'indecision', but how difficult can it really be to take orders for sandwich fillings?

When Computers Die (posted 22/07/2008)
A writer without a computer is just an idle thinker. A pen and paper won't hack it either.

The Recycling Roundabout (posted 04/07/2008)
Brown bins, grey bins, blue bins, black bins. The Barley household's bin recycled!

Barley FamilyClick to enlarge