Having completed my first week back to work after paternity leave, I have taken a few moments to reflect on this huge transition. Both the workplace and the home are undergoing change and sometimes it can feel a little like being inbetween two moving walls, inching ever more closely together!
Unlike my other posts, this is a fairly unedited stream of thoughts. Us dads have to prioritise all the time and with regards to editing… I Currently have very little time for it!!!
Dad’s place of work will more than likely have made changes that will directly affect him. Since he has been away, these changes will occur around him, and there will be very little for him to contribute. It’s somewhat overwhelming for a man who is used to a little more control over his own destiny!
Meanwhile, at home, your other half will be tired and trying desperately to establish a routine that means that dad can get some sort of shared time with his little one. Their darling child will be doing everything they can to fight it (though not consciously). They will sleep for extended periods of time, feed irratically, play during their quiet times and they will most likely be asleep when you leave AND when you get home!
At work, no-one works in the departments that they did before you left. A once memorised telephone list is now practically useless. The bread and butter tasks of your job are taking you so much longer to achieve because you are out of practice. You forget your lunchbox 3 days out of 5!
Home, for mum, is a tired haze. The happiest moments of smiles and giggles and cute sleepy face are documented for dad and pinged over by iMessage for him to enjoy at his desk. The 8th nappy of the day has been changed and it’s only 2pm and to top it all off… Your little cherub had peed on you. Scratch that. Had peed ALL OVER YOU. You tell Dad.
At his desk, dad’s heart gets warmed with every cute picture he receives. But whilst he is waiting for a giant exel file to load up, he gets to thinking how much he is missing out on. Whilst he has a lovely picture, he just wishes he could have been there to see it. He then contemplates why people go to see a concert and watch the whole thing through their phone???! Then News that his little boy has peed all over mummy… And he thinks “that’s my boy!”
Mummy is trying to get a nap in, whilst bubba is resting too. The only thing is the washing up, the ironing, and the bins need to be taken out. That and the fact that there is sick on her shoulder.Its all a bit distracting from the art of sleep.
Still waiting for the file to load. Dad makes a list. Things to do once he gets in:
Arrive at 7pm.
7-7.10 cuddle (if baby awake)
7.10-7.20 bath time routine
7.20-7.40 clean up after inevitable bath time mess
7.40 – whenever I can stay awake until: Cook dinner, do the washing up, do the ironing, put a wash on, take the bins out…
9.20 eat dinner
9.30 kiss good night to wife
9.31 resume list (and maybe put the television on whilst ironing. That way I am chillaxing… Right?!)
Mum feels like she has been up 12 hours already and is counting down the minutes until dad returns.
Dad is counting down the minutes before he can jump on the tube to get home, but the spreadsheet has loaded and work must resume!
The family home is filled with Nanny and grandad’s voices as they have face-timed from the West Country. Little one is cooing and gurgling and putting on a show.
Dad can’t remember the last time he spoke to his parents (unless it was a panicked call about the colour of pooh or irratic feed patterns.) He can’t help feeling he’s doing a lot of things and none of them very well… This shirt he is wearing, for example, has a diagonal crease accross the middle. He checks above his computer screen to make sure no one has noticed.
Mummy spends 24/7 with little one and she can’t imagine feeling more love than she does right now. She would however like to speak with more adults and have time to brush her hair. Yes brushing her hair would be a luxury!
Dad spends his days with a lot of adults. All the while craving time with his little ray of sunshine. And thinking he might not bother brushing his hair tomorrow and instead get 5 extra minutes with his son.
But then something miraculous happens…
It’s a magical time that you may not have heard of … In our house we call it a weekend! A truly happy time when three people’s lives intertwine and the workload is split. It’s filled with swimming lessons and trips to the park, and visitors and casual clothes, and television and dare I say it???? BEER! But more than that it is a time of love, togetherness & family fun.
Yes, I would love to be at home during the week, but sometimes life sucks. On the upside though, I am taking my magical weekends and claiming them as my own. Some things are just too precious to squander.