As a working dad, I can miss out on some stuff. I have always made sure that I am really active in the morning routines and the few hours I get in the evening. The wake up and breakfast are my domain and then once I am home it's a little bit of play time then bath time and the bed routine. I love it all. I’ve said before how I can get a little bit of dad guilt that I can’t do the nursery drop off or pick up as much as I’d like to. Or be there for dinner times or just when my husband has so much to do himself I can’t lighten the load because I am sat behind a desk.
I never used to have an issue with work before becoming a dad. It served a purpose to allow me to use my brain, socialise and ultimately provide me with money to allow me to do wonderful things and have a roof over my head. What else would we do with all our child free time? But now, I have a different view of it all.
I have a good work ethic. I’m not lazy and like to be busy every day. I can't handle being bored. Sitting behind a desk working for someone else/a company definitely has its perks (a little security, paid holiday, benefits etc) but since becoming a dad I really questioned what I was doing. What was I achieving? Yes I earn money to provide for the family, which I am massively grateful for don't get me wrong. But while I am sat here, am I missing out on the park trips, play dates, him learning new things?
I love being a dad. Quite possibly more than anything on this planet. It inspired me to create this blog and provides me with so much love and overwhelming happiness that I could quite literally burst from it all. But could I have been the one who stayed at home with him full time the last two and half years? I don’t actually know.
I love time with my son. But 24/7? It’s hard bloody work. We all know that. I’ve had my boy for full days from breakfast to bedtime and even full weekends with solo parent responsibility and I absolutely cherish it. But it makes me think that being the stay at home parent is probably not for me. Am I a bad parent for saying that? Before kids I thought I’d be the biggest ‘earth papa’ and relinquish everything I ever knew for my baby... just give it all up for him. And we do all sacrifice huge amounts for them (willingly)… but I think I made the right choice being the parent who works. I get to miss him. I yearn to get home to him and my husband. My lovely little family. I’m not saying that you’d be bored of your kids if you’re with them all day, but missing them and having the warmest welcome home, being able to relieve your partner of the daily duty they’ve just endured… it feels good.
This is not to say I don't want more time with him. I think I’d like a better balance for sure. Some days I can be at my desk receiving snapchats showing me what they’re up to and I’m thinking “Why am I here when I could helping build a fort out of cushions!” Maybe working four days a week would be ideal while he’s at nursery. He’s home every day by 1pm. I would love to be around for that some days. When he starts school in a year how lovely would it be to work til three-ish and pick him up every day? That's the dream...!
I am confident in being a parent in the work place. I will never hide it or sweep it under the rug in fear it would affect my ‘professionalism’. My boy comes first. Career? Further down that list I’m afraid. I will never feel bad about asking for an hour here or there to do the first ever nursery drop off or work from home so I can pop into pre-school for an assembly. These things are so important. My inbox can wait, these things can't.
Striking a balance and having flexible working can be hard. I’ve worked in places before where I see parents coming in fresh from the drop off at nursery and leave at five to pick them up. That baby/toddler has had more hours in nursery than the parents have had in work. And sometimes that’s the only option if you want to work but also need to keep a roof over your head and have the cupboards full.
None of this easy and there is no right or wrong way. We’re all doing what we feel best for our families. If given the option would we still work if we didn't have to? What would we do to have that escapism and have that other part of ourselves activated that isn’t the parent that’s ‘always on’? I'm not quite sure...