Balancing life as a parent whilst working and spending quality time with your family is something I’m still figuring out how to do. (I’d assume from the expression that Binky has just given me as I read her the title of this blog, that I’m not quite there in that department.) I seem to find myself in trouble more often than not these days, as I haven’t quite figured out how to balance so many things all at once.
For every mistake you make, there’s always a solution to win your other half back onside. I know a lot of men will relate with me on this! Sadly, for me, this means leaving all my pride behind. Binky like myself is very childish and easily amused. My recent successful attempts have included the ‘kissasaurus rex.’ I’m reluctant to admit this but it involves me taking the role of a dinosaur with my arms pulled back, charging forward, lips puckered, preparing to kiss until she’s defeated with a smile back on her face. I also shamelessly used my 4-month old daughter as a guitar to serenade her with a song.
Learn as you go along
It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, especially your parents, as they’ve made parenting look so easy.
I remember asking my Dad how he managed it and he calmly responded: ‘Son, life isn’t a comic book and there is no Superman or Wonder Women, so don’t disappoint yourself and try to achieve the impossible. What you do have though is time, time to make mistakes and learn from them. I’m a 67-year-old man with a lot of years behind me, I’ve made my mistakes and I will continue to make some more. Parenting was never easy, I just learnt to make it look easier as time went by.’
“Parenting was never easy, I just learnt to make it look easier as time went by.”
There’s no way I can expect to get it right having only been a dad for four months. Sometimes you have to remind yourself of that. Having never been in this position before, how can I expect to get it right with no prior experience? You learn as you go along.
We all love our children and going to work has no reflection on how much you love them. It’s important that you remember that! Some mothers and fathers prefer to work from home, some prefer to go to the office and others decide not to work at all. There is no right or wrong decision!
It comes down to whatever suits you and your family the best.
Every career is different but they are equally stressful and time consuming. I personally, have decided to start my own business at possibly the busiest time of my life! I find it extremely hard to switch off when I have so much responsibility and so much at stake. I’m constantly thinking about it from the moment I wake up, to the moment I fall asleep. I know this can frustrate Binky and it does sometimes impact on our relationship and interferes with our family time. The important thing is that she knows why I’m doing it and she is supportive of my journey.
“I want to give my family stability and create something that they’re proud of.”
I want to give my family stability and create something that they’re proud of. I’ve been extremely lucky growing up and I wish for my daughter to have the same opportunities I did.
That being said, even if you have the best intentions in the world, don’t let your work impact on your family time. It’s easier said than done but certainly possible.
Family time is different for everyone. Some people enjoy being on the floor with their child in the midst of the chaos and dribble, whilst others sit on the sofa, watch and take it all in. Remember, this has no reflection of how much you love your family, everyone is different!
As much as I love and enjoy the freedom of my work, I love going home. Family has always been so important to Binky and I. It’s something that I cherish now, more then ever. You soon realise how much you can miss by not even being around your child for 5 minutes!
Coming home in time for India’s evening bath with Binky is one of my favourite parts of the day. It gives me the chance to just switch off and focus on the most important things – my girls. From bath time to bed time, it enables me to just slow things down and unwind.
When it comes to the weekend, as mentioned in my previous blog, don’t use having a child to limit what you do. Make your child part of the experience and organise your family time. If you have a hobby or passion, do it with your family – everything is possible!
Story of the week
You’ll always discover things that your child will find hilarious. You don’t understand it but as it works, you just keep doing it! I was lying in bed with India resting on me and for some unbeknown reason she became very unsettled and I was unable to calm her down. Binky walked in to come to the rescue but with my pride hanging in the balance, I refused the assistance offered, to prove to myself I could do it.
First thing was to check all obvious signs that could cause distress:
- Has she been fed? Check.
- Nappy changed? Check.
- Fresh clothes? Check.
I was left with few options of ways to salvage this situation in front of a disapproving Binky. Now in the past, India had found it hysterical when we did the iconic lift from the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ along with saying the words ‘Dirty Dancing.’ Surely something as trivial as this was not appropriate for the current situation but in desperation I made my move. It only went and bloody worked!
“I felt something run down my face and into my mouth.”
Elated with my achievement, I turned to Binky with a smug look and a sigh of relief. Stupidly taking my attention off India, I felt something run down my face and into my mouth. Binky’s reaction of hysterical laughter said it all. India had dribbled in my mouth. She had struck again.
Tip of the week
When doing the iconic lift from Dirty Dancing with your baby – keep your mouth closed!