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What Mums Deal With – a Dad’s Perspective
My life has always been good; at least it is since I met the beautiful woman I am proud to call my wife. Work came easily to me, and I’m lucky enough to be paid well to do what I love. It had been like this for many years until; I recently joined the ranks of the unemployed. It was a bitter shock and a realization that life is not always as easy as I began to believe, but as life would have it, instead of being the worst time of my life, it has been one of the best – a real one. shock to the system – no doubt, but also one of the best. I would like to share some of these experiences with you, you see, I have 4 children under the age of 5 (no twins here!) and having the opportunity to see my family without the obstruction of work has changed my whole perspective of the life
I became unemployed about 4 weeks ago. Earning a decent income meant that my wife could stay at home (which is lucky as she told me she wouldn’t be working anymore when we got married!), but it also meant that, like most part of the people, we lived just above. our means. This is great while the income lasts, but once it dries up, you start to realize how much money you need monthly just to pay the bills! That’s when reality hits home and you become more than a little nervous.
However, I had a good salary and we calculated that with our savings we would be good for 6-8 weeks. As luck would have it, I was quickly offered a job starting in just over a week, so I was able to do something I’ve always wanted to do. I was able to really enjoy my family.
Those first days were hard for me. Our oldest child (4.5 years old) had just started school and this meant that the next child (at 2.5 years old) had lost his favorite playmate. It’s strange, but on weekends, I never really understood what a great babysitter can be a big brother. Of course, it didn’t take long to figure it out!
Little 2.5 and his sister (1.5 years old) suddenly needed a new playmate. Someone who could tell them what to do, teach them how to play and generally entertain them. Careful…didn’t you know she was going to be like this? I think my wife made the most of the situation to have an extra pair of hands around, and so I was put on diapers – 5 dirty diapers during school time alone? And the youngest (4 months), just seems to have a knack for getting more “stuff” off his diaper and back than the laws of physics seem to allow! This just isn’t fair??? That is? Every day? My wife looked at me with amused sympathy. She confirmed that yes, it was every day, but she thought it would improve next week.
So the first week was spent worrying about when the money would start flowing again AND trying to remember how to play dominoes, or teaching an excited little girl to play with Matchbox cars while the 2.5 served tea from the girl’s tea set. . Was it just me or was the world screwed up somewhere along the line?
Oh, and how could I forget to mention, just 2.5 were his final teeth (molars), just 1.5 were eye teeth, molars and others, and just 4 months he had just started in the “journey of teeth” ? You can’t imagine the noise of 3 children, all screaming at the same time from the pain of cutting their teeth!!! Give me a subway or a busy mall – PLEASE!
Somehow I survived. I waited at the end of school when my “babysitter” came home and took care of a lot of the other children, but that still left changed, fed, showered, books read and games that all 3 children played with just 4 months. watching I was really tired every night.
I look back as I write these words and wonder, why was that? My wife was there too. Didn’t he do anything? Then I remember, that’s right – I was breastfeeding, washing, ironing, cleaning, shopping, running the kids around and the normal things a mother does! But if we were both fully occupied… how does it work? She usually does all these things by herself! Isn’t it?
Wow. Talk about a new respect for the role of the mother.
Not only has she managed to do this for herself all these years, but she has raised children who are simply wonderful. They are curious, polite, well behaved and have excellent manners. You might think I’m just biased, but we get a lot of feedback.
My wife really did an amazing job. I know I have help, but it’s nothing compared to what she gets every day.
At the end of the week, my previous lifestyle forgotten, I began to relax a little. My phone was ringing every now and then and I was advancing job opportunities when they presented themselves. At the beginning of the week I felt like my phone wasn’t ringing enough, but by the end of the week, I didn’t really notice it anymore.
OK, although now almost immune to the smell of a very full diaper, I was really looking forward to the second week when my wife happily told me that the frequency of dirty diapers will decrease. At the time I never really thought about how it worked, I just took his word for it. I constantly forget how stupid I can be.
My wonderful wife had decided that, seeing that I was home and able to help, she would like to take the opportunity to start training the little 2.5 toilets. At this time I began to see the potential problem here! We had delayed toilet training because we had just settled into a new house, had another baby, gone for Christmas and his older brother started school. Now seemed like an obvious time to start (to my wife anyway!).
Day 1 was pretty cool. He already had a good idea of when he needed to use the bathroom and the day was pretty successful. Only one accident when he fell asleep on the floor before we could get a diaper on him for his nap, but all in all we were pretty happy. I was doubly pleased as all my worries seemed completely unfounded.
On day 2, I was very excited because I had only changed 4 dirty diapers the day before, and any reduction in that number was a relief. The only problem was that now the little 1.5 decided to start taking off her diapers too because she was a big girl and didn’t need them. Unfortunately, she is a girl and the toilet, even with a child seat is very large … but her brother did not use a potty, so why should he?
What a disaster.
Incidents everywhere. In my office (!), in the living room, in the kitchen, in my lap. Ok, they were only a #1, but it’s just not nice to be the one to discover it walking down the stairs to the cold! I swear she would even do it on purpose. It was like a small water jug on the legs, but one that was never missing. I think I counted 4 in an hour at one stage. There is nothing you have to conflict like this in the office. My biggest problem was whether the cleaner had cleared my desk under my paper work, or just around it! I understand to many of you, this was probably quite normal, but to me it was completely foreign.
Then, right before you, came the first “bombshell” – literally. It was then that my brother-in-law’s words hit home. Once they start eating what we eat, when they go to the toilet it’s as bad as if we did it on the floor. BIG!
On day 3 we tried to keep her diaper on her, but on day 4 we gave up. Those disposable diapers are a great idea, but the only downside is that babies can still work. So day 4 was similar, but on day 5, she started using the potty herself and was very proud of making deposits.
You know, there’s a sense of accomplishment when you see the light turn on in those little eyes when they know they’ve done well. She would be proud to show off her achievements and received considerable praise for a job well done. His older brother was also doing very well and was equally ecstatic on the first day when he proudly announced that there had been “no accidents”.
My life had been changed, with me too distracted by these strange and unknown events to even notice. I understood when, at the end of that second week, I looked at my children and saw, for the first time, that there were 4 perfect and wonderful young people in front of me. Each thirst for knowledge and excitement, each with their own thoughts and perspectives on things. This was my family. It was an incredible revelation and it hit me hard.
Week 3 and the accidents had decreased. Playtime was easier and satisfying each of their personal needs came naturally. When my phone rang, it was now a nuisance, even though I hadn’t secured any work yet. The children and I had also started to work in a little routine. I started looking for opportunities to help my wife around the house and she (while doing some things I did wrong) told me she really appreciated it. I was used to Executives and Senior Management congratulating me on an excellent presentation or successful delivery of a project, but this was different. I realized that even though we had a great relationship, these weeks had brought us closer. I had a greater understanding of what she did and a greater appreciation of the effort required to be a good mother – and it was the best.
As Week 4 approaches, I have successfully found work and will start in just over a week. While it took a weight off my shoulders, it also made me feel miserable. I would go back to that life, still busy, still pushed hard, and I find that it now has much less appeal for me. While I need to work to be able to afford to live, it really led me to start thinking about ways to make it possible to have more time to spend with my children.
Now, my children rush to me and we love to be around each other. I know I will miss more than anything and I will miss my wife more than ever when I am not home. I’m really glad I had this time with them. It was one of the most precious times of my life and I will always cherish those memories.
As a result of these few weeks, I had two main revelations:
1. I realized that if I didn’t have to go to an office, I would like to help my wife at her work. With our children growing up together, this is a job where the challenges will be constant and ever-changing.
2. I could be rich if I had invented disposable diapers, or bonjella (to relieve gum pain, it’s really wonderful stuff).
I’ve also made some changes that I know I need to stick to and my daily list will now include:
– Always thank my wife for doing everything she does and for being everything she is
– Always make time to talk with each child individually and find out about their day
…and most importantly…
– Make sure you buy a lottery ticket every week
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