Bloggy Buddies, welcome back to a special & somewhat different approach to ‘He Said / She Said’. For this edition, we’ve decided to call it ‘He Asks / She Asks’.
Believe it or not, it’s practically our 1st anniversary of The Mrs. going back to work full time and me becoming a full time Stay At Home Dad (which means I decided to become a blogger about one year ago!) Happy Anniversary & Birthday to us!
So to look back on the last year where we made such a massive decision – a defining moment in our lives being honest – we have donned our ‘Interviewer / Interviewee’ hat and decided to grill each other with a number of question about what’s happening now & more importantly how we feel now about those decisions we made a year earlier.
Graham Norton & Jonathan Ross – shit your pants boys – there’s a new crew in town 🙂
How tough was handing over the reins & going back to work?
Being honest I’d mixed emotions. I knew I was going to miss my time with the girls terribly however I was very excited about starting a new job for a great company. Specifically handing over the reigns to Ross was easy in that it gave me great peace of mind. Did I know that things wouldn’t be done the way I wanted to? For sure however all that mattered was that the girls were safe and well so from that point of view I felt they couldn’t have been in better hands.
The reality of it is tough though – I definitely find it challenging on a number of levels. My work keeps me very busy and involves a lot of travel so being away from Ross & the girls is horrible. Even when I’m not away I definitely notice how much or how little time I spend with the girls.
I think maybe the biggest challenge is being the main breadwinner and still carrying a lot of ‘mum-tasks‘. I’ve read a lot of blogs recently about just how much more time mums spend thinking about all aspects of their families lives which men don’t necessarily think about (obviously not all men). I find my energy levels are low and yet there are so many things I want to get done.
How much time do you get with the Nips?
So although I travel a lot and also have to attend a number of late afternoon meetings I am lucky to have some flexibility in my job. So I do whatever I need to – if that means working from home or maybe leaving work earlier in the afternoon and logging back on later on. There are ways to make it work but on any normal day I am gone before the kids get up but I am always back for bedtime. I think when your children are small bedtime is the one time of day that both parents need to be around. It’s a massive job and with all the various phases kids go through you do need support with it.
So to get back to the question – I get to spend a couple of hours a day with the girls. Over the last few weeks Mia has been waking at night so I am getting some extra ‘quality’ time in with her around 2am 🙂 I’m always around at the weekends and we are really trying to put proper structure in place for our weekends so that we can really make the best use of that family time.
Aspects you love about our situation?
I love that the girls are getting to spend so much time with their dad. It is a rare and beautiful thing. Hearing them come out with your phrases or even just seeing how tight you guys are when you are all having a great day. It melts my heart.
Aspects you do not love about our situation?
We are both so busy and finding ‘us’ time is very hard. Like so many other families out there support networks are hard and getting out for date nights don’t happen often.
Any regrets with our situation?
None thankfully – although I wouldn’t say no to you being a bit better at the washing / putting away 🙂 (This is not a hint btw!!!)
What are your goals for 2017 for you personally / as a family / as a couple?
We are looking to get fit as a family which will take more work for me than for you. As a family I think our main goal is to improve our quality of life. As a couple, we had our wedding a few weeks back (which was such an amazing day) and we didn’t kill each other in the process! Making time for us and socialising with our friends is high on the agenda.
What has surprised you most about being a stay at home dad?
Just how much I love it. It’s the best job in the world, fact.
The ironic thing was myself and The Missus had discussed the possibility of me leaving work to mind the girls full time about a year & a half earlier (before I even knew I had heart disease) and I pushed back on the idea big time.
‘What? Give up work? Fuck no. You’re kidding me right?! Absolutely no way, no sorry, I can’t do that!‘. (Me, June 2015)
I didn’t know it then but I was just scared. Scared about:
- not earning money for our family
- being 100% responsible for our two nips
- not having the knowledge / skills / confidence to look after them and their every need
It took a serious illness for me to wake up and kop on to the amazing and wonderful opportunity which was in front of me / us. What was I thinking? It’s a no brainer – spend this time with the nips while I have the chance – D’uh.
And that’s exactly what I did and it has surpassed every preconceived idea & notion I had.
What are the best parts of the job?
Without a doubt, spending quality time with the Nips. Quality time = bonding, laughing, playing, teaching, learning, going to the park, swimming, shopping, reading, painting, colouring etc etc etc. One of the best parts is watching their reaction when they hear you putting the key in the door, that really is a beautiful sight.
What are the worst parts?
When the nips aren’t doing what you ask. Jayzus, that tests my patience !!
At times, Nip#1 has the ability to really let me know where I am in her pecking order of favourites. She is very much a Mammies girl and at times just will not do anything I ask her to do. However, I’ve recently learned how to change how I react to these situations and they really have improved dramatically. (I did say I’m still a novice at this right?!).
And as Nip#2 is getting bigger and learning each day, she can be seriously tough at times. At home, she just cries and whinges about 85% of the time – no messing. Bring her out & in company and she’s an angel. It’s such a contrast.
Opening every press within arms reach and pulling the entire contents out onto the floor are her favourite things to do right now. When she finishes with one, she moves to the next one. When you tell her to stop, she has a massive meltdown every time!! Well Nip#2 & the dog are twins 🙂
How does being a SAHD compare with working in a business?
I loved my job with Pubble, genuinely did. Ain’t gonna lie, I shed a tear or two when I knew I had to leave that’s how much I loved it. But knowing what I know now and where I am in life right now, there is zero comparison, family first.
Having said that a main difference between the two was with work, at least you got a break. Generally you had a start & end time and then you could chill or whatever you want. Being a SAHD, there is no start or no end time, you are ‘on’ 24 hrs a day & currently, I’m doing a 16/17 day everyday and that is a long day.
If the Nips are in good form with no colds or coughs (etc) it’s brilliant. But if they have a cold lets say, Jesus H Christ does it turn your day on it’s head!! On days like that, it’s the toughest job in the world as it is mentally & physically demanding and draining.
Do you socialise less now you are a SAHD?
Yep, without a doubt. Specifically I’m talking about going out for a few pints with mates. Since becoming a parent, socialising took a nose dive! I’ll always make a point of talking with other parents at school drop off / collection when possible and at playdates where normally I’m the only Dad there! But from a ‘going out’ point of view, absolutely and it’s something I want to change for 2017.
Do you socialise with other parents?
Yes, this is where I tick the ‘socialising box’! Playdates – either in a house or at a play cafe – will always mean socialising. I’m a social person & I love chatting with other parents so based on the nips age, this is the best way to socialise. Like minded people who we share a lot of common interests – albeit primarily based around the nips – is the best way to get some adult interaction at the moment!
Happy linking up with….