Firstly, let me make this clear. This post isn’t aimed as a “feel sorry for Dads” post. I’m not like that, I’m not 10 and I’m not in a school playground.
This is just a factual post about how life is being a (working) Dad. You know, there is such a thing…..
I’ve seen and heard first hand mum’s talk about how they have no time for themselves because they’re busy doing *everything*. Childcare, tidying up, bath times, laundry, cleaning the house, cooking, doing the shopping.
But no mention of the Dad? (Ok, so in some instances, the Dad might not be around, and that’s a totally different story).
I’m talking about couples who live together, and co-parent (that’s a thing, you know, it’s not just mums who can look after kids). Does the Dad actually do nothing at all? I mean, you’d like to think he helps a bit, right?
From the moment we found out we were having Grayson, I knew it was going to be hard work. It’s no surprise to hear that babies need constant care and attention. From those very early (ufff, late late) nights, we would take it in turns to get up and feed and change Grayson. That’s what being a team involves, right?
I’d feed him, change him, and get him back to sleep so Ashleigh could rest, and she’d do the same the next time. There were a few nights where we’d do more than our individual share, if the other was overly tired or something. Team. I’ve always been hands on.
This may come as a shock too (again, just from what I read from all the mums online). I do housework. I do Laundry. Hell, I’ll even do the food shop on my own if Ashleigh is at work and can’t come with me. I wake up in the morning, go down, empty the dishwasher, I’ll run the hoover around if the carpets need it. I’m *amazed” when I hear people say “housework, that’s for mums”, or “mums, have a break from all the chores”.
MUMS SHOULDN’T HAVE TO DO ALL THE CHORES.
Now, I am in a very privileged position here. I work in an amazing job, where I work (pretty much) full time from home. I have to go away for a couple of days each month, but it’s nothing too major. I have my own office at the back of the house, which means that during the day when Ashleigh is at work and Grayson has his Grandparents round for childcare, I can close my door and concentrate. But, I’m always there. I get the “hello dad dad” and “bye bye dad dad” every time I go down to the toilet or for a drink. I’ll check everything is ok, and then go back to doing my work. Parenting never, ever stops. Ashleigh mentioned in her last post that she struggles at work if Grayson is unwell or whinging and she has to work – of course – so I’m privileged to be able to just pop down and see how he is.
The other advantage of working from home, is that I’m around to get things done. Hanging the laundry out takes 5 minutes, so when I get up in the morning, I’ll put the laundry on if it needs doing, and when I’m waiting for the kettle for a cuppa later, I’ll hang it out. One job done, one less for Ashleigh to worry about. I’m not a creature of habit, but I do have a weekly routine to pretty much ensure that over the week, the whole house get’s a little bit of attention. If we keep on top of things, we don’t need to worry about finding prolonged periods of time to do more. If I get things done when I have a spare minute, Ashleigh can relax a little bit when she gets home, and we can enjoy evenings together. No, it’s not all bubble baths and wine, it’s also about having a clean sofa to sit on, a tidy lounge, and an empty washing up bowl. We managed to do this when I working in an office, too, it’s not just a working from home luxury, but it does help.
Dad’s are portrayed as these people that don’t do much. Once the baby comes, they go back to work, earn money, pay bills. Dads *expect* a meal on the table when they get home (GET OVER YOURSELF MATE). We both cook here, but I enjoy cooking, and again, working from home, I can stick tea in at half 4, and it’s ready for when everyone is back home and wanting to eat.
You know, probably the biggest issue I have – is when I take Grayson out on my own. I have Tuesday afternoons off to have some time with him. We always go out, somewhere. Whether it’s just for a walk around town, for a coffee, or somewhere more exciting. I’ve lost count of how many times people say “Ahh, giving mum a break are you?” or “Oh, you’re brave taking him out on your own without mum”.
Are these people serious?
He’s my son! I’ve been with him since the minute he was born. I am more than capable of looking after him – of course, I much prefer when Ashleigh is with us, but that’s nothing to do with my ability to look after him, that’s because I much prefer doing things as a family. Also, when I go in to a shop, and see that the baby changing table is in the Ladies Toilet, I get so annoyed. It really boils my blood. I shouldn’t let it get to me, but until these stigmas change, then Dads will always been seen as, well, useless. And you know, we’re not. Not all of us, anyway. I want to be able to change my babies nappy when it needs changing, not when I can find a shop that isn’t still existing in the 60’s.
Finally, Dad Guilt, is as much of a thing as Mum Guilt. I worry about everything, literally, everything. I always fear that I’m not doing enough to help Ashleigh, to help us as a team, to help Grayson learn and grow. But what I do know, is that I’m trying my best, I don’t think I can do much more than that.