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What Mums Deal With – a Dad’s Perspective
My life has always been good; at least, since I met the beautiful woman I am proud to call my wife. Work came easily to me, and I am fortunate to be paid well doing what I love. It has been like this for years; I recently joined the ranks of the unemployed. A bittersweet feeling and understanding that life is not always as easy as I believed, but in life, instead of the worst time of my life, it was one of the best – really. The system is shocking – no doubt, but still one of the best. I would like to share some of these experiences with you, you see I have 4 children under 5 (no twins here!) and being able to see my family without the hindrance of work has changed my whole perspective on life.
I became unemployed 4 weeks ago. Having a decent income meant that my husband could stay at home (which was a good thing because he told me he wouldn’t work when we got married!), but it also meant that, like most people, so we sat a little higher. what we bring. It’s great while the income lasts, but when it dries up you start to realize how much money you need every month to pay the bills! That’s when reality hits home and you start to panic.
However, I was getting paid well and we thought that, with our savings, we would be fine for 6-8 weeks. Luckily, I was soon offered a job starting in a little over a week, so I was able to do something I always wanted to do. I could really enjoy my family.
Those first few days were tough for me. Our oldest son (age 4.5) just started school and that means the next son (age 2.5) just lost his best friend. It’s weird, but over the weekend, I don’t really understand what a great babysitter is. It sure didn’t take long!
Little 2.5 and his sister (1.5 years old) needed a new friend. Someone who can tell them what to do, teach them how to play and generally entertain them. Wait…I didn’t know it would be like this? I think my husband took advantage of the situation by having an extra hand, and so I was put on nappy duty – 5 dirty nappies during class? And the youngest (4 months), seems to be able to get more ‘stuff’ out of his diaper and back than the laws of physics! Isn’t that right??? Is that so? Every day? My husband looked at me happily. He confirmed that it was a daily yes, but he thought it would get better in the next week.
So one week was spent wondering when the money would start again AND trying to remember how to play dominoes, or teaching an enthusiastic little girl to play with Matchbox cars while a 2.5 boy offered tea from the little girl’s teapot. . Is it just me or did the world go haywire somewhere along the line?
Oh, and how could I forget to mention that the 2.5 little one got his last teeth (molars), the 1.5 little one got eye teeth, molars and more, and the 4 month old just started on the ‘teeth journey’? You can’t imagine the noise of 3 kids, all screaming from toothache!!! Give me a subway or a busy mall – IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!
Somehow I survived. I waited for the end of school when my ‘babysitter’ came home and spent a lot of time with the other children, but still allowed them to be changed, fed, bathed, read books and games that they played at 4 months old. watching. I am so tired every night.
I look back as I write these words and wonder why this is? My wife was there too. Did he do nothing? Then I remember it’s true – she’s breastfeeding, doing laundry, washing, cleaning, shopping, riding kids and the usual mommy stuff! But if we were both completely occupied…so what? He usually does it all by himself! Isn’t it?
Wow. Talk about respecting the role of a mother.
Not only has she managed to do it all by herself all these years, but she’s raised a wonderful child. They are curious, polite, well mannered and well mannered. You might think I’m just being biased, but we get responses like this all the time.
My husband did an amazing job. I know I’m helping, but it’s nothing compared to what he accomplishes every day.
At the end of the week, I forgot my previous way of life, I started to relax a little. My phone rang frequently and I was working on it when they arrived. At the beginning of the week, I realized that my phone was not ringing much, but by the end of the week, I didn’t notice anymore.
Well, even though I’m almost completely immune to nappy smell at this point, I was really looking forward to the second week when my husband happily told me that the number of dirty nappies would decrease. At that time I had no idea how it would work, I just took his word for it. I keep forgetting how stupid I am.
My wonderful husband decided that, since I was home and able to help, he wanted to take the opportunity to start potty training a small 2.5. It was at this point that I began to see the potential problem here! We put off toilet training him because we just moved into a new house, had another baby, went away for Christmas and his older brother started school. Now seems like an obvious time to start (for my husband!).
Day 1 was great. He had a fair idea of when to use the toilet and the day went well. There was only one mishap when he fell asleep on the floor before we got a towel for him to sleep on, but overall we were happy. I am very happy because it seems that my worries were completely unfounded.
Day 2, I was really excited about it because I had only changed 4 dirty nappies the day before, and to reduce that number was a relief. The only problem is that little 1.5 decided to take off his diaper too because he’s grown and doesn’t need it either. Unfortunately, she’s a little girl and the toilet, even with a baby seat, is big…but her brother didn’t use the potty, so why should he?
What a tragedy.
Danger everywhere. In my office(!), in the living room, in the kitchen, on my lap. No. They’re only 1, but it’s not fun to see them walking barefoot to the fridge! I swear he will do it on purpose too. He was like a small bucket of water at his feet, but he never ran out. I think I counted 4 in an hour at one stage. There is nothing you should fight like this in the office. The biggest problem was that the cleaner wiped my desk under my papers, or just around them! I feel for many of you, this may be normal, but for me it is completely foreign.
Then, just before tea, came the first ‘bomb’ – literally. That’s when my sister-in-law’s words hit home. Once they start eating what we eat, when they go to the toilet they are just as bad as we did on the floor. GROSS!
Day 3 we tried to hold onto his cloth, but on day 4 we gave up. These nappies are a great idea, but the only downside is that the kids can work too. Same thing on day 4, but on day 5 he started using the potty and was very proud of depositing money.
You know there’s a sense of accomplishment when you see the light go on in those little eyes when they know they’ve done well. He proudly displayed his achievements and received a lot of praise for his work. His older brother was also doing well and was just as happy on his first day as he proudly declared ‘no accidents’.
My life changed, and I was so engrossed in these strange and unusual events that I didn’t even notice. I realized this for the first time when I looked at my children at the end of that second week and for the first time I saw that there were 4 perfect and wonderful young people in front of me. Everyone is thirsty for knowledge and excitement, everyone has their own thoughts and ways of looking at things. This is my family. It was an amazing revelation and it hit me hard.
Week 3 and the danger has subsided. Playtime is easier and each one’s satisfaction comes naturally. When my phone rang, it was annoying, even though I still didn’t get a job. The kids and I even started working on a little routine. I also started finding time to help my husband around the house and he (after repeating what I did wrong) told me that he really appreciated it. I’m used to Executives and Upper Management congratulating me on a great presentation or the success of a project, but this was different. I feel that, although we had a good relationship, these weeks brought us closer. I understood more about what she did and appreciated more the effort it takes to be a good mother – and she is the best.
Approaching the end of the 4th week, I found a job and started in just over a week. Even though my shoulders were sagged, I regretted it. I’m going back to that life again, always busy, always pushing hard, and I find that it’s not very attractive to me. Although I need to work to make a living, it really pushed me to think about how to make it happen so that I can spend more time with my children.
Now my kids flock to me and we love to bond. I know I will miss them more than anything and I will miss my husband more than ever when I am away from home. I’m so glad I had that time with them. It was one of the most precious moments of my life and I will always cherish those memories.
As a result of these few weeks, I received two important revelations:
1. I feel that if I don’t have to go to the office, I would like to help my husband in his work. With our children growing up together, this is one job where the challenges will continue and change.
2. I would have been rich if I had invented a disposable cloth, or bonjella (to relieve the pain of the gums, it is a wonderful thing).
I also made some changes that I knew I had to stick to and my daily list consisted of:
– Always thank my husband for doing everything he does and for being who he is
– Take time to talk to each child and get to know their day
…and most importantly…
– Make sure I buy lotto tickets every week
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