Friday, 31 October 2014

The guilt of being a working dad

I don't know if any other dad feels this, I might be the only one but I want to share it in the hope I might not be the only one.

Since Jacob was born, I've been on top of the world, happy, thrilled I have been blessed with such a healthy and happy child.

I've loved every minute, even when he was screaming the place down the first time I was left alone with him!

I've learned a lot about myself and also learned a lot about how to interact with him and help him.

But throughout I have been hit by guilt, the guilt of missing out on special moments and most importantly the guilt of being a 'part-time' dad.

Working as a journalist I normally do 9am to 5.30pm and I don't mind that, but it's the after hours meetings and events I need to sometimes attend which start me off.

I fear Pam is going to feel trapped and doing everything for Jacob, that she has no break when I am out until 9/10pm at night.

Take last Monday for example, I left the house at 8.15am to get to work, did a full day, drove to a council meeting, covered that and then was wanted for some after meetings chats.

I didn't walk back through my front door until 9.10pm, by which time Pam was feeding Jacob his pre bed milk and would be going to bed herself.

So of course I felt guilty she had been with him all day and I hadn't helped at all....

But here's the thing, Pam is utterly supportive and loving about it, she emphasises she can only do that 
BECAUSE I am working and bringing the money home.

She has never once moaned I was away from home, she's been totally brilliant.

I spoke to my dad, who was fantastic and reminded me that I might not think it but I am doing a very important role, bringing the money in to keep a roof over our heads.

And I do get what they are saying, I do. But I still feel yukky and that I am not doing enough to be a hands on and supportive daddy and husband.

Dads? Did you feel like this? Can anyone help me stop feeling so guilty?

Smiling and other wonderful discoveries

THE most wonderful moment of recent weeks has been Jacob smiling away at both me and his mummy.

After the initial ones which you put down to wind, the moment he smiles lightens my world and makes it a simply wonderful place.

I haven't yet captured it on camera as I altenate between smiling and laughing back at him and simply beam with pride at yet another little development in his life.

There are so many recent examples I could share but my favourite has to be anytime he smiles and then lets out a happy laugh like sound.

Just after a milk feed last Saturday, we were in front of the television and he was switching between staring at this box, looking out the window and back at me.

He looked, he smiled and then was so delighted with his effort he let out the happiest sound.

Other developments in the last few weeks have been an increase in babbling, he's realised he can make different sounds now so we get 'ooohs' 'bahhhhhhh' 'aaaaaahhhhhhh' and all sorts of other wonderful sounds.

And I am delighted to say he now goes on his playmat and plays with the various toys in and around him and doesn't throw up as was his want in the early weeks.

I never realised the pleasure in simply listening to him as he goes about learning about his surroundings.

And of course talking to him is such a joy, especially when he looks and goes 'ooooooooooooooooooo' back!

Development is coming along a treat, and his appetite is the same – 15lb 6 oz and just 11 weeks old.

I always thought I would try and get him to be a footballer, might try rugby league instead!

Daddyhood and how it changes your life

NEXT week, Jacob would have been with us for a staggering three months and in that time, my haven't things changed!

I've tried to write this blog a number of times but got so far and realised there was another aspect to my life which had changed since I became part of the 'Daddyhood'.

It's been a mind-blowing experience for me, I have adored every second so far and hope it will continue long into the future.

The main change is in me, I am now a lot calmer person, work still infuriates me at times but for some reason I now can just take a breath and move on.

Importantly whatever has happened at work I leave it at work and once go through the front door I am a happy person again.

Sleeping as I have blogged about before is very interesting but its the tiredness which has struck me more.

Previously I could easily be found playing Football Manager or watching TV until the early hours then sleeping and be fine the next day.

Now around 10pm I can feel the tiredness setting in, the TV goes off as does the laptop and my bed calls more.

I have always been quite an emotional person but since becoming a dad a new frontier has opened up, previously didn't get upset about stories involving kids as didn't have one.

Now anything involving children and I can feel the tears and instantly think 'How would I cope?' - Why does parenting do this to you?

We went to an NCT reunion last Saturday and I realised all the mums had different experiences to talk about, natural birth, assisted deliveries and our case c-section.

Yet the dads were exactly the same! How you coping?, er it's been mental, How you finding being back at 
work? Crap Have you done the really bad nappies? Yup

I will end on the biggest mind blown I still can't adjust to, Jacob will be a toddler, a little boy, a young man – I can't picture him as a little toddler running around and talking yet can't wait at the same time!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Our Hospital Visit

TUESDAY saw us visit Birmingham Children's Hospital to look at the extra finger Jacob was born with on both hands.

It's the first time I have ever visited BCH and apart from parking it was a nice experience, a lovely child-friendly hospital which must ease the worries of the little people who sadly need to spend a lot longer than we did there.

Speaking to the specialist she explained she would not touch him until he was a year old and then x-ray his hand to see whether he was double jointed and the extra finger could just be removed or there was more bone to remove.

Strangely we weren't fearful at all because I was born with the same thing Jacob has, an extra finger on both hands! But apart from me and him I can find no other example of this in my family.

The only decision it looks like we will have to make is whether to have both done at once or one at a time, it's a two week healing process so I reckon we ought to grin and bear it for a fortnight leaving our poor Jacob with no hands!

But the specialist was lovely, Jacob of course woke up as he does love to charm ladies in the medical profession!. She spoke to us both in a language we both understood and didn't need to have spent seven years at medical school for.

To be honest the only drama occurred on the way home as the brakes on our car were awfully spongy. Halfway home they became so dangerous that when I braked at just 20mph the back wheels began to skid.

We limped to a garage who were wonderful and repaired our car quickly without hassle and at a very lovely price.

It was a frightening experience for someone who is still very much a novice driver but I was chuffed with the way I coped and didn't carry on driving!

Of course our wonderful son slept through most of it even when he was in his car seat by the side of the road!

Within an hour of being home Jacob was lying on his playmat and together with mummy kept demolishing his little building blocks!

All in all a day of two halves!

We have a 7 week old!

CAN someone help me?

It seems like only two minutes I was sitting in recovery holding my newborn son. Something has happened though and we appear to have skipped seven whole weeks.

On Thursday, Jacob will be two MONTHS old! I mean talk about time flies but this period has been like being on Concord! - Not that I would know, closest I get to Mach speed is when I shave with a particular razor....

It's been a terrific voyage of discovery for the little man and for his mum and dad, I've already blogged on the sleep issues. What is wonderful is how he appears to be cluster feeding in an evening to try and go as long as he can during the night.

But to watch him learn about the world is still a sight to behold even seven weeks on. Those wide eyes when he is taking in a black and white picture, when his bouncy giraffe is doing its thing or even when daddy makes strange noises (to amuse you understand) is enough to make you forget any crap in the 'real world'.

He already has little character traits that make you laugh, first thing after his 'breakfast' feed he adores lying in his crib looking at the morning light, transfixed!

I marvel at how he falls asleep in the loudest environments, not happy when he's put in his car seat but as soon as he is in the car and on the motorway he can be sound asleep.

I can take him for a walk in his pushchair and be by the busiest nosiest road and do I hear a peep, nope? Sound asleep

Even when he is having 'interaction time' with us, his yawns and his little facial expressions are enough to bring a smile to the grumpiest daddy after a long day at work.

He's learning so much about the world around him, sometimes we put him in his bouncy chair and watch him piece together everything he has learned during the day.

Medically he is sailing through all his tests and checks and wonderfully passed the hip scan the doctors wanted because he was pulled out bottom first.

All in all we have been blessed, here's to many more wonderful weeks!