We’ve always tried to balance the roles and responsibilities, but in the past year this hasn’t been practically possible – I’ve had to devote more efforts into work and securing more income, and she has adjusted into a full time childminder. This imbalance often caused many arguments, with both of us feeling as if our efforts weren’t being appreciated because we were operating in such different worlds, and the stresses and exhaustion of the situation often meant we could communicate with each other properly.
We now have more in common in our everyday lives, and although it shouldn’t make a difference, it has lead to better empathy between us and is bringing us closer together.
I could try and forget about all my personal insecurities and anxiety at work and be Professional Dad, putting on a show and acting how I imagined someone who didn’t feel like crying at the bottom of a dark well would act.
As part of this weeks changes with the little one going to nursery, I now work from home one day a week. This means I can use the time usually spent commuting getting an extra hour in on work to let me leave early another day, and picking the little one up from nursery.
I hadn’t anticipated how different I am “at work” even when I’m at home. I was meant to call the nursery at 10:30 to check how things were but had completely switched off that part of my brain and it felt a bit weird when I realised I’d forgotten / ignored it.
What I’ve learnt about working from home.
- I wish I was a cat. Our litterly does nothing all day except rearrange himself into comfy positions (some of which really don’t look comfortable).
- Coffee you make yourself at home is soon much better
- Not being constantly disturbed and interrupted is fantastic.
- My home IT and broadband is much better than what is used at work.
- Finishing your days work and being already home is awesome.
- There are a lot of potential distractions. Everywhere.
- Carrying a crap laptop bag of work stuff on the train is a pain in the arse.
- It can get a bit quiet and lonely. I think I’ll have a radio on or something next time.
This week is a big week for us, our little girl is going to nursery and wifey is heading back to work. And so begins another shift in how we live and we begin the ever meandering logistics of pick ups and drop offs, and who’s meant to be where when.
We’re both very fortunate to have flexible employers who are allowing us to work from home some part of the week, and for wifey to reduce her total hours so she can spend a few quality days out of 7 with the little one.
Wifey is dealing with things very well so far, and most of her anxiety has been about getting back into the swing of things at work rather than how our growing baby will cope at nursery. I think we’ll both be quite relieved when this week is over and we start to learn our new routine.
I’ve been back at work a few days now and trying to get the balancing act of working office professional by day and sleepless new father by night.
All in all I must say that I believe I have the better deal when making the unavoidable comparison to wifey at home. Work is hard, exhausting, and challenging, but it’s good to have a bit of control over my time – to be tested mental instead of just by endurance and to have conversations that aren’t about sterilising bottles or how many times baby has had their clothes changed.
Compared to the relentless demands of our little one who is growing more alert, sleeping less and becoming grumpy more, I know where I’d rather be.
But I’ve only been doing it a few days, I’m sure I’ll be more worn down over time. We have a rota for the working week – I cover baby duties from when I get home to 11:00 at night, and from 5:00 to 6:30 in the morning before I need to shower and leave for work. So far it’s worked out OK, we’ve had some good and bad night but they even out, and I find the situation a lot easier to manage having these clear boundaries.
I’ve still had some “crashes” following my initial meltdown but they’re getting more manageable. I described it to a colleague as a mourning process for my old childless life. We made this decision to ruin our lives in the nicest possible way 9 months ago and have to work through the transition into becoming a family.