“My wife has had 3 maternity leaves. All of which I’ve been in work full time, getting home for 6 p.m. to spend an hour doing the glory bits. I’m not so conceited that I didn’t realize it was a tough gig, but I would rebuff any bemoaning with ‘being at work isn’t exactly a holiday either.’ Turns out, comparatively, it is.
During lockdown my wife’s more demanding job has meant she has had to basically continue to work full time, albeit remotely. This has meant that I’ve had my own ‘Paternity Leave’ looking after our kids (Josephine 5, Ernie 3 and Walt 1) whilst their Mom works away in the loft. Here’s a chronicle of a typical day:
– After helping with breakfast, Wife exits stage left.
– J/E ask for acookie.
– Catch W climbing in washing machine whilst explaining to the others that cookies are not part of breakfast.
– Put Netflix on.
– J sends E to ask for a cookie.
– Break up fight over who has the remote.
– Put most guilty one on naughty step.
– Catch W drinking from dog’s water bowl.
– Read him a book he hates.
– Forget one is on naughty step; they wander back to watch Netflix.
– J/E ask for cookie. We negotiate. They get raisins.
– Decide they’ve watched too much Netflix; get crafts out.
– W does a massive poop and spends 10 minutes fighting to allow me the pleasure of wiping his arse.
– Come back to crafts, but they’ve left and are back watching Netflix.
– Clear up crafts, wishing whoever created slime a slow, gruesome death.
– Give them early lunch because they’re pissing me off.
– They hate my lunch. Give them crisps.
– Put them in garden.
– I tell E off for purposely lobbing balls into next door’s garden, meanwhile J tries to force W to play with her and he’s like ‘nah’ and bites her.
– They’re all effing crying.
– We go inside.
– I put on a film for big two and take up tired Mr. Bitey for his nap.
– I hide for a bit.
– They find me like they’re sniffer dogs and I’m selling pills at a festival.
– They ask for a cookie. I give them several just so they’ll leave me alone.
– They scream, ‘Daddy we’re bored of this film!’ repeatedly and very loudly.
– I run in and shout at them through gritted teeth that they’re going to wake their little brother up.
– Little brother wakes up and starts crying.
– Resist temptation to demonstrate how much I currently despise my two eldest children and go get W up.
– The next 3 hours is a complete parenting sh*tshow.
– Mommy comes down from the loft and they turn into golden children.
And it’s pretty much that everyday. Relentless doesn’t cover it. I may have it slightly tougher in one sense during lockdown as there’s less options to escape. But I also don’t have a newborn hanging off my boob, sterilization faff to worry about, and an expectation from wider society that it should all come naturally to me. Plus, if the shiz really does hit the fan, I have another parent available upstairs who could help me out.
What I’m getting at is all you maternity leave survivors, fair freaking play. I’ve experienced a small amount of what you endure(d) and I’m flagging. We love our kids but when they’re young, but looking after them can be ferocious. So, to my wife especially, I apologize for taking your daily efforts in rearing our kids so magnificently for granted. I’ve had a big taste of humble pie. I’m sorry it has taken so long.
Also, if you can give me access to the magical housework fairy you must have employed during your maternity leave – that would be great.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Secret Dad Lad. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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