Work

I used to work in finance. Although I have no major qualifications beyond high-school I’m reasonably good with numbers, spreadsheets & tech, and –  if I’m honest, as I always try to be here – less good with people. I’ve worked on that & my social skills have improved but at heart I am still basically anti-social! I gravitate towards screens & am often uncomfortable in social situations.

So I happened on a career in accountancy & finance, not really by choice but just as it seemed to be what I was suited for.

The truth is my heart was never in it.

Office stress 2A lot of the time it bored me senseless: sitting in front of screens for hours on end just to make all the numbers, little & large, get on with each other. At other times it was very stressful & pressured: with fixed daily, weekly, monthly & yearly deadlines for which the right numbers had to be produced. And if they weren’t then others down the line who needed the numbers got stressed as their deadlines began to loom. It could get shouty.

I hated the office politics, pettiness, dealing with annoying people, bullying bosses, tiresome meetings. There were sometimes 24-hour, even weekend-long shifts. And I didn’t even have the compensation of being highly compensated. I did OK but I often struggled to pay my bills, just like anybody else.

I guess I’ve just never been that career-minded. I have often wondered if I’m maybe just a bit lazy: I definitely value my leisure time & try to make as much of it as I can.

But when I became a Stay-at-Home Dad I, along with the Mummy of course, worked really, really hard. I’ve probably said it here before but it’s worth repeating:

It’s the hardest job I have ever had.

1-DSCF3305It was exhausting, particularly the first year. The first 6 months or so are now a bit of a blur; we basically lived in the bedroom for most of that time.

No matter how unpleasant the office was I could still come home, get away from it. It might prey on my mind, even keep me awake at night, but at least I could escape to my own space.

With our slightly premature twins & their minor but demanding health problems there was no such escape. Care was around-the-clock, 24 hours a day. Even when I wasn’t actively looking after them I was always on call, all the time. The stress of taking on new challenges way outside of my experience, with my wife, all the while with the mind-numbing, debilitating sleep-deprivation: that’s something I could never have prepared myself for.

But this time my heart was in it.

So why the difference?

Before, I worked for money. As a Dad: it was love. And that realisation makes me happy.

So: lazy? Probably not. Soppy & besotted? Definitely!

Some posts from around that time:

Flying Solo

On Thursday I looked after the twins for a full day on my own for the first time.

From 6.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., without a break.

The Mummy is still on Maternity Leave, but she wanted to go in to work to take part in interviewing for a senior post, someone she’d be working closely with. Obviously she wanted to have a say in who it would be.

I’ve worked in the high-stress, competitive environment that is the City, & in pressurised, busy restaurant kitchens. But this child-care is by far the most demanding job I’ve ever had!

So: parents & carers, especially you Mothers, take note: the next time someone (usually a smug bloke, right?) implies that you’ve got it easy & that you should try working in a ‘proper job’ (whatever that is) – just send them to me, OK?

Jallie decided to make it extra hard for me by, unusually, napping at different – & odd - times. I wonder if the disruption of the Mummy not being around at all had unsettled them, although generally they were in a good mood. Usually you can count on having at least a break in the afternoon & often also the morning as they nap. Not a bit of it for me!

Feeding them both at once (before their morning nap) was difficult. I somehow managed to get them on a knee each, wrapping an arm around them & holding a bottle in each mouth. (I wonder if we’ll eventually evolve an extra arm or 2? I sure could do with that!). I then managed to lower Jake into a cot, then Ellie into the other. She wasn’t happy, so I picked her up again & lay with her on a futon mattress we’ve laid on the bedroom floor. She fell asleep almost straight away. This is a girl who really needs company!

After making sure the room was safe I went back to Jake, who was grizzling. I tried to settle him on the spare bed but he just wasn’t interested. So he stayed up & we played. Ellie ended up sleeping for nearly 2 1/2 hours – incredible!

Lunch was late because of this, & they ate well. Jake! He was actually falling asleep in his high-chair! His poor little head kept falling onto the tray, messy as it was. He’s never done that before, nor has Ellie! So I had to unstrap him, leaving Ellie alone (which she loathes), take him back upstairs & settle him in a cot. He went down straight away, fortunately.

Back to Ellie to finish her lunch, then I even managed to clear up & load the dishwasher! Then into the lounge for some play (while I had the cricket on :)).

Jake however only slept for half an hour. When he awoke I had to give him the rest of his lunch. Because the kitchen/diner floor is slate & too hard for just-walking babies to fall on, if I was to feed Jake in there I’d have to strap Ellie back in the high-chair. Without more food, I’d give that about 2 minutes before grumpiness ensued. So that was out. I ended up carrying a high-chair into the lounge & feeding Jake there while Ellie played happily on the floor, with a snack so she didn’t feel too left out. Everyone wins!

No-one wanted an afternoon nap! Except me. I actually ended up napping on the nursery floor, while energetic twin babies climbed & jumped all over me. I had to lie on my side in order to avoid being choked & castrated…

Up until then I’d been thinking that despite everything it was going remarkably well, much easier than I expected! I just conked out. In hindsight I think I was starting to get this lurgee that’s been going around, a congesty sinnussy thing; I had a temperature the next day.

Tea is normally at 5pm. Ellie fell asleep on my shoulder at 4.30. Great…

She lasted 45 minutes, but it again meant that their meal was late, although – again – it went surprisingly well.

After tea we played until the Mummy came back at 6.30. Boy we we glad to see her, especially Jake! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so excited! He kept leaping on her, screeching with excitement, turning around, & then doing it again. Ellie of course was also really pleased, but in her typically gentler way :)

I had a brief, much welcome, break then we settled them to bed for the night – thankfully they both went down quickly.

We live in a tall, thin 3-storey house. The nursery, cots & changing table are at the top; kitchen/diner & lounge at the bottom. I lost count of the number of times I carried them, 1 at a time of course, up & down the stairs. I was shattered! My arms &  shoulders still ache. Although this lurgee I’m sure has a lot to do with that.

We’re planning to work part-time on alternate days come April, so I’ll have to get used to this. I really need to figure out ways to make it easier though.

I’m thinking Bungalows. Yep, a Bungalow would be a great. Anyone got one they want to sell?