I haven’t written anything for a while, but I feel like I should write about my experiences, so far, of fatherhood, or more specifically, additional paternity leave.
My daughter’s first birthday is fast approaching, and I feel very fortunate to have been allowed to spend much more time with her, thanks to new paternity leave rules, than other fathers might have.
My wife and I decided before our daughter was born, that I would take the last three months of our parental leave allocation, but up until I actually started my leave, I wasn’t really sure what it would be like. How would we spend our days? Would she nap without her Mum? How would she cope without fresh breastmilk?
The answer was that we would work it out for ourselves. We play, read books, go for walks, go to the cinema, even do housework (not as much as mummy would like!) and lots more.
We have the occasional bad day, but we have fun, we should, we’re both easily amused. I came with the attitude that we were going to have a good time, and I think that was easier knowing that it was just for three months.
I wanted to be organised and ordered but preparation didn’t go well, Mojo was having a flare of her Crohns over christmas, so I was firefighting from the get go. But as time went on, I have tried to plan what we might do the next day or in the coming week, although I have also found it is best not to plan to do too much, as I will inevitably be waylaid by a poo-plosion or some such. Some of the small things I enjoy that I didn’t think much about are; picking out clothes and dressing her and putting a clean nappy on her. The second of these sounds odd, but it is, I think, a combination of the slightly smug self satisfaction that comes with being a cloth nappy parent, and the sense of achievement at having changed a nappy! No, seriously, I think it is a good feeling when I have made her clean and comfortable. It feels good to care for my child.
I’ve learnt a lot, it has made me closer to my daughter and even, I think, made us better parents.
I have enjoyed it so much I have asked about cutting my hours at work so we can spend more time together…. and have more fun!