My wife’s had 3 maternity leaves. All of which I’ve been in work full-time getting home for 6pm to spend an hour doing the glory bits.
I’m not so conceited that I didn’t realise it was a tough gig, but I would rebuff any bemoaning from Mrs Secret Dad Lad with ‘being at work isn’t exactly a f**king holiday’.
Turns out, comparatively, it is.
During lockdown my wife’s more demanding job has meant she’s had to basically continue to work fulltime, 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 Mum 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 a biscuit
– Catch W climbing in washing machine whilst explaining to the others that biscuits are not part of breakfast.
– Put Netflix on.
– J sends E to ask for a biscuit.
– 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 biscuit. We negotiate. They get raisins.
– Decide they’ve watched too much Netflix, get crafts out.
– W does a massive shit, spend 10 minutes fighting him 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 f**king crying.
– We go inside.
– I put on a film for big two, 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 biscuit. I give them several just so they’ll f**k off.
– 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 f**king parenting shitshow.
– Mummy 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 tit, sterilization faff to worry about and an expectation from wider society that it should all come naturally to me.
Plus, if the shit 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 f**king 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, looking after them can be ferocious.
So, to my wife especially, I apologise for taking your daily efforts in rearing our kids so magnificently for granted. I’ve had a big taste of humble pie. Sorry it’s 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.