Just last year, in 2016, I chose to back away from my business for 6 months and take a full day off during the week each week to hang out with my son Will. Not only did I massively underestimate the impact this would have on my business, I really had no idea how this would impact my own psychology!
From the day Will was born I never really had any problem with the parenting side of things like some Dads do, which I think largely has to do with the dynamic of work commitments, the fact that I was able to be around for my wife at times of the day she needed me most and work in times which were best for us all was quite unique and simply not realistic for many families unfortunately. In hindsight I really made my wife and son a priority and put them in front of work or myself while Loz was on maternity leave. So all in all a good 18 months of making sure Will and Lauren were in good health and taken care of.
Do not get me wrong, this is not a sob story or complaint!
Once 2017 rolled around Lauren and I were both back full time, Will was 3 days at daycare and 2 days with yumya (that’s grandma in 18 month old language), I began to work on my business again. I noticed I had some conflict going on though, I was just a bit uncertain of my place and felt torn in my obligation to spending time on work and spending time on making sure everyone and everything was taken care of around the house. Being a health nut I wanted to make sure we were all eating a nutritious diet (which absorbs time), being a clean freak and having an ‘acts of service’ love language I wanted to have mundane stuff done like having the house work done. I had one foot in ‘stay home Dad’ role and one foot in ‘grow my business/work’ role. It took me 6 months to only realise what I was doing to myself!
In a nutshell, from this whole experience over the past 2 and bit years I’ve been able to experience the mental challenges Mums and some Dads (or Mums who play Dad rolls) go through when raising babies, in a way I can empathise with stay home Mums (and Dads) and see that it’s not easy for anyone, no matter what the full time working parent has to say, it’s a juggle and unsurprisingly a real head fuck.
However, It’s been a pivotal part of my purpose as a personal trainer and something most men will never experience so I am grateful.
Gaining a sense of yourself, taking time out to reflect on your own thoughts and feelings after having children is so crucial to being happy and healthy, it’s still a work in progress for me, and no doubt if you’re a Mum or an empathetic Dad (or you play the role of the stereotypical Dad) you might also agree. If you’re reading this and resonating then I would urge you to prioritise time each week to regain your self, in which ever way that might come to you, you need to do it.