Hi, I guess I should start by introducing myself, I’m Jamie. I have a beautiful wife, Chrisy and three wonderful children, Noah (6), Matilda (5) and the baby of the family is Alexis (1).
My family define me, they make me who I am and fatherhood is the most rewarding journey I’ve ever been on, but I’m not going to blog about how parenting has come easy to me or about how fatherhood seems to suit me, I’m not going to kid anyone. BEING A PARENT IS HARD WORK. It requires commitment above any job, its 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And therein lies the subject of my 1st blog.
I also have a day job, I work 5 days a weeks, and the odd weekend, I get 6 days off a month so my work/life balance sucks. I leave the house every morning at 0820 and I’m home at 1715. I never get to take my kids to school or pick them up after school, I don’t get to take our youngest to swim class or baby sign class or even the doctors when she’s ill or needs her injections. Don’t get me wrong I know I’m lucky to be in work in these times of austerity but that doesn’t make it any easier when I see my main role in life as a parent and a husband. I often worry that my kids will notice as they grow up that daddy didn’t pick them up from school as often as the other daddies or didn’t take them to swim class or ballet which is why when I get home, I try my hardest to be the best parent and husband I can be. Ok, sometimes I’m grumpy and sometimes I’m tired but my kids won’t be kids forever so I try not to moan and I try not to let them see that sometimes I’m dead on my feet (excuse the pun for those that know me). All they want when I come home is my friendship, they want to play and they want me to join in, sometimes I’m not very good depending on what the game is, but sometimes even just being silly and dancing in the kitchen is enough. When my kids are older, ok they might say ‘daddy worked hard for us when we were younger’ but I also hope they’ll say ‘our childhood was a happy one, mum and dad were always good to us and we are who we are today because they gave us that happy start in life’. And here’s why I hope they’ll say that;
When Chrisy and I started our family in 2006, we did everything by the book, I worked, Chrisy stayed at home, Noah slept in a moses basket until about 5 months, then a cot in his own room, he was breast fed until 6 months then bottle fed, we used disposable nappies, he ate pureed food. We did everything that the main stream media would have us believe was right. With Tilly things were pretty much the same, maybe we were slightly more relaxed because it was 2nd time round but all in all it was the same schedule. When Alexis came along in 2012, I thought it would be the same formula but then chrisy discovered ‘sling meets’. I have to say I thought it was just a way of carrying your baby like the ‘baby Bjorn’ we used to have. Little did I know that it would become a way of life for us. I could see that chrisy really loved the fact that she had not only found a new way of parenting but also she had discovered a support network for mums and dads. Now this isn’t a support network where they read the answer from a text book, this is a network where they give you advice based on experience of what will make your child happiest. ‘Gentle Parenting’ was not a term I had heard before but it now defines the way we parent, when our baby cries we lift her, when she’s hungry she eats the same food as the rest of the family, Alexis is still breast fed at 13 months and will continue to be until Alexis is ready to stop, when she sleeps she stills sleeps with us, when we go out as a family, Alexis is carried in a sling (or a Tula if I’m doing the carrying, as I still haven’t got the hang of all the carries), Alexis wears cloth nappies (and hardly ever suffers from nappy rash) and any discipline is dealt out in the kindest and softest manner possible and with all this I have to admit while I maybe had reservations at the beginning, our beautiful baby Alexis is the happiest little girl in the world. We also adapted this way of parenting to our older two, and while they can still be right little terrors, I think the family as a unit is moving in the right direction, the children are happy and as a consequence so am I. If I could just sort this work/life balance thing in my favour then life for our house would be much closer to perfect than even I expected.
I guess the advice I’m trying to dispense today is ‘your kids will always be your kids but they won’t always be children, if you have a job that takes you away from them, then work harder when you come home, be their friend, their teacher, their mentor, their chef, their referee, their dance partner, their disciplinarian, but above all be that gentle parent that we all aspire to be and while you’re being all these things, have fun cause before you know it they won’t be children anymore’
Thanks for reading! J x