Here's To The Working Parent.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


There's always a bit of to and fro-ing with who has the hardest job. The parent who is working their 9-5 or the parent who's at home with the kids. Both have their challenges. Both have their bonuses. I don't think one is harder than the other, they're just different.

Lately though, I've been noticing how much of a toll it's been taking on Rob. He's had to work in Takapuna this year which is a bit of a hike from our home in Titirangi. It means early starts and late finishes, which, for someone who is NOT an early bird and who has a three month baby, is a bit shit. He's been given more responsibility which is wonderful for his career, but not so great for a first time Dad. We know that while it's hard now, it's going to be worth it in the long run because he'll have a bit more freedom and the potential to earn money but in the mean time, he's struggling.

The thing is, Rob would love to be the stay at home Dad. In fact, he was the big push behind having a baby. I was always open to the idea but because I wasn't sure if it was going to be a reality (and it was looking pretty likely that it wasn't going to be one), I'd kinda come to terms with it not happening. Rob on the other hand, this is what he's always wanted. Coming from a large family, having one of his own was always in his future and for him, the younger the better. I'm so glad that his dream has come true and we have a lovely little family, but I don't think either of us imagined that it was going to be this hard. 

Now, I'm not saying that being a stay at home parent is easy. It's hard being alone all day, with no one to pass your baby over to when they're having a moment or you need a break. You have to hold your pee, stare at an empty glass, clock watch until you can finally have your lunch and nearly go blind from all scrolling through Instagram. You have little beings that are completely dependent on you and you don't get time to yourself. It's just all go 24/7. And all you're looking forward to is when your partner walks through the door and you can offload your children to them, so you can finally get your five minutes to yourself.

But, I really feel for the working parent too. For them, it's also 24/7. Sure, they aren't with the kids all day but they're busy. They've got the pressure on them to earn an income, to provide for their family and to keep up with the expectations from their employers. They are also up at night when the baby is crying, but can't spend the day in bed. Instead, they're dragging themselves out of bed and somehow making it through their shift knowing that when they come home, there isn't a break for them either. They're missing out on the first roll, the first word, the first step. They're watching their baby grow up through photos sent by their partner, knowing that what their employment is important, but wanting to be at home every second.

I see what this is doing to Rob. I see that he's struggling between pushing his career and being at home as a Dad. And wanting both as well. Finding that balance is hard, especially when you're already going through massive changes and having to adjust to a little babe in the house. I really don't like the idea that we might look back at the first part of Jackson's life and think of it as stressful and unhappy because we haven't quite got the balance right.

And I don't have the answers. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance being the stay at home mum as well as self employed graphic designer. Does anyone have it figured out? Unlikely! But I just want you working parents to know that I appreciate you. I see what you're doing and what you're going through. I know the struggle that you're dealing with and I want you to know that we couldn't be doing this without you. When you've had a bad day at work, you still show up. You still give us those five minutes that we need, even though you're busting to go to the toilet. You'll settle that crying baby and let them sleep on you, even though you know you have emails to reply to, clients to please.

I know it's hard. But it's also amazing. And you should be so proud of yourselves. Because we are. We'll get through this. We always do. Life always comes in waves of hard times and easy moments and we'll find that ease eventually. But for now, just know that we so appreciate you and what you're doing for our family. 

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