It’s been weeks since the last day of work before embarking on parental leave for the second time. It’s been weeks since the last 5am wake up call. Since the last time my work clothes were ironed, or public transport was used. Or since I last walked through the City’s central business district… But now, it’s time for this Dad to go back to work.
Today, for the first time in weeks, I did all these things. I got up at 5am. Put on my work clothes. Caught public transport. Walked through the central business district and went to work. Because today, is the first day back from my planned parental leave.
Throughout these past few weeks, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of being home with my wife to help welcome our second child into the world. And wow… what an amazing time it’s been!
Our family grew by one. We’ve had numerous visitors come through to give us adult interaction but to also meet and adore our newest addition. We managed to complete a number of home projects we kept putting off because we either had no time, no money, or a combination of the two. And we bonded and became closer as a family after spending almost every waking hour with them while adjusted to life as a foursome.
We laughed and we cried. We slept on the couch at midday because we got little sleep the night before. There were tantrums and night terrors. Snotty noses, vomit down our arms, and dirty nappies (diapers) coming out of our ears.
But it was literally the best few weeks at home we have spent together in a very long time.
But today, it all changes. Because today, is the first day back at work. Today, is the first day my wife is at home with our boys by herself. Today, is the day that I had to leave my family at home. After spending all that time with them over these last few weeks, I finally have to go back to work. So today, was one of the hardest days I’ve had to face in a long time.
I always knew it was going to be difficult leaving my family behind as I went back off to work after spending so much time together. But I failed to realise how difficult it was actually going to be. It was so difficult, that I felt physically sick at the thought of going back to work! Not because I hate my job. Far from it! But because all I wanted to do was to be with my family.
However, if there is one thing I do know, it’s that work is exactly where I need to be. I need to provide for my family so that there is petrol (gas) in the tank, food on the table, and nappies (diapers) on the kids. I need to support my family so that my wife is able to continue to stay at home with our children. Even if it is only temporary.
I understand that eventually, my wife will have to go back to work. I also understand that my job is to try and support my family as best as I can in the interim.
And it’s for those reasons, as I sit here at work on my lunch break, that I know I am where I need to be, and I am okay with that.
For those of you out there who are in similar positions, remember this. Regardless of if you work in construction or in an office. Or whether you’re a lawyer or a social worker. White collar or blue collar. You may be leaving your partner and kids of a day, but don’t feel guilty about that. You are where you need to be! And in the future, when they have had a life where they’ve had a roof over their heads, clothes on their back and food in their bellies, they will thank you for that!