Saturday, May 16, 2009

Days like these

There are times when I wonder what I'm doing as a part time dad. When I'm pushing the buggy along the road and somebody - a shiny-suited Apprentice wannabe frinstance - catches my eye, and there's a momentary look that says 'Get a job'. At which point, I want to stop and say "You don't know anything about me. I could be a high flyer. I could wear a shiny suit." But I don't obviously - say it, or wear a shiny suit (usually fraying dockers and a stained T-shirt actually).
Actually, it's hardly surprising that I get that look as some days I do feel like a member of the long-term unemployed - not to mention looking like one, courtesy of my week long stubble. It's not that I don't do anything (see below), it's more that there is a feeling of being adrift from mainstream society when you are looking after a child. You keep different hours. You hang out in different places. You do different things. It's a whole subculture out there that I never knew existed. It's a world where lawyers and journalists mix with electrical engineers, shop workers and the real unemployed at strange little gatherings where you sit banging plastic instruments and singing out of tune songs about animals with strange anthropomorphic qualities. Who writes this stuff?
I often have this feeling that I should be doing something more worthwhile. That I should be working harder, climbing the ladder of success, and wearing that shiny suit with pride. But as my wife continually points out, I'm doing the most important job in some ways. In know she's right, and I know she would swap roles with me in a second, but I suppose that I'm as conditioned as the next man about what my role should be - trad dad breadwinner.
Again, I have to emphasise that I enjoy this new life I have. It's a secret life, and in some ways it does seem like a holiday of sorts when I'm looking after J. The problem is that the real world keeps intruding into our little Hackney Holiday world. There are always deadlines threatening, people chasing, and people to chase. It's the juggling that's the hardest part, and that's probably why I have this sense of dislocation. Because I have a foot in both camps, I'm never completely at ease in either.
I wouldn't change it though. This will end at some point and I'll be back to my five days a week routine and forgeting the songs about elephants scrubbing their clothes, and the glockenspiel tunes, and how much fun it can be.

What I do

  • Woken up by Jamie
  • Give him milk
  • Change nappy - Jamie's, not mine
  • Breakfast time
  • Playtime
  • Get him dressed
  • Try to have a shower - no shave
  • Walkies - get the bag ready
  • Leave the house
  • Go back to the house to collect forgotten stuff
  • Find a place to give Jamie his dinner
  • Nappy time
  • Grab a cuppa
  • Shop for food
  • Swings
  • Back home
  • Make dinner for Jamie
  • Story time
  • Play
  • Mummy home...
  • Get bedtime stuff ready
  • Run bath
  • Kiss Jamie goodnight
  • Make dinner while mummy puts J to bed
  • Do dishes
  • Me time!