All in its own good time

Nurturing

The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Sometimes you just wonder what you did with your time before kids.
Right now a typical day starts at 7.30am – and many parents will point out we’re very lucky we get that much of a ‘lie-in’. For the rest of the day, it is go, go go.
Breakfast and lunch tends to be eaten standing up. Sitting down invites the kids to join you. It’s not that you don’t want to share, but you’ll be adding to your workload with the clean-up that will go with it.
Virtually every phone call starts with the same warning – ‘I could have to go at short notice here with the kids’.
You escape when you can to get work done, but with three kids aged four and under, you might be needed to help in the engine room at any stage. So work is done at a breakneck pace.
Dinner is the greatest challenge these days. Frankie and Éamon have gone very picky. Getting all their dinner into them is a challenge.
They go to sleep usually by 8pm. Then you can relax … in your dreams!
There’s clothes to be sorted, lunches to be prepared, other odds and ends around the house, maybe you’ll only get time for your own dinner at this stage. Oh, and you probably will need to make the most of this peaceful time to catch up on work.
So by the time you hit the hay, you don’t need much rocking at all. Until you’re woken at any hour of the morning.
I often wonder how people managed it back in the day with large families. Maybe our generation are softer. Or maybe the working lifestyles are very different. Or maybe the kids half reared themselves.
I dunno, but they have my respect.
So, too, do the cohort who carry on life as normal after kids.
Some people just have reserves of energy that would amaze you. The type of lad who is last to bed on a stag and then fresher than anyone else the next morning. We all know a few of them.
When you’ve that sort of energy, sleepless nights don’t take the same toll.
Would I swap any of it? Not for a second. Nothing is more rewarding than parenthood in my opinion, even if myself and Aisling have to suspend any conversation longer than 30 seconds ’til after the kids are gone to bed.
It certainly doesn’t get easier with three kids, but you definitely get better. Indeed, often when there’s just two of the kids here when Frankie is at naoinra, we’d remark how much more straightforward it is. It didn’t feel that way near as often when we actually had just the two.
The same principle applies to each stage – no kids, one kid, two, three, more … You will feel busy and think you have no time to spare.
It’s all relative. Time is precious, in every way. We’ll miss these days when they grow up.

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.