5 Ways to Prevent Daddy Guilt
While my wife was in hospital, just after having the baby, I was still getting calls from work, I went straight from the hospital to a meeting and while they bought me a drink to “wet the baby’s head”, it was straight back into work when the cheering was done! Running 3 businesses at the same time was so, so difficult, but there were bills to pay and bank repayments to be made – and my levels of guilt rocketed on a daily basis. The first year of my daughter’s life was very very busy. I had my own business and I was running two other businesses at the same time. I tried to do as much of the work from 6am to 5pm and then from 8pm to 10pm, while keeping Sundays free so that I could spend some quality family time with my wife and child, but after a health scare, things had to change! I was getting dizzy spells and they started to get very bad. It was in a hospital waiting room that I finally asked myself if I was making the right choices in my life – if I didn’t wake up tomorrow would my family be looked after? Have I created enough memories with my little girl that she would remember me were something to happen? How would my wife cope without her life partner? Financially, could they get by without me? So, having talked and talked about spending more time with my daughter, about implementing a type of ‘family calendar’ and finding that work/life balance that is so important – I am finally doing it. While I know that I still have to work, my wife and daughter are coming first. Here are some of the rules I’ve been following lately and make it work… with a Disney Theme! (Disclaimer: I am still lapsing quite a bit, even this week my schedule went out the window, but I hope that this will be less and less in the future).
1. Let It Go Daddy guilt, or mammy guilt, is going to happen! Yes, you are going to have days that you can’t leave the office until late, you are going to miss some family events and you are inevitably gonna beat yourself up over things, but that’s just life. I have learned that you can have your guilty moment but then you absolutely have to let it go. Move on, tomorrow is another day!
2. Hakuna Matata “It means no worries for the rest of your days”; while I can’t quite endorse the full sentiment of that statement because we’d be in financial ruin, I’ve decided that I am not going to sweat the small stuff! I’m not going to worry about how things look to other people, how I dress my daughter, what we feed her (she likes tofu and so do I! Ha-ha) and whether I look stupid trying to make her smile because that smile is better than anything else in this whole world.
3. Can You Feel the Love Tonight It is my job from now on to ensure that my little girl knows that she is loved every single day, whether she is moaning, screaming, irrational and throwing a lil tantrum or she is giving me an abundance of hugs and kisses and dancing around like a loon – I will make damn sure that she knows how much she means to me, and I am going to ensure that this is priority #1.
4. One Jump Ahead Preparation is the key, being prepared for the next day means that the stress levels should come right down! So, whether it is meal prep, sending emails, organising a meeting, arranging an appointment or scheduling a conference call, get it done ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it all week. Making a list doesn’t take long and it can save you a heap of time!
5. You Got a Friend in Me Having a relationship with the missus and getting our friendship back is very important. We do everything together but at times we are so tired in the evenings that we don’t talk about anything but the baby! I want to have fun again so we don’t rely on our daughter to be happy. Our happiness is just as important as the baby because without that happiness, we wouldn’t have gotten married THREE times! (We'll get to these later!) (I don't own any copyright for the images shown)