Working Parents and societal change

Working Parents and societal change

This week has been a week of transitions in my household, as it probably has been for many working parents.

Our eldest son started back at school, and our younger son is back at daycare.

PLUS, coincidently, my wife has returned to her practice this week, after taking parental leave.

For me, it’s involved juggling around my schedule and availability to assume the primary carer’s role for our youngest – 9-month-old, Lizzie.

Looking after a baby by yourself is tough, and the third time around doesn’t make it much easier.

Even tougher is trying to run a business between naps, pickups, and playtime. I didn’t have this added pressure with the other two, as I took leave from my employers instead (self-funded through annual leave and leave without pay).

📣 So here’s a shout-out to all the people that are doing this currently – and somehow making it work.

📣 And a special shout out to the dads doing this.

Third time around for me, it is definitely encouraging to see the progress that had been made – just in the last 5 years – to normalise dads being the primary carer, and to normalise dads juggling work and caring responsibilities throughout the week.

This time around, I haven’t encountered the “change table is located in the women’s bathroom” issue (although, I think this is still the case in some public toilets).

This time around, the unhelpful comments are much less frequent. No one has commented about me “playing mum” or “minding the baby” or how great it is that I’m giving my wife a break. But there are still some comments – the most recent was from a lady that praised my “Mother’s rock” when observing me settling my daughter.

This time around there are also a couple more dads at the park (still not that many though). But the biggest change is that the mothers seem less cliquey, more willing to talk to me, and more willing to include me as an equal in their parenting conversations.

It is progress in the right direction – which makes this transition much easier this time around, despite the added pressure.

The last couple of times I’ve done this, I said a massive thanks to my employer and my team for supporting me through this time. This time I am my employer, and I don’t have much of a team.

So instead I want to thank Australian society for the progress that has been made. Progress which is supporting me through this time. 🙏

7 Tips for managing the school holidays

7 Tips for managing the school holidays

How do you manage through the school holidays? 

School holidays are not a holiday. Sure there are some great times. 

But the struggle is real. There are tears, tantrums and tough times. 

We need circuit breakers to help us through mentally. 

What are your circuit breakers? 

Here are a few that my wife and I are using as we juggle a son with ADHD, a pre-schooler and a toddler whilst managing two careers.

1. Tag in and tag out. When it gets too much, we tag out and take a break. 

2. Everyone outside! Fresh air and exercise is needed, whilst we use the hour for a ride around the block or a trip to the park, we have plenty of little breaks in the front and back yards. 

3. Have a good cry. Tears are shed for a purpose – we allow ourselves to cry. 

4. Deep breathing. We do this regularly and include the kids as we do it. In fact, sometimes my son initiates to help us calm down. 

5. Screen time – not ashamed by that! I am very thankful for streaming apps. 

6. ‘Strategic hug’. Hugs heal.

And finally my favourite –

7. Hide and Seek – counting to 40 helps to calm me down. And whilst I can usually find the kids within about a minute or less, I stretch it out to enjoy the calmness for a few minutes. I’ve even unpacked the dishwasher or packed away toys whilst ‘looking’ for them. Plus the kids usually don’t want to be found that quickly anyway!