My name’s Saul and this is my first Video Diary
How ya going?
Hi my name’s Roland
My name’s Paul
Welcome to Dadvice a show about the stresses of becoming a new Dad. I’m your host Ben Lomas and this episode is about work. Let’s get excited about work! A friend of mine had a child and he was like that classic child that just wouldn’t sleep and he had three days where she didn’t sleep throughout the night and that morning he drove to work he parked the car, got into the elevator, went up to the fourth floor, went to his desk, sat down and he’s like “Oh this seems a bit weird” then he realised he was sitting at his old desk at his former employer….where he got fired.
That’s how sleep deprived you can get!
Lack of sleep…we all have brain fades. Have you had those moments where you’ve had a brain fade at work? Matt have you?”
Not really I just found more that I just bored everybody with my talk about lack of sleep or you know being a new dad and they didn’t care you know they didn’t know anything about it but that’s all I had to talk about you know. That’s what’s going on in my life right now.
We had a bit of a grizzly night last night and once he got down I was listening for him to see if he got down then all of a sudden you realise how much time you spend doing that and then I think it was 2 in the morning and OK he’s down that good then you’re looking at the clock thinking OK I’ve got to get up in four hours then an hour later I’ve got to get up in three hours.
The countdown clock! The countdown…
But I think while you know it didn’t feel great cos I was really really tired I kind of made an effort to just…
Because quite often you do invest quite a bit of time in work and it’s not until you leave work that’s when the real brain fades kick in like you’re at the supermarket looking at nappies and it’s just colours and you don’t know which one to pick and then you just end up with a packet of Tim Tams!
I had to go to the supermarket the other day and buy my wife’s female hygiene product of choice. Now that’s confronting and confusing. There’s so many different packets and the bloke next to me had taken a photo of his wife’s product and he’s trying to match it up and he’s getting all stressed looking at me going “Shall I get the maxi?” and I’m like Mate don’t get the maxi mate! Amateur hour over here! You’ve got to memorise it. My wife’s the Stayfree Ultra thin Regular with wings with the soft cover and the anti leak core! Remember when Dad would come in from work he was treated like a king in the 70’s and 80’s wasn’t he? My dad was a trades teacher Mum had four boys at home going crazy. Mum would hear his car coming around the corner and Mum would come in and say “Alright don’t talk to Dad for half an hour he needs some transition time from work. It’s a bit different now. You rock up to my house, I sit in the car and can hear the kids screaming from my car. I just sit there and go oh geez do I have to go in. Seriously, I wish we had one of those signs they have in bush fire areas on the front lawn with a little needle indicating how bad it is on the inside. Mild! Extreme! On the phone to her mother! Then you go in and your wife hands you the baby and goes “I’m going to Spotlight” and doesn’t come back for four days.
I’m a professional working Dad
I’m a bit stressed at work
I look after her two days a week and work the rest of the week.
It’s a long day you know from when I leave to get home its 11 or 12 hours.
Straight after work its action stations straight into it.
Just came home from work she started throwing her food at us and she was grabbing anything from the table just to pull on the ground and trying to break it, and she nearly broke us.
Some of the stresses I’ve found being a new dad is sleep. Her sleep and lack of my sleep.
Fell asleep at my desk last night. At my keyboard.
I’ve got my baby and wife as my motivation to keep working sort of thing so I’ve got that to think about through the day.
Lack of sleep – how have you gone with balancing that with work?
Yep it was pretty horrible the first six months to bring the conversation down a bit. So I changed job and it went straight into a job that was, they were very supportive but it was actually a few late nights and then to come home to a pretty grumpy mum and a grumpy child. You know you normally come home and you just want to sigh and have a beer and you’re on – you’re on again – and it’s a huge mind switch to go “hey mate it’s not about you”. Your wife’s actually had a much harder day.
And you’ve got to buck up and take over now.
There’s moments where the communicating part, where you don’t want to but look its two hours and I’ll just throw everything into and when she’s down and we can stop then I can switch off but it’s trying to learn how to do that.
I think it’s often work is a break.
Seriously work is a break from home because, far out
You’ve got time to yourself.
I think its respite often particularly in that first six months
You can look after the little one all day and you can have a hellish day and when they don’t nap and you get them down at 7. I had her once and I got her down at 7, made dinner, had lunch ready for the next day, then raced to the gig, ran on stage and I was like “welcome everyone to a great stand up gig it’s going to be fun I hope” and I realised my shirt was inside out and my fly was open.
Just stay awake la la la keep your eyes open la la la try to appear as productive as everyone else la la la even though you know that you are a danger to your colleagues and to yourself la la la smile when people walk past if they happen to ask how you are just say fine la la la run down the clock, keep your head up until it is time, time to go home and if you fall asleep nobody will know. It’s just a job after all and you’re only, a pilot…
All of sudden you can’t just go to the gym when you get home from work because you need to utilise that time to have with your little one.
I try to get up at 5.15 in the morning to go to the gym, um and last night that was just a complete write off. I didn’t get to go this morning, I was stressing about work.
I want to see my baby I want to spend time with my baby during the day sometimes instead of getting home at 6.30 every night.
I park the car and go OK pump the tunes because this is the last time you’ll be able to listen to normal music.
As soon as you step out of that car and you grab them and you give them a kiss, everything just washes away.
You psyche yourself up, take in this last song on the radio, get in there and kick some arse as a Dad that’s what I tell myself.
As much as they can cause some stress especially when they’re crying or they’re not sleeping or something like that, they definitely can take a lot of your other stresses from the world away and I’m very very grateful for that. Very blessed.
For those of you who don’t have children look at your own parents. Once upon a time they were like you they were carefree and fun loving and now look at them they are broken people that are prepared to go to the supermarket wearing tracksuit pants, an ugg boot and a thong and a pyjama jacket. They haven’t bathed for three days, it’s like that keeps going because you’re not a parent for the first six weeks or six months or a year you’re a parent forever. That stress and anxiety that your child is going to get squashed by a train or taken by aliens is forever right and it breaks you.
This is the actual Dadvice right, and my Dadvice is run! Run until there’s no sign of human life, hollow out a log and learn to live like an animal. Forage for berries and grubs. Of course if any man did run until there was no sign of human life into a bush somewhere and live with the animals his wife would find him and she’d be like “get in the car dickhead”.
How old’s your little one?
He’s two weeks yesterday.
Is there anything you guys can add with regards to work life balance at the start? Anything Dean could use?
Just sleep. Get as much sleep as you can. Go to bed earlier. I tried to hang onto my 10pm, 11pm, midnight bedtime. Now it’s 9.30.
I reckon the big thing is do what you guys feel is right, there’s so much information that everyone’s got an opinion on. Your parents, your in-laws, your friends who have got kids. Even people without kids have got an opinion on what to do.
They’re the worst!
Yeah. Yeah, not going to name names but, family members. Same with the internet and google. You can google the answer you want to know there’s an answer for everything so I reckon avoid that a bit as well.
It’s a bit of a trap I think.
Like I said you can find an answer you want but also ten answers you don’t want.
Yeah well yeah.
But the sleep while you can thing I’ve always found funny because you know, he’s only four months now but those first couple of months we just couldn’t find the time to sleep, like “sleep when you get a chance”. It’s so hard to try and you know, so we just didn’t sleep. That’s just the option we took. It depends on the baby as well. But I think some people, being OK with the fact that sleep may not happen for a period, I think is a really important thing to know because when you feel like oh we should be trying to nap, but sometimes that’s really hard to do because depending on how your baby sleeps sometimes you just don’t get that opportunity.
You know what I found and my partner found this as well. You’ve got the adrenaline and you’ve got the energy in you, and just when you get to the point where you think you’re going to break and you don’t have it anymore, they’ll start sleeping longer.
When it gets really bad it’s really bad and you’re under a lot of stress but you know it will end and when it’s really really great and it’s the best thing in the world, you know that will end as well.
I need to work hard for my family and part of me wants to wrap my arms around them and never let go.
I’ve started crying a LOT!
I was just reading her a book and she fell asleep in the middle of the book so reality is you see bad movies but then she turned around and gave me a cuddle and the whole bedtime thing was really easy and simple and I don’t know why, I guess, it made me a bit emotional after a long hard day.
It’s a struggle but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
We are built to survive.
So whether you're a stay at home dad, working full-time or one of those beautiful combinations in between,
My dadvice to you is to get to dadvice.org.au and make full use of the awesome resources we've set up for new dads.