Quality Not Quantity: Making The Most Of Your Time With Your Children

Ever Father, and Mother, has that moment when they have to go back to work after having a baby. Now this can be a week, a month or even a year. A whole year off work, yes please.

That time off ends and you have to leave your baby. You struggle with it but it is all about the quality of time you spend with your little one from now on not the quantity.It is a phrase my Father-In-Law said to me and it has stick with me It is hard and a struggle to accept that at times but it really is true.

I don’t know if because I lost Poppy IMG_0059that I try to make the most of every second with Reuben. I’ll openly admit that when I first went back to work I felt guilty and upset about leaving my little boy. I wanted to spend every second with him. I’d worry I wasn’t doing enough with him, worried he wouldn’t like me. All the standard Dad fears. I had to stop worrying about that though, it would drive me insane. I can’t change the fact I have to go back to work but what I can do is enjoy every second I am with Roo.

After losing a child you know how precious every second with your children is. It is so special and such a blessing. I got 3 whole days with Poppy and of course I have regrets in those days. While we got to do hand and footprints, there are some things I wish I had done. The nurses would wash Poppy to get that awful alien like substance off her and change her nappies. I wish I’d ask if I could help, I was just so scared I’d pull a wire out and hurt her. She was so small and so poorly I just couldn’t do it. I wish every day I had. 

With Roo I’m so determined to do everything I can with him, in the time I have with him. Even if that means taking an extra 10 minutes to put the washing away because I’m making him laugh while I do it. I struggled for a long time trying to balance out chores and Roo time. IMG_8964I’d put off doing things round the house because it would end up costing me time with by boy. I’ve come to a view though that I can do these things with Roo around. I can sit him on the floor surrounded by a million soft toys while I move his cot down. I can talk to him while I work and still play with him. It just means the jobs take longer but it’s about trying to blend the two together. The best is putting washing away as we can play peek a boo. Roo currently loves being hidden under a freshly washed duvet.

It took me a long time to stop feeling anxious over being at work and not at home. It really is the best part of the working day, getting home to your wife and son. Seeing his little face light up when he sees me melts my heart. I have the stabbing sadness wishing I had both my babies smiling at me getting home, but Roo’s smile makes everything feel better. From that moment I’d do everything I can with Roo. Obviously when he was only a few weeks old that just meant Daddy cuddles. Now though I can do so much more and see him react to me. We can read stories, have tummy time, sitting up playing with toys, looking in mirrors or just use me as a chair to sit and giggle on. Whatever makes him smile I’ll happily do, even if it is singing 5 Little Monkey’s Jumping on The Bed for the 100th time. Those 2 hours before bed are just heaven. To me they aren’t enough and I wish I could spend every hour with him but I’ll enjoy them to the max.I’ll squeeze Roo into any daily task just to spend some time with him. It’s why I started bringing him on the morning dog walk. IMG_9109He used to just sleep during it, or fall asleep on it but he’s always loved it. It’s a lovely thing to do before heading to work for the day. He adores it and he can export nature and see the world.Not being able to bring Poppy home really makes me want to able to spend every day at home with Emily and Roo. I lost out on all the memories we were going to make with her and that makes me want to spend every waking second with Roo. Stuff it if he throws up on me, I’ll take that because he’s here with us. Reality is I can’t, I have to go out and provide for my family.

I listened to Tom Fletcher’s appearance in the Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast say that going to work makes you a good dad. He is right, you are going out and providing for your family. The time at home is special and if I just get 2 hours with Roo then I’ll spend every one of those minutes in those 2 hours with him. I’ll make the most of that time.Weekends and my day off in the week are heavenly. 3 whole days with Roo and Emily. I can do everything for Roo, all the nappies, all the feeds, preparing meals for him and all the playing. Obviously we still share duties because as well as enjoying my time with our son, I love seeing Emily with him. It makes my heart burst seeing the two of them together. Even these days I will still feel guilty that I’ve not done enough with him. IMG_4563Every night I’ll go to bed and worry I’ve not done enough with Reuben. Did I give him enough cuddles, should I have read more to him, have I helped me develop today? Am I doing enough? I think we all have those worries though.

After losing Poppy I think I’m always going to be more anxious that I’m not doing enough to make sure Roo grows up to be the best person he can be. The main thing though is did I make the most of what time I had with Roo? Have I done fun things with him? The answer will always be yes and that is all that matters. In a perfect world I’d be at home all the time but I can’t be so I’ll make the most of the time I get with him.IMG_9632

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