They say it takes a village …
We all know the saying. “It takes a village to raise a child”. Now honestly, I’ve often rolled my eyes when I hear that, thinking it’s some kind of hippy one-liner. But more recently I’ve experienced first hand just how vital it is to have help from others.
Lisa and I are in somewhat of a unique position. Lisa is from Canada, I’m from Ireland and we live in New Zealand. We have no family here whatsoever, and yes that can sometimes be a good thing if there’s some family drama going down, which means we either tough it out in isolation or we build strong bonds with close friends.
As a parent, you want to prove to yourself, your partner and everyone else around you, that you are indestructible and independent. You don’t want to show any signs of weakness, tiredness or emotion. But in reality, you will implode if you take this approach. We are all human, and we all have breaking points. We need rest, we need alone time and more often than not we need a glass of vino. Don’t feel bad, you are part of a pretty huge club.
Finn had a big night last night. You know what I’m talking about. Coughing every few minutes, awake more than he was asleep and throwing up anytime you give him milk. These are those character building moments they tell you about. And I hope to Jesus (Mary and Joseph!) there is some positive outcome – because I’m not sure how much “character” was built for me last night. Today I feel like a mere shadow of my previous self. Sleep deprived, grumpy and lacking my usual redbull-esque energy levels.
And of course Murphy’s Law is one shit of a thing. Ironically, today is St Patrick’s Day. It feels like the Saint thinks it’s April Fools day – maybe he started on the sauce a few weeks too early. Today also happens to be the start of my work’s centenary celebration. (And when I say celebration, please don’t confuse that with a day off “work” and enjoying nibbles and bubbles – oh no, this is one of our busiest and most important days of the year, or should I say century!!). And here’s me sitting at the doctor’s clinic with Finn. Not ideal. But that’s just how the cookie crumbled today. Thankfully I have some pretty awesome co-workers to pick up the slack.
I sometimes think about the Navy Seals. They are put through such an intense training program, often where many of them just break. Well, I think parenthood has its “navy seal” moments. You non-parents probably think I’m being a muppet. But I shit you not, this daddy-business is serious stuff. Let’s compare notes with Americas finest.
- The Seals run two marathons in a day. Us parents run only one in a day, but with an 11kg babyweight, a jam-packed diaper bag, taking a phone call in one ear and getting the other ear yanked by a screaming ninja.
- The Seals are forced to live on a diet of nettles and kale. Us parents have to power through with only half a wine-biscuit and two spoonfuls of baby porridge.
- The Seals have to lay under a bush for hours at a time, no pooing and no eating. That’s just child’s play compared to us daddy’s and mummy’s! We sit motionless on the couch with our little ton-weight cherub in our arms fast asleep. We dare not breathe too heavy, cough, sleep, talk or move for fear of the sleeping beauty waking!!
In conclusion – the Seals aren’t a patch on the parents of the World. (No disrespect to the Seals as I think you are bloody amazing). When you non-parents are enjoying your extra hour in bed, your quiet stroll in the park or your uninterrupted episode of Catching up with Kardashians, please spare a thought for all of the parents out there bravely going to war each day.
Now don’t get me wrong – being a Dad is my most favourite thing in the world. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t trying times.
Uncle Jason and Aunty Donna are those people in our lives that stop the wheels from falling off. They have been absolute legends. They aren’t blood-relatives, but man oh man you wouldn’t know it. They have taken Finn in like one of their own. They nurture and support Lisa and I like we are their children. They are two extremely loving people – two of earths finest humans. They do it all from pure love and they have no clue just how much of a difference they make to our lives. They are living examples to me of why it does takes a village to raise a child. Without them – the wheels would well and truly have fallen off the old wagon.
For those parents that are out there and don’t have family support, fret not. Let the village do it’s thing.
Founder of Modern Dad.