The worst thing about an injury that immobilises you is there is no training period for using your new temporary mobility aids.

Never did I need this more than on Thursday of last week when I was given the go-ahead to commence being more mobile and take up residence on the couch, but with the aid of crutches. I had just finished dinner and organising my nephews and my kids to wash the dishes in the kitchen as our dishwasher has given up the ghost; when all of a sudden my crutches slipped on the tiles causing me to plant my right foot (injured one) on the ground to prevent the fall. As I struggled to keep myself upright, I relived the whole rupturing experience again, next thing I know, Im on the floor writhing in pain.

Fortunately, my wonderful sister Naomi (who is a nurse) was visiting, and went straight into triage mode and helped me by keeping me calm and then providing me with some pain relief and getting me back to bed.

Prognosis. I visited my surgeon on Friday – Mr William Edwards (http://www.willedwards.com/) who is fantastic, and managed to squeeze me into a late notice appointment, ordering me then to get an ultrasound to assess and prepare me for the new way forward.

Whilst this is a huge setback for my recovery, Im now clambering around to find other people who’ve had the same experience so that I can glean from their experience in the hope that I can resume a relatively normal and active life post achilles surgery. Ive even joined an achilles tendon recovery blog (https://achillesblog.com) that has other people with similar experiences. I need all the positive thinking techniques I can get as I am a bit worried about how it will turn out. So please send me all your positive energy thoughts and prayers! Much appreciated! Thanks for reading.

 

Hi there, just thought i’d drop a line to give you an update of my life as a stay-at-home-dad, because it has now been nearly 19 months and amazingly, Im still here!

Well, the past 19 months have been fantastic. When I say fantastic, I haven’t said ‘easy’, or ‘a walk in the park’, or ‘without its challenges’. In truth it has been exhausting, thrilling, rewarding, sad, lonely, frustrating and emotional, to use a few adjectives. Im not saying I use each of these feelings every day, but on the whole, it is a roller coaster ride that I’m learning to endure and roll with (no pun intended), knowing that (sometimes)’ every day’ is a new day.

I still have 3 amazingly different children with whom I love and a very loving and supportive wife. I have days when nothing seems to get in my way and I get heaps done, and others when nothing will go as planned. Being a project manager, I like to solve problems and get a solution or outcome, but Im learning that some days it’s better to let things go and fight the battles I can win. I heard or read something once where the person said ‘I make my bed as soon as I get up each morning, at least then I know I’ve accomplished something for the day’. As simple as it may be, I started doing this every day too and it does help, particularly being someone who is driven by writing a comprehensive list of things to do and ticking them off as I go.

I have to say, one of the hardest things I deal with on a daily basis is the social aspect of this role as it is often a lonely job.  I am a dad who takes 2 of my 3 kids to school each day. I have done so for 19 months and unfortunately being a male, in a generally female dominated area, has its challenges. If I was a woman (mum) and took my kids to school, it would be nothing to stop and have a conversation with another mum and talk about what I was doing for the day, ‘oh and I have half an hour free this morning, lets grab a coffee’. But unfortunately being a man (dad), Im alienated from being part of this social aspect of being a stay at home parent. I understand the perception that a man and woman, who are both in committed relationships going for a coffee, could be frowned upon and get front page in the school gossip column, but sometimes it would be just nice to have some adult/friendly conversation during the day on purely a platonic level…

Watching my children getting a bit older has been a real blessing. I get to listen to them read, do maths problems and work them out, watch them try and succeed (and sometime fail) at their sporting or extra-curricula activities and see them explore and work out where they fit into their little world, it is great! When my older 2 children were young, I spent a lot of time away, late at the office, leaving early in the morning and only really seeing them (to be honest) for about 45mins – 1 hour per day. Enough to say good morning… and then bathe them and put them to bed in the evening. I missed out. But with my youngest one, I get to see him throw his first massive tantrum (terrible 2’s) experience gravity with his food (yes, it drives me nuts) and be defiant and push the boundaries (and my buttons) but that’s just it, I get to see it!

In reflection, over the past 9 years, we have had every form of child minding available, we’ve had nannies, aupairs, baby sitters, mothers-in-law, child care, day care, after school care… with the aim of providing some financial security for our children and our future. But in the end, all our children want is time with us, and to have us (parents) around. I highly recommend, if you can work it, and do away with some creature comforts, take a step back, and have at least one parent home with your kids at all times (even dads). You will never regret it. A wiser person than me once said, ‘on your death bead, you will never wish you had worked more…’

So all in all the past 19 months has had its challenges, but its a time that I will always remember and time that I will never get back!

When I was young and my parents had separated, we moved on to a single parent pension which is modest allowance from the Australian Government to assist and provide the very basics for children without two parents on the scene. Its great and Im very thankful for living in a society that provides for single parents to ensure that there is some consistency at home despite the separation, and Mum could be home with us, rather than out, searching for a job for minimum wages.

One of the pitfalls of a having a modest income raising four growing preadolescent children is that there is not a lot of money for things that, today I take for granted. Going down to the nearest cafe for a coffee, just wasn’t something that was done, as ever dollar would be allocated to rent, groceries, utilities (water, electricity and gas) etc.  So lets just say that when I went to school, if we had a sandwich and a piece of fruit for each day of the week, we were doing well. At school, recess and lunch times would arrive and my friends had what I called ‘proper lunches’ muesli bars, cake, biscuits, chips, white bread sandwich (we know better now), basically a smorgasbord lunch that would make my stomach tighten with hunger!

I now have three beautiful children, two of which are now at school, and being a stay at home dad, I make it my duty to correct the ‘wrongs’ of my childhood, by providing what I would consider a lunch that would make other children envious… I know, I know, its shallow and questionable, but I really put a lot of effort into making their lunches with my main focus being, they are not hungry at school. However, my efforts are not being appreciated to my satisfaction… the lunch boxes often come home  with a half-eaten sandwich, biscuits left over, crackers and cheese not eaten, and this gets me frustrated! Why won’t my kids eat what I give them?!

After getting frustrated and trying different things like reducing their lunch removing goodies in the effort to have them eat the healthy things and providing a variety of lunch box fillers, I had some time to reflect and ask some questions… Recently, I asked my son why he didn’t eat all his lunch. He turned and said, Dad, if I ate all my lunch I wouldn’t have time to play with my friends (lump in throat). Ok, then, did you have enough to eat today? Yes, thanks Dad, just enough. I realised that I was making a lunch that suited a teenage kid not a 6 & 8 year old… Oops!

Please don’t read if you’re eating dinner…

So its been over 12 months since I embarked on the stay at home dad (SAHD) role and I’ve had a few stories to tell, but thought I would share my yesterday. Whilst I can’t provide photos of the event – because it has some child nudity, I will try and be as descriptive as possible…

So I put my two year old down for his mid day nap. He likes to play around in his cot for a little while before going to sleep, he also has to have his drink bottle, the music on, a book or two, his cars, and his teddies. He plays around in his cot for about half an hour after Ive put him down and I eventually call out to him from the lounge room and say ‘head down time to sleep!’ He bursts into tears which is a bit strange. I go to his room to see what the fuss is and settle him, only to find he’s taken his nappy off and there was shit (poo) everywhere! It was and is my worst nightmare!!!! In disbelief, I start to think, what the hell do I do? It fucking stinks, but Im here on my own and so there is no-one else to handle it and I can’t afford to think about it too much or I would throw up. There’s shit all over the place, Ive got to try and avoid the two year old digesting any, and prevent it spreading any further.

Ok a plan… I run the shower, I grab the boy, strip him down and put him in the shower saying ‘Don’t Move – He’s two and I think with the tone of voice and the frantic nature of the incident I think he knew exactly what I was saying… I go back to the crime scene and start dissecting the bed sheets from the blankets, there is nothing that has escaped the incident even Mickey Mouse had bailed out of the cot but not before having being exposed and tarnished by the excrement. I strip the bed throwing the affected sheet straight in the bin outside and I take the blankets x 3 to the wash. I then proceed back to the shower, the boy hasn’t moved. Strangely enough he didn’t fair too bad, and the rinse in the shower had moved on some of the evidence. The boy is washed, and reclothed and he’s back in the cot with new sheets and blankets and ready for about 25 mins sleep before I have to pick the others up from school.
Its now dinner time, Ive picked the kids up from school, there are now three of them, they have chores, they argue, they’re hungry, the make noise, its the 2 hour period of the day that no parent enjoys. I’m in the kitchen, the two year old is at my feet and using my legs as an obstacle course in and out, in and out. I’m trying to peel potatoes and cutting up veggies for a once a week meat and 3 veg dish. I suddenly hear a grunt from below, I look down and the two year old projectile vomits, not once but three times in a row! OMG! vegetables are cooking, steak is in the pan, no time to think… I grab a cloth, wipe his face and hands quickly remove his top, and put him in the highchair – don’t worry he wasn’t sick sick, he just vomited, I think parents know when the kid is sick or not and two year olds are always walking around the house, picking up thinks and putting them in their mouth. I kept the virtual peg on my nose and proceeded to clean up the spew. Please don’t trust the ‘super absorbent hand towels, I don’t think they have a tolerance for spew. I do the first pass, I stir the vegetables and steak. I wash my hands profusely in between clean up sessions and continue. I feed the first two kids as the other one was out at dance lessons. The boys are both eating, Im gathering myself back together…

L gets home sits down to a nice steak… How was your day? 🙂 Her words echo, its the first time in 12 months I preferred being at work!

 

I touched poo!!!

Posted by: Owen in Stay at home Dad 1 Comment »

I know I should be an expert at it by now, having had 3 children, and having changed my fair share of nappies. However, there is nothing you do so fastidiously than wiping a young one’s bum after a big (or even small) No.2, making sure you get every little bit cleaned and being careful not to have any direct contact with the… well you know…

But the other day IT finally happened. I was at the change table with child number 3 ready to carry out the big unveiling; everything I needed in close proximity, a toy of distraction, so that there is minimal movement on the table. Then, as I had my quick look, holding the left leg with my left hand and grabbing for the nappy wipes with the right, I inadvertently put my hand into an unfolding nappy! And it wasn’t just a finger or the top of the knuckle! It was a four-finger grab, fingernails and all!

At this point, I’d like to say that I handled it with restraint. But I yelled… AAAARGHHH! Child number 3 then lost concentration with his ‘toy of distraction’ and started wiggling around on the table, risking getting his leg tangled in it. So I was still holding the left leg and hadn’t yet closed the nappy, wondering how could finish this and clean my hands and get back to my counsellor and talk through the ordeal. I eventually pulled it together and finished the exercise one-handed, and was able to make my way to the bathroom without having to cut my arm off. And after a nice relaxing manicure…

I have to say that despite nearly 8 years of changing nappies, it hasn’t become anymore pleasant or easy on the nose or one of my top 5 things I do as a father. I’m sure everyone has a good poo story to share that is equally as unpleasant and something to be shared at the 21st birthday party!

Now that I think about it, there was that time with Child Number 1 in the bathtub…

 

Well a lot has changed since my last post. I have become the father of another beautiful son – Patrick (Feb 2014), I had a real push into further establishing a consulting business. I worked in a place that I hated and kept doing it because the money was good. I took a position in the Philippines on a hotel project for 4 months away from my family. I returned and began a new era in my life. The life of a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD)!
I have to say that of all my positions in life, of all the jobs that I’ve loved doing, all of the projects that I’ve worked on, all of them pale into insignificance for my new role as the primary carer for my 3 beautiful children.
When reflecting during my time in the Philippines, many things became clear and many unclear, about how I am making it through this time I have on the planet. I have always been someone who has pushed myself to achieve and be successful, all the while not really understanding what it means. Whilst Im still not there in my understanding of what it is all about, I am now in a better position, to keep searching to find out what it all means, without the pressure of sitting at someone’s office for 10-12 hours per day.
Unfortunately, the realisation of what an important role being a SAHD is, didnt come to me naturally, it did take time, as it meant temporarily letting go of all I had worked for for the past 20 or so years, but with time (a few months), I think Ive got there and now fully embracing the opportunity of spending some real quality time with my beautiful children.
I’m very greatful to my remarkable wife, who has chosen to be the main breadwinner for our family, which has has come at the sacrifices of some of her own personal goals, and so I hope I can do it justice.
With regard to the day to day running of our household now, I can say, it is a difficult challenge and a job that leaves me exhausted at the end of the day. My 7yo, 5yo & 16month old, do tire me out and take me to my limits of diplomacy, but with a lot of love, patience and humility, I think im doing ok. Lets see what happens!