Daddy Guilt: To do stuff or to get stuff done 

If you enjoy this article please comment and follow me on Twitter @maddadskillz or Facebook or Instagram.  Illustration credit to @paulcarlonillustration

It’s all gone wrong. I am absolutely behind on all life admin measures. I came home to a “reminder notice” to pay the energy bill. Same energy bill my wife has been reminding me to pay for a week.

However even now I can’t pay it because I can’t remember the password to the account. That’s alright, normally,  because I keep a backup on the iPad, but I can’t bloody find that either!
So fine, screw that, let’s focus on cooking that meal for the infant that I’ve been trying to do for three days. I chopped up the masses of root veg and sweet potatoes two days ago but was short on spinach. I couldn’t nip out to the shop because, when two kids are involved, you can’t NIP anywhere.

Today I managed to get more spinach only to discover I’d used the cheese in preparing last night’s meal! OK OK don’t panic, I’ll just use the Red Leicester instead, baby has to branch out from cheddar at some point right? OK, the pre-chopped ingredients, are in the fridge. ARGH they have started to blacken and harden up in the two days they’ve been in there!

So, I can’t cook the meal AGAIN today, I can’t pay the energy bill till my wife gets home and the load of laundry in the drying machine still isn’t Fecking dry!!

Ironically today was the day another mum said I seemed to be taking this MANternity in my stride! Incorrect.

And the kids? Well the infant is crawling around on the floor repeatedly trying to eat everything she shouldn’t and my son has been plugged into the family computer for the past hour. Why? Because I just can’t do both right now, I’m either dad of the year and nothing else or I’m a househusband extraordinaire and a terrible father!

So why do I seem so incapable this week of getting any stuff done? Well to be honest it’s because I’ve been doing stuff! The laundry is falling behind because I haven’t been in the house to run the dryer.  The dishes are piling up because I’ve been dashing out to playgroups or taking the kids to visit grandparents.

It occurs to me that this is the difficult part of parenting. Trying to strike a balance between essential life admin and my desire to spend all day entertaining the kids. My wife counsels me that I can’t be “on” all the time. That the kids will benefit from learning to entertain themselves (and having clean clothes)!

Of course she is frustratingly correct.  I currently beat myself up if I’m not giving them my all. I know I’ve spoken about guilt before but this is different, I believe some call it “mummy guilt”. If I’m dicking around on my phone or if I’m doing the dishes while my littlest one tries to climb up the back of my legs, I’m mad at myself.

Strangely I didn’t feel this way when I had to leave the house for work.  I guess I saw that as something I didn’t have a choice over.  Whereas now it feels like every moment should be savored and I shouldn’t let the trivial tasks get in the way of playtime.  Yet the logical part of me knows that obviously I will tire throughout the day and if I don’t cook, we don’t eat.

I guess I’m learning that parenting, like relationships and life, is all about balance.  I need to do stuff with the kids but also need to get stuff done. Its just that STUFF is so boring when compared with playing superheros or teaching a baby to walk!

In fact, even as I type this I’m thinking, screw this! I’ve only got 50 or so more days of MANternity left.  I’m not going to waste them on dishes and electric bills!

Come On! Let’s be Heros, let’s be martyrs, let’s be radical thinkers! Bring on the dragons and the dinosaurs!  Set up the train track and race cars! Pirate ships made out of egg cartons for everyone!  If this baby isn’t walking and saying Dada by February then I’ll consider myself a failure and retire from the world of competitive parenting!

To my wife, when you read this, I apologise, there’s nothing for dinner, come join us at the park, we’ve gone to dig for worms and splash in puddles!

If you enjoyed this article please comment and follow me on Twitter @maddadskillz or Facebook or Instagram.  Illustration credit to @paulcarlonillustration


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0 thoughts on “Daddy Guilt: To do stuff or to get stuff done 

  1. I’m glad to see we all suffer from ‘mum’ guilt! You hit the nail on the head though. If I leave my two year old for a minute to do any admin I’ve basically got an attention-seeking, sofa-climbing,pushing-brother-over terrorist on my hands. I just can’t get stuff done until they’re in bed at 8ish (before one of them is up again). I leave all the dishes in the sink till nap time, and we eat cheese sandwiches most nights. But I do also offer a beer. Makes me an amazing mum AND wife I reckon!

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