Here’s the thing, that job… being Dad, is different for everyone which is why we love to hear a personal story. 60:40 Dad is a father of two, separated and with his children 40% of the time. He last wrote for us pre-pandemic and we’ve missed him. Below 60:40 shares his thoughts on the crazy last two years…
That was quite a couple of years!
If you were to take an objective look at my life now, you’d think everything had remained as it was. The kids are still with me literally the exact same hours each fortnight that they were two years ago. Balancing their needs and communicating over two households remains a challenge. I’d love to say it gets easier but I think the challenges just shift in their subject and intensity. I have the same partner, same house, same job, same school run, same constant worries about doing the right thing by my children…
But that simple objective look at where I am now to where I was before doesn’t really do justice to the meandering journey that you go on when raising two children over two homes.
Covid was a period that meant that, for the worst of reasons, I had more time to spend with my children. We learnt a lot and had lots of challenges such as:
• I got to find out what type of learners they are as their teacher. I then learnt that the novelty of having Dad as teacher quickly wore off and the bargaining began. New found respect for teachers; I tell myself they have it easier as they can rely on group pressure!
• I had to explain to them about difficult subjects (pandemics, racism and wars were all things I had to deepen my understanding of, yet alone be prepared to explain to two boys).
• They had to move in with me for a longer period when their Mum got Covid, they had to move further away from me when their Mum had to move for a period. Logistics got much more complex, but I was able to step back and see the bigger picture and just get on with it.
• We’ve learnt to camp as a way to get out amid the pandemic, and understand the value of zero cost entertainment (rock painting, walks, crafting with Amazon boxes, Joe Wicks PE lessons).
• My eldest has become a budding chef; looking to choose meals and cook them each day. My youngest has started setting the breakfast table for me each morning. Hoping these changes last!
• It’s been tricky trying to negotiate Covid’s formal and informal rights and wrongs over two houses. What one side might consider risky the other might not and vice-versa. It’s not like many of us had much experience of such things to lean on was there?!
And now we’re back to semi-normality again.
Except there’s no such thing is there?
I’ve always had a tendency to look forward with expectation to that magical moment when “we’re past this patch and things are simpler”. I fall into that trap all of the time; in fact writing this post is one of the things that snaps me out of such thinking. Our children are on their journey, we’re on our journeys and the “other” parents are on their journeys and it’s inevitable with that many moving parts things will always be in a state of flux.
The joy of being together
I recently had a photobook printed covering the last two years, and when I look at those photos I just see happy people taking joy from being together. Looking back at our adventures during lockdown and the “simpler” low cost basic lives we lived for a period I feel a sense of affection for that time. I think if I’d have known it was temporary, or hadn’t had to live with the broader worries in the background I would have seen it at the time for what a wonderful opportunity it was to reset my life to what was important and spend some valuable time investing in my best relationships.