Saying hello and why I joined
Hi everyone. I’m a 29 year old dad with 4 children 6 and under.
I joined because I need support. I don’t have a great relationship with my kids. I feel very high strung all the time. I have recently just started my dream job as a baker however the hours are really affecting my relationship with my kids. I barely see them. I didn’t have the best relationship before taking the job either so it isn’t completely work related. The hours get to me. I miss them so much more than I realised I would. I leave around 7.40pm so right in the middle of bedtime and get home around 5.30am on a good night, the latest I’ve been home since starting is gone 7 and then I need to do the school run as I’m the only one who can drive. If I’m lucky I’ll get about 2hours sleep but I obviously want to unwind after work so I might stay up and listen to an album and have a bit of me time after standing all night making and baking bread. Don’t get me wrong I love every minute of it. It can just get very manic some nights and it’s exhausting. I obviously want to stay up after taking them to school and spend time with the wife and 1 yo before I sleep but that affects my time with the older ones after they come home because I’ll see them for maybe an hour or two before I have to do it all over again.
anyway my point is I’m looking for support for how I can have a better relationship with my children. And not be that dad that just snaps at the smallest thing because I’m tired. Side note I have been massively sleep deprived for 6 years so I think that may partially be the reason I am like this but I’ve also been my wife’s carer for 5 years since losing a child and being at home looking after everyone doing all the housework and cooking was a bit much and I’ve just gradually grown more stressed and snappy as the years have gone on.
how can I be that fun loving dad that has great memories with the kids how do I improve as a parent. How do I change when that’s all I have been for the last 5 years. It really upsets me that I’m like this but it also makes me more stressed and it’s just a vicious cycle I can’t get out of.
thanks for making it this far. I appreciate your time and look forward to any advice you can throw at me to try and help me improve my relationship with my family.
I feel like I’m a lost cause but I’m willing to do anything so my kids can look up at me and be inspired by me following my dream but also be known as that cool dad
Are you able to work a different shift, or change jobs? Being sleep deprived just ruins my day. In the past I always turned down jobs that involved late/night shifts.
Sounds as though you need some help with the housework if you're still doing that as well as working. Has you wife had any counselling after the loss of your child? Thats a big trauma for you both. I hope you get at least one day off a week? Perhaps that could be 'family day' and you plan something with the children. It doesn't have to be an expensive outing every time. Children are happy tracking through the woods or doing a treasure hunt. Take a picnic and drinks to cut costs. I'm sure you could google activities for rainy days too. You need to look after yourself properly because if you crack, those you love will be in a worse situation. Try to get some help.
@bill337 my options are 8-5 10-7 or 2-11 the later isn’t feasible as I still do the school run. I don’t want to change jobs. I love it. I have a natural flair for baking and my dream is coming true so not an option really.
I never thought I would fall into baking but I did. I knew the hours when I applied but you don’t know how it will affect you till you do it. I guess it’s just an adjustment period. But it’s taking it’s toll currently.
@champagne she has just finished counselling but it wasn’t solely focused on the loss of our child. She has improved her mental health so much and I’m so proud of her. Just mines deteriorating and has been for the best part of a year. I have a wellbeing appointment on 14th October so just waiting on that. Not sure what they can offer me though however it took a lot to call them. I get 2 days off 5 days on but it varies from week to week and I am stupid enough to not sleep on my first day off so I can spend as much time with the family as possible but because I’m tired I get snappy and irritable. I need some more discipline on my sleep and just go to bed the moment I get home from the school run and get up earlier so I can spend time with the kids after school and hopefully not be cranky.
I’ll definitely think of some activities with the kids next week and try and be fun dad instead of tired cranky dad. Thanks for your response it’s helped me out
Have you been to see your GP - I would say that you need support, both for yourself and your wife, and the GP may be a good starting point.
Hello CrustyOaf, wow ! I’m exhausted reading through your very busy daily schedule. I can completely understand how 6 years of sleep deprivation has affected you, and is continuing to make you feel. But, congratulations on becoming a baker and being happy in a job you love. This is great news. You come across as a caring husband and father, so here’s a few suggestions to go with the already good ones from everyone else, which I hope you’ll find helpful.
1. Have you another family member or trusted friend that could assist with the school runs for example two or three times a week? Could you and your wife see if there is a school pick up via minibus which would then enable you to get some quality sleep earlier when you get in from work rather than a couple of hours later in the day.
2. If you are a visual guy, then perhaps on a piece of paper write down 5 simple activities that calm you down so that you can do what you need to when you feel yourself getting grouchy with the kids. E.g favourite music, breathing exercises, going into the bathroom and closing the door (for 5 mins!), sucking one of your favourite sweets, blowing bubbles ( yes it does work!) anything that will ensure you are calm before you address whatever issue it is.
3. You have 4 children who all want your time - so even if you spend 15 mins each with each one once or twice a week to begin with - your children will appreciate this. Let each child choose their activity, but within the boundaries you set. For example - “we can play a game of Lego or draw together for 15 minutes- special time just me and you, you choose.” Let them lead the conversation and play and this will be a simple way you can interact with them.
4. Another way - perhaps get some post it notes and leave little encouraging messages around the house for them to find before they go to bed so they know that although you’re away at work you love and care for them.
5. If you do the food shop together - take the eldest two with you and get them to help. Make a list for them - bread, milk, baked beans for example.
6. Make time for yourself once a week and do something you enjoy. Explain to the kids it’s daddy’s time - even if it’s only an hour.
7. Please don’t be hard on yourself !! You have got through 5 years - with some challenging family times too. Keep on going and take one day at a time. It’s great that you have a well being appointment for yourself - make some notes and questions to ask beforehand.
8.Keep encouraging your wife and showing affection to her in front of your children. It reassures them and makes them feel secure - keeping the family unit together. If your children have been affected by the loss of your child then the charity Winstons Wish is of great help.
9. Remember you are setting a great example to your children by providing for them. Perhaps sit the older ones down and talk to them about what you do. Make some bread with them perhaps?
I hope you can use something, apologies for the long post! I wish you and your wife well, one day at a time, celebrate the everyday wins and allow your body to rest. Eat well, keep hydrated, because your body cannot run on empty.
Kind regards to you all,
Spurgeons Parent Support Volunteer