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Living in isolation: Dad lessons

3 min read

This odd new world has forced a lot of changes in people.
Is it the circuit breaker a lot of us needed to slow down and reassess or has this just ramped up the already simmering tensions and anxiety that have been flowing like the river of ooze beneath New York in Ghostbusters 2?
At present, it looks like a lot of both.
After months of isolation and working from home I took a little stock to see what dad lessons have learned.

I’m incredibly glad my wife knows me so well, because apparently I’m only a mere awkward acquaintance to myself.

An extra hour sleep is a dangerous drug

This little addiction snuck up on me, to the point that in the rare times when I wake up at my pre lock down hour, I feel like I’ve discovered a new time so early that it never existed before. No longer do we have to go into military precision chaos to get a child prepped for Daycare, ourselves ready for work and on a train into the big city. I’ve found that extra hour seems to be where I hit the REM and wake up not knowing what year I’m in. My wife and I are even planning to start waking up early to train ourselves for when we have to go back. We really lost the discipline and are not even close to match fit. We got ‘sleep-fat’, we’re not prepped to an office return. Unless they let me turn up in t shirts that should have been disposed of at least a year ago. .

I need a better work from home set up

I consider myself extremely fortunate that my wife and I both kept our jobs and were pretty easily transferred to Work From Home. Because of that I feel bad that I am even taking the time to gripe but coming from a high-powered work system with 2 massive screens to a tiny 14inch Mac is the foremost First World Problem I can think of. As with everything, I left it way too late to panic buy a new computer and was left standing in front of empty PC shelves with nothing but the seven packs of toilet paper to comfort me.

Those small stress releases were taken for granted

No clue about this until my wife explained to me like I was 5. Which is how I often need information presented (like did you know hot water washes cause colours to run? Also, I ruined a lot her clothes, but at least I tried right?… Wrong).
I was discussing how I needed a break, but I didn’t know what from. She pointed out in very simple terms that I have had no pressure releases for a long time and I was absolutely ignoring any facet of Self-Care. That hour on the train to myself listening to podcasts about serial killers, the Friday drinks with work friends, going to any sporting game on the weekends to scream nonsensically at elite athletes, it all very suddenly disappeared and the unending focus of work, concern and cabin fever took over in big way. I’m incredibly glad she knows me so well, because apparently, I’m only a mere awkward acquaintance to myself.

The extra time doesn’t have to be filled

We all have more time. It could be more time than we like, or it could be a few extra hours at the end of the day. But with all weekend activities shut down, there are 2 massive swathes of day that are without plans. In some leap of evolution, I suddenly developed Terminator vision and was clocking all the DIY the house needed. The list was growing at an exponential rate and once I started on a project, I discovered something else had to be added on. With a dozen projects being done at 5% at a time, it suddenly became intensely overwhelming and I found that I was working on something from 8am until 5 or 6 at night and completely missing that family time. Considering no one could come to help me, I was a one-man crew and majority of that time was checking YouTube because I cocked it up trying with nothing more than delusions of grandeur to guide me. I was politely asked by my wife to fucking stop working and come inside for a weekend. Again… she was right. Definitely noticing a theme.

A lot of the world is seeing a tiny pin prick of light in the hellscape of COVID darkness (except New Zealand. They’re back and flipping off the rest of us like a Mr. Bean gif. God love you, Jacinda) and plans are underway to try and create a new normal. In business terms, this gives us a chance for a personal retrospective. Have a chat to your better half over a local micro-brewery IPA and ask how they’ve dealt with it all. You may not have noticed that you were quietly buzzing with an intensity of stressful thoughts, but maybe they have. Who knows, they may actually be able to help.
But so can a marathon of Fast & Furious movies.

Cam Mann

Written by Cam Mann

Cam has been attempting to write anything anyone would want to read for a few years now. Trying his hand at small film scripts and sports articles, but once his son, Billy, was born he found his niche writing about the ridiculousness of Fatherhood. As he watches his kid enter each Developmental Leap (and Developmental Face Plant) he will look to avoid the ever-present terror we all know and wring out inappropriate laughs wherever he can.

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