Becoming a dad means there’s so much more to life than work
ROSS, DUBLIN, IRELAND
All the way through my 20s and early 30s, life centred on my career. My partner Emily is really career-driven too, that’s one of the reasons we work so well.
As soon as Aoife arrived, my whole attitude changed.
As soon as Aoife arrived, my whole attitude changed. Instead of staying late and working on three drafts of a document, I would focus and get it right first time. I got better at delegating to my team, and they actually really like that. I also realised how much time was wasted in meetings. I hated that and our team became super-efficient. Work was still important, there was just something more important to get home for.
After 6 months we realised our plan for Emily to go back to work and I took over full-time parenting. I’d spent loads of time with Aoife, lots of full days together, so I didn’t think the change would be that big. But it was. Mainly, I hadn’t realised that until that point, Emily had choreographed the whole thing. She’d give me a day bag with nappies, wipes, bibs, loads of food in plastic containers. I just went out for the day. I had no idea how much time it took to get ready. I started getting up an hour early just to get packed, and I usually forgot something. It was really hard!
The other challenge was how to spend our days. Emily had met loads of new mums through a local Facebook group, and she went to classes with the same 5 or 6 mums every day. At first I wasn’t sure about continuing those classes and relationships. What if I didn’t connect with them in the same way?
But thankfully I went along anyway, and all of Emily’s friends were absolutely amazing. Totally different backgrounds and outlooks, not people I would have met through work or my other social groups. But brilliant people. They looked at me and thought ‘this guy needs help’ and I was happy to receive it! We don’t have family nearby so these guys made all the difference - I’ve used all of them as a crutch and I don’t know how I’d have managed those six months of paternity leave without them. Any time I’d forgotten something or needed help, they were there for me.
Now we’re all back at work, these friendships are still a big part of life. One mum friend Megan especially - we look after each other’s little girls every Friday. We’ve both got spare child seats and double buggies, we batch cook and share food - we’re even going on holiday together. It feels like since having Aoife we’re now a real part of our community, even though we’ve lived here for 12 years. Work is still important to me, but it’s definitely not the main focus anymore.