Father's Day - The Reality

Part of me would like the stereotypical Father's Day. Lets call it 'Fathers Day, the dream'. Wake up in my own time and in a leisurely fashion. Tea, a few slices of sourdough toast and marmalade, all served in bed with The Times newspaper. Where are the children? Silly question. They are downstairs playing quietly with Claire.


With three children 'Father's Day, the reality' is very different. Very. Last year Claire was heavily pregnant and we spent most of the day travelling to Carlisle to see our middle child dance (3-4 hour round trip for 2 minutes on stage...).


My car air-conditioning is an open window and as I drove us up there poor Claire had to put up with the stifling heat whilst entertaining the children. It didn't feel right to moan about not having had breakfast in bed.....


In an old life I worked long hours in quite a pressured job, one that involved a fair bit of travel, sometimes over weekends. I was never home for breakfast and was usually back just in time to wish the children goodnight.


These days I often have sole responsibility for our three children, a situation that is relatively common-place with Claire and I running Pure Lakes together.  


At no point have I found the former more difficult than the latter. When working in an office I was able to take time for a coffee break, have a walk outside to clear my head, take some me-time. More than that, head space was always my own. With little children you switch off and leave them to it at your peril.


Friends with older children tell me that it does't get easier. The worry about immediate safety is supplanted by worry about teenage strife and angst. Never mind teenagers; my parents have seven children and never stop worrying about any of us. Claire's folks the same. 


My knowledge of the difference between office work and childcare is very much first hand, and I am immensely grateful for this. I now see my children first thing and last thing, and lots in between. These last couple of days we have been playing hide & seek, football (not good for the ego when you are roundly beaten by a 6 year old, although I did have a baby strapped to my front) and junior monopoly. 


I suppose what I'm trying to say is that for me every day is Father's Day. Yes, it is the most challenging of anything I have done and yes, it is physically and mentally exhausting but it is extraordinarily rewarding.


I have something very precious, time with my children and I am getting to watch them grow up, sharing in their ups and downs. I see them lots and it really is brilliant. I don't need a special day to appreciate it or to be thanked. 


So, whilst I wouldn't say no to 'Father's Day, the dream', 'Father's Day, the reality' is pretty good.