Once upon a time, a young man in his twenties spent a lot of his spare time at rehearsals for amateur dramatics shows, down the pub with his friends, or playing video games. This young man had what he felt was a pretty good life – a good balance between work and play. He was a singer in a band, he read books and comics, and he liked a drink or two.
Then, one sunny day in 2009, he got married. This was nothing negative. People got married all the time, and although divorce rates had never been higher, nothing could have been further from his mind! Nothing much changed during this first year of marriage, although (for various, unrelated reasons) the band went on hiatus and eventually split.
The turning point came in mid-2010, when the young man and his Darling Wife became expectant parents. Even at this point, there was nothing much different about the way they went about their lives, but the young man’s primary shopping locations went from being predominantly HMV, Game and CEX, to John Lewis, Babies R Us and Mothercare, none of which sold Halo video games or Bones on DVD. A significant amount of time was also spent browsing through catalogues and websites for baby clothes/toys/furniture/bedding.
Cherub #1 arrived in Spring 2011. Wills and Kate had just got married, Britain was experiencing an atypically warm spell, and ‘Party Rock Anthem’ by LMFAO (you know, the embarrassing dance track from The Inbetweeners movie) was #1 in the UK charts.
After his arrival, there was little time left for video games or socialising. The young man (me, surprisingly!) had a job which took up the majority of my days, and a wife and child that took up the remainder of my time at home. The saddest thing about being a working father is the amount of time with the family lost to the job or to travel (but that is a gripe for another post).
Everything has its place though, and once a routine had been worked out with #1 that freed up some of our time, it became easier to reintroduce certain pastimes that had been shelved. Out came the Xbox and out came Halo: Reach. I could once again join in the fight for humanity! On rare occasions, #1 would sit on my lap happily pressing buttons on the controller, causing me to lob grenades at my team mates and constantly enter and exit vehicles at very inopportune moments in the heat of battle! Bless him!
But this reprieve was short lived. Cherub #2 came along in short order. As for that routine? It was a case of ‘find the nearest window and throw it out’!
It’s been just over 10 months since Bubba Pink arrived, but I have again found time to save humanity, win the Spanish La Liga, and finish watching the first season of Person of Interest. Not bad for 10 months with two demanding children. Being out of work for 5 months has given me more time with them, but also allowed me extra ‘ME time’ when Darling Wife takes the children out for a few hours.
I was, and still am, happy and thrilled to be a father. #1 is an awesome little boy, and #2 a chilled out baby girl. They can be difficult sometimes, but then what children aren’t – as I am sure Wills and Kate will find out soon enough.
And congratulations to them too, by the way. Y’know, Alexander is a great name…but it should have come first!