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Our anonymous dad blogger tackles some of the challenges facing us fathers. This week, he’s asking himself, “Who am I?”
I’ve spent a lot of time with my children over the past two years. There was the hell that was lockdown of course and then the fact I’ve been spending more on my office life at home due to hybrid working.
And I’m not complaining (much) – my kids are amazing. But we just got back from Disneyland Paris. My youngest had never left England before and despite the pre-holiday fear about actors wearing costumes and people on stilts (!), we had a brilliant time. It’ll probably take me until about 2035 to pay it off, but there we go.
When we got back, my wife and I talked about how much enjoyed it.
“It worked because it was a holiday dedicated to the children,” she said. “When you have young kids, your holidays are all about them, however much you want to read a book by the pool. That’s why Disneyland is good.”
She’s right, of course. Despite the queuing. It even offset the fact that we all shared a room. Now normally sharing a hotel room with your kids on holiday is weird. It means you are NEVER away from them. And you have to go to bed at the same time. At Disneyland that doesn’t matter as much – our oldest used to do a big reveal via her Fitbit about how many steps we’d done every day and it was always a staggering amount. So we were all knackered. I didn’t mind going to bed at nine every night.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I was never away from the children. Every hour was defined by them.
This isn’t normal. One of the hardest things I’ve dealt with since March 2020 is that my life has rarely felt like my own. Carving out an identity as a parent away from your kids is hard enough, but throw the pandemic into the mix and I sometimes feel like I don’t know who I am when I’m not being ‘Dad’.
So this is my goal this summer – my #HotDadvitoSummer if you want to get all TikTok about it. Take time for myself, figure out who I am now. Try and carve through the chaotic blur my life has been for the past 800-odd days to establish who I am, what I want and how I want to get it. As a human being, not just as a father.
Finding myself, if you want to get cheesy about it. And if that isn’t something Walt Disney would celebrate, I don’t know what is.