Woody is now 4 months old, a very clever, happy and cheeky 4 month old. He's starting to get his own little personality now, which is exactly like his mothers...demanding. He's literally changing everyday, every day I come home from work and he's learned a new trick. He can sit unaided, he can stand against furniture, he can't pull himself up yet but he's got plenty of time. He's found his hands, he's interested in toys, he happily plays by himself now which is a weird experience! He loves his tongue and the sound of his own voice, he's a very vocal baby babbling away constantly! The teething war has also started, no teeth yet but a very dribbly baby and I'm surprised Heidi and I still have fingers and no stubs...Thank god for Sophie the Giraffe!! He's just an absolute pleasure and he never fails to amaze us. We've recently started the weaning process too, that's a learning curve for all 3 of us! I'm sure, when we've got our own top tips and tricks I'll blog them, however, we're learning from google and other parents currently haha! Honestly though, he's an absolute pleasure to parent, majority of the time he's such a good and easy baby, he has his moments, of course, generally he's just hungry or he's had his jabs (which are way more horrific than people say they are by the way!) otherwise he's just, so content, he's truly a dream!!
Anyway, that was a little bit off topic, but I could ramble about him all day I really could, but back to the point I was making....
Heidi's maternity leave has ended and she has began her 8 weeks sabbatical before she returns to work at the end of January. Woody being the grand old age of 6 months. And that's the reality. Maternity pay, just doesn't pay. It doesn't even cover the mortgage and bills before the cost of living and before experiencing the luxuries of life, which Heidi and I are fully aware we like to live a semi-expensive life in regards to experiences, holidays and days out etc. We're not willing to change that, why should we?
And that's where the differences show. For me, going back to work after 10 days paternity leave was needless to say, very difficult. I was a new parent and my mind was elsewhere rather than in my work. However, the last 4 months since I've been back at work. Heidi has had an even tougher time than I being basically a full-time single parent while I'm working 50 hour weeks! She has been Woody's primary care giver, as many birth mothers traditionally are. I cannot imagine the overwhelm of mixed emotions Heidi is feeling with her back to work date looming! I think the common misconception is that maternity leave or stay-at-home or single parenting is just lounging around all day with the baby, and as we all know, babies are the biggest time wasters, but in actual fact, when I have a day off work and just want a day of nothingness, I see how much Heidi really does! I might come home to an untidy house, but what I don't see when I'm at work all day, is that she's cleaned the house, tidied up 20 times, done 5 loads of washing, walked the dog and got the dinner on before I get home as well as feeding/changing/soothing/playing and caring for our son....We are all guilty of under appreciating a primary parents role, me included, I know I don't tell Heidi how much I appreciate what she does for us enough, and a simple Thank You just doesn't cut it! It's already a done deal that if anything ever happens to Heidi (which god forbid it doesn't) then Woody and I are moving in with Heidi's mum!! I couldn't live without her, don't get me wrong she's a ginger she's bloody difficult to live with, but that's who she is, that's who I married, and that's the woman who has changed her whole life to carry and care for our son and I really don't think I could have chosen a better person!
Heidi is a Business Manager, she's climbed her way up the career ladder for the last 15 years, which was previously one of the most important things in her life. Since falling pregnant, her priorities have quite obviously changed, as have mine. I have always been very career driven, I love stress and if there isn't any stress I'll make some and that's just me. Heidi's done her time working 70 hour weeks throwing her life into her career and it's time for her to take a step back and enjoy the next chapter of our life. Heidi is the 'breadwinner' in our household, and it agitates me so much! I want to be the breadwinner, not because I'm greedy or money orientated, but because I want to provide for my family. I want to get to a comfortable enough position where I can afford for us to live, not survive but actually live and make memories. I want to get to a position where Heidi can go and get a little part-time job or a 9-5 Monday to Friday job, not because she has to but for her own sanity and social life and for a bit of extra cash for life's luxuries or savings or something! I want to show Woody how his future spouse and children should be looked after. That's my dream! So I made a huge decision and left a job I really enjoyed, in fact, I actually loved it but it had no progression and I have accepted a job in a company that's growing exponentially and progression is there and waiting if you want and work hard for it! Me making that move, and taking that pay rise means Heidi can afford to drop a day when she goes back to work and have an extra day at home with Woody. It's not massive, but it's a start. It's not going to soften the blow of going back to work for Heidi, and we both work in retail management so get to endure shift patterns and business needs, but it just means the time we get off we'll have to spend wisely.
So, I guess, the next time someone asks me 'Who's the man?" or "Who's the Daddy?" I should simply reply with, I am. Heidi's priority is Woody, as is mine, but her's is on a maternal level, she is his mum, she has tunnel vision and is slightly obsessive when it comes to him, his wants, needs and best interests. I'm not by any means saying that's not important for me, because it is, but I think the maternal/paternal instincts, even in a homosexual marriage is becoming prevalent. I know Woody is well looked after with Heidi and even when he's in childcare he's going to Heidi's mums childcare group, so I'm not even a little bit worried about whether or not he's getting the best care because I know, without a shadow of doubt he is. My priority is to provide for our family, and traditionally, I guess that's a man's role.
So after all the shits and giggles surrounding Heidi's Grandad not understanding our situation, he was right. I am Mr. Palfrey! :)