My paternity leave has ended. I have been in the privileged position of being able to take time off for the birth and first two months of our new baby girl. But all things must end and this week I had to return to work. I was not looking forward to it.I love my job (I am a television producer/director) but I didn’t want to leave my beloved baby. I was also worried how wifey would cope with no extra pair of hands. Up until now we tag teamed. But now she will be home alone.
On my first day back at work I got up with baby, bathed her, fed her and played with her until it was time to leave. Walking to the tube I had a whole new perspective on going to work. I was now going off to work to earn money to feed my wife and baby. I am now a provider, I thought. I am man. I am part cave man part farmer / miner / fisherman. I am doing what men do. What they have done since the dawn of time. Leaving the family to go off to work, to work hard so they can fill the mouths of their little ones.
The reality is I am a media ponce going off to sit in an edit suite and make tv shows, but on that 7 minute walk to the underground station I felt in tune with my fellow men, my fellow fathers throughout the centuries. I walked proud I walked tall. “Get out the way I have to feed my baby” I wanted to yell as I fought with the tourists and the commuters to get on the train.It was nice to go back to work to see the crew and get my brain working again. But I did miss my baby. I kept sneaking at pics of baby on my laptop and coming over all misty eyed.
I couldn’t wait to come home.
I left early so eager was I to see baby.
I walked in the door, kissed wifey and said hello to baby. She smiled back. And I felt wonderful. “Man has returned. With food and things for his family” I said in my best caveman voice. Not out loud just in my head. This is what life is about, I thought. Man returning home to his family after a hard days work.
After 40 years I have finally become a family man.Full of joy I picked up baby and cuddled her.\r\n\r\nShe looked at me and then started crying. And crying. And screaming. Inconsolable she was.“She must be hungry:” I said.“Don’t think so she was just fed.” says wifey.\r\n\r\nI speak to baby, I rock her, I try and calm her down. But she is having none of it. I reluctantly hand her back to wifey, knowing what will come. And sure enough in wifey’s arms baby immediately stops crying.In that moment my heart is smashed in two.
I go away for 9 hours and already she hates me. I go to bed early, heartbroken.