From something I mentioned in my last post, one of the things that people do not realize about having kids is that for the majority of companies, paternal time off is non-existent. Maternity leave has recently become the norm, with some companies allowing up to a year off. However for men, it is very difficult to actually find a company that will give the father time off. That is why especially in the first 6 months, it is very difficult to actually get any work done. Now there is the obvious reason that a child keeps you up and to be honest keeps you very distracted, but there are a number of reasons that extend beyond a lack of sleep that stops you from actually getting work done day to day. There are a number of issues like actually trying to balance the working and personal life, but also the lack of motivation that a lot of people experience once the child is actually born.
For whatever reason I personally experienced a huge lack of motivation and focus after my child was born because I was so distracted by what was going on at home. I also just felt as if my life priorities changed temporarily which can really put you out of the working zone for the first few months especially. There were a number of times throughout the first few months that I had a deadline to complete that I couldn’t focus on or try to organize my time correctly to do it efficiently. I just couldn’t find myself getting those deadlines done in time without staying up at late nights right before it was actually supposed to be done. It sounds ridiculous because this wasn’t actually because of the kids taking up all of my time. It was because I felt I had to focus on my family for the first few months and support my partner as well as make sure that the kids were taken care of as well. I felt as if work could and should come second even though it actually allowed us to be in such a position to have kids and actually feed them.
I also found myself not even being able to concentrate on the simplest of tasks day to day because of a lack of motivation. I once had a week to write 2000 words, and somehow managed to delay the whole process to only getting it done on the weekend. The problem is, is that it realistically takes about 2 hours of actually concentrating to get that done, but I just couldn’t bring myself to actually sit down and focus. I remember looking back on it that I was thinking about a hundred and one other things at the time instead like if the kids are asleep, and if they aren’t asleep do they need feeding, or does my partner need anything and should I check up on her. These little thoughts that while obviously important ended up fogging my mind day to day and actually prevented me from doing any work.
The truth is though that upon reflection I have realized that none of that was about the kids being that much of a nuisance or my partner being incapable. It was about myself, and not being able to process having kids and my life changing so such a large extent in such a short space of time. I don’t think I properly prepared myself for the challenge ahead and it is actually pretty ridiculous that I wasn’t fired for being so lazy. But in a way it also gave me a new look and perspective on my professional life and how to balance it with my working life. It also made me realise that I actually need to be more of a self-motivator since you do not have anyone to hold your hand throughout your working day. You need to ensure that while you also prioritise your family, your professional life should actually come first during 9AM – 5PM because that is actually what allows you the freedom to have children.