Can you believe that we are already a few weeks into 2021?! It has been very nice to have routine back in our lives. We have all needed it and Little Man certainly more than most. December seemed to come and go in a flash and we had a lovely festive season and New Year. However now looking back, it really was a lot for us all to take in. It’s strange as before parenting we enjoyed no routine whatsoever at Christmas, however for obvious reasons this all changed and we soon realised exactly how important routine is!
We are approaching the halfway point in January and Little Man is back at nursery and recently started Forest School. This step up in routine has been lovely for us all and we consider this step up important to prepare him for school. Despite now being in Lockdown 3.0 (Oh my lord….will it ever end?!), we are hopeful this year brings many positives. Now Little Man and his routine is a littler busier, I (Daddy) feel it’s the right time to return to work. We originally planned for a year away from work, but as Little Man has settled so well we feel this is the right time to have some normality back.
You may be thinking why this blog is entitled, Losing Your Identity? Well we shall now explain why, so do stick around.
We have been parents to Little Man for 6 months now and we would not change that for the world. We both have a strong sense of identity and this is something which all prospective adopters openly discuss in their Stage 2 assessment. Essentially, we all know what makes us the people we are today. Whether that be a hobby, books you enjoy reading, music you like, countries you have travelled to and your upbringing, to name but a few. The list is endless. However what I didn’t expect with being a new parent (and not all parents do, I hasten to add) is the feeling that I lost part of my identity and who I was.
I am Daddy 24/7 (and of course, always will be). However I also like being me, Sam. I like being a Son, Brother, friend and work colleague. After coming away from my full-time job in June last year and finally becoming a Daddy, after a few months I started to lose sight of who I was. My days are full of making decisions about Little Man and what his day looks like. He is my world, but I also miss having a part of me that I would be able to switch back to and use another part of my brain that isn’t ‘Daddy’. I needed to feel like the same old me, but now just a different version of that. So with that and now that Little Man has settled so well, I made the decision to head back to work, albeit now part-time.
I know it may be a struggle to balance being Daddy and Sam, but now is the right time for that to happen. I have more time now Little Man is at nursery and Forest School. After a year of no normality, it feels the perfect time to have some back in our lives!
We would encourage all parents to seek and make time for yourself as much as you can - and to not feel guilty for doing so. As our Health Visitor said to us recently, “You were a couple before he came along, and you’ll always be a couple”. It struck a chord in us that we maybe hadn’t realised. We put everything into family life since last Summer when our family was created, but before that we were a couple too. Once these lockdowns are over we have soooo much planned for us and as a family too of course!
Finally - please do not be afraid to talk about feeling as though you may have lost some of your identity. Every person and parent I have spoken to instantly agreed and could relate to how I was feeling. Parenthood changes us, but before parenthood there is you. 2021 we hope will be a busy year, but just like all other parents out there, we will juggle parenthood and our working lives to give Little Man all that we can.