My inner torment

Why am I writing this blog?

I touched very briefly on this subject at the back end of September on one of my insta posts. Please let me explain more and maybe, just maybe help someone somewhere.

My view

There is a lot posted in various social media about mental health awareness, depression and anxiety. There are special days, weeks and even the odd month dedicated to this illness and yes it should be viewed as an illness.

It’s strange to see this only highlighted at certain times of the year. Please don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great, that this is now an accepted and much talked about subject, my worry is, that it just becomes fashionable.

If you’re reading this then please, try to be aware of the people around you, your close friends and family. If you suspect someone is suffering then get them to talk, if not to you then a doctor. There is no shame in seeking help for ones self.

My own experience

My first trip to the doctor’s came just over 10years ago. I found myself feeling very low for very long periods of time, always tired, a real feeling of low self-esteem. This was new to me, as like many sufferer’s I like to be the life and soul of a party or the centre of attention. So I made my appointment, got the help and medication needed and over the following year I dragged myself back up, up to such a point I was able to be signed of my tablets. So everything was rosey and I moved on.

…………………………..

It was February 2011, unknowingly I was falling in to a dark place. Thirteen months before, my marriage had ended and I was coming to terms with a lot of changes in my life.

Now, this next piece is where I need people to understand how easy it is to slip silently in to a large dark hole called depression, to fall from the radar of everyday life.

Yes, I was down and sad but I just assumed this was the result of my current predicament and I would wake every morning expecting a change in my mood, but it never came. I felt worthless, lonely and a failure.

Then one afternoon I finished work early as I really couldn’t be bothered. I got home and decided I needed a drink, I called in to the local supermarket, brought wine and vodka. My plan was to get drunk very quick and then sleep it off, because I wanted that good place to hurry up and return.

But……

I had for sometime before suffered with a back pain and was given co-proxamol, I used to find a couple of these would make me feel very chilled very quick, they were a very good muscle relaxant.

For some reason I decided it would be a good idea to start taking these while I was drinking that afternoon, to help bring forward this desperate need for euphoria.

The last thing I really remember was a feeling of total worthlessness, maybe the world would be a better place with out me. I felt scared, yet stubborn and compelled to move forward with this alcohol and drug enthused session. I remember crying and trying to type a text to Helen and my daughter. Apparently I had also made some kind of effort to reply to an email from my boss.

Needless to say these texts made no sense to the recipients but done enough to raise alarm bells.

People will say, how can you, what about the people who care for you. Let me tell you, when you are in that place, you just want out.

I was found slumped on our bed by Helen and my daughter, empty bottles and pill wraps scattered around the floor.

As they shook to wake me I rolled over, sending vomit shooting from my mouth like a scene from the excorcist all across the bedroom wall.

The girls say I was falling in and out of sleep so they called an ambulance.

It was when the paramedics arrived that I started to come round and become aware something wasn’t right. I struggled to focus and was confused as to what was going on, why was my daughter there and why did I have a paramedic asking me questions that I could barely understand.

I remember being taken downstairs to the ambulance and seeing the faces of my daughter and youngest son at the time covered with concern.

What had I done, what was happening.

I was shipped off to hospital where I was given the obligatory drip and checked over.

With each passing minute it became clear to me what had happened. I had let the darkness grab me and slowly pull me in.

Fortunately for me that day, I was one stop away from a stomach pump. I was discharged in the early hours and sent home to sleep it off.

…………………………..

You see, I didn’t wake that day planning all this to happen, it just happened.

I was so down and fed up, I should have gone seek help earlier but I let myself sink.

My job at the time was area sales, so I was always having to put on this happy persona for my customers, no one knew my internal struggle.

Helen had noticed changes in and asked me to see the Dr but I was convinced I could sort this myself. I was wrong.

I am not proud of my actions that day and neither am I ashamed.

………………………….

I must admit its been quite therapeutic writing this blog. Not many people no about this, of course a few more will do now.

I’m not ashamed of that day, it only worked to frighten me and make me realise how easy it is to slope in to depression unnoticed.

…………………………

Those that follow my instagram will know that last October I went back to my Dr and started a new course of medication. I saw the signs, read them and sorted it, because I knew where I was heading.

I still have indifferent days, last week was bad for me, Helen was away, the boys were hard work and I just felt so low.

People may knock social media, but it was through this that many on Instagram helped pick me up. Some were quick to notice and offered me some lovely words.

All I wanted was someone to talk with, maybe share a cuppa.

It helps me to write things down, how I feel etc, as a part of all this is paranoia. I worry that people think I am always moaning, being down and miserable. So I feel I need to explain myself, hence this blog I guess.

So last week I wrote how I was feeling on Instagram, but did well to disguise it, check my bio and look down to the picture of Sylvester Stallone. That photo had lots of likes but only a few people scrolled down to see that I was venting. I wanted to talk but didn’t want to bother anyone.

You see, it’s the little signs.

………………………….

So why have I written this blog and laid that part of my life open bare.

If my story can encourage one person to seek help, I’m happy.

If my story can make people aware of others around them that may be suffering, I’m happy.

If you think someone is struggling don’t just take ‘i’m fine’ as their first answer, get them talking, watch them.

I will leave this now, hopefully I haven’t bored you but enlightened you with a first hand story of someone who’s visited that dark place.

………………………….

Please feel free to leave a comment, I would love to hear your feedback.

Come and say hi on Instagram

daddy.day.care62

Or my Facebook page

daddydaycare62.com

I hope to blog again very soon about how we made it in to one of the UK’S leading tabloids

The school summer holidays

Firstly may I just apologise for the delay in getting this blog online. After my last post, mid November, I did say it would be out the following week! All part of my learning curve as a SAHD, don’t promise deadlines while looking after children.

I am keen to her up to date on my journey as ‘daddy day care’ so I can talk about every day life things that either help you as a parent or just down right p####s you off.

Now let me tell you about the summer, particularly the school holidays, or as I like to refer to it ‘the long, long, long hot, hot ,hot summer”.

😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

It was mid July as I was getting over a rather pleasurable World Cup when Helen began her new job.

From March, when Helen went back to work till the start of her new venture, Helen would often leave around 8am and be back in time for the boys bath and bedtime. I guess it was around a half hour journey.

Now though, if I were to say to you, the journey was around 1hr 40mins long and Mummy was all of a sudden leaving around 6.45am and getting home after 7pm, you may start to see the task that lay ahead for this new stay at home daddy.

😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

And so the long hot summer began.

I guess the biggest problem was brought on by myself, I felt I was obliged to get the boys out everyday. I felt we needed to be going places, I was not a good father if I wasn’t doing this. Fortunately after just a couple of weeks a friend asked me what I used to do in my school holidays when I was a lad, did I go out everyday? or away on holiday? This made me stop and think.

When I was younger, my siblings and I were lucky if we had one day down at Ramsgate to visit our Grandparents. We would spend a while in their house before setting off eagerly to the arcades and the beach.

I explained to her, we were lucky to get a one day outing, she asked if it made me a bad person, of course it didn’t. So there it was, I was trying too hard.

I did get out and about with the boys for the odd day here and there.

😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

Our first major outing together was to a place called Sacrewell farm, it was a lovely little place just outside Peterborough with farm animals you could feed, play areas for the kids and a beautiful trail to walk around.

As much as these places are ideal for the little ones, my boys are more interested in running and jumping about than feeding and petting God’s fine creatures.

But we had a good day, we took a picnic and for the best part of the day, the boys behaved and I had achieved my first major outting as daddy day care.

😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

So hands up those who have ever taken their kids to the beach for the day on their own. Well that was a day I shall never forget.

I had been speaking to my eldest sons partner, Vicky, who had been one of my greatest allies through the school holidays, about days out.

Vicky mentioned she was off on a coach trip to a little place called Hunstanton. I thought to myself this would be a great day out for the boys and we would meet them there. I would drive this day as I don’t do coaches, that’s a story for another day.

We arrived at our destination late morning, so I knew the boys would be hungry, made contact with Vicky and headed to the seafront to join her and my two Grand children.

Now as I said earlier, this was one of our hottest ever summers, I at least expect a nice cool sea breeze for the day, but there was nothing.

On the plus side I got the boys down for a paddle, this was the first time in the sea for both boys, just look at Charlie’s face.

We managed to picnic on the side of the promenade while fighting off various wasps, (seriously Lord, why are they on earth), a task I was becoming very good at, sorting picnics I mean not fighting off wasps.

A little after lunch we took off and headed for the little fairground, by now Riley was just wilting, I stopped to buy the boys an ice-cream and turned around to find the day had finally got to the little one

Mummy had agreed to meet us towards the end of the day but work being work, she got there just in time for dinner, a suspect looking meal from the nearest fish & chip shop.

As much as this day was a lovely thought, it was very difficult in practice. I was totally exhausted by the end and to be honest, I couldn’t wait to get home.

😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

The hot month of August became a challenge to try and get the boys out and about. I became quite the google expert at trying to find places to visit.

It also became very apparent very quickly, that Mummy would be staying away from home, sometimes, two or three nights a week.

The week after the seaside trip we already had a lunch booked out for me and Charlie. The local toddler group had arranged a Teddy Bear’s picnic at the home of Judy, a lovely lady who attended the group with the grand daughters.

Again the sun shone and it was a lovely day, Charlie shared his lunch with two favourite bed companions, Wally Wally woof woof and George, both had been with him since his first days 💙.

I tried to keep myself busy and the boys happy over the holidays. It was tough as I hadn’t really got to know anyone around the area in my short time as a SAHD. We would always try and get out most days, even if it was a walk to the local park.

It was during these school holidays that we would try and get Charlie back on the ‘potty training’.

I say again, because the year previous, Charlie had shown quite the interest in the potty approaching his second birthday. Then along came Riley, poor Charlie decided he had enough to contend with without having to start concentrating on where he should be going to the loo.

It was hard work I must say, he was so close last year and now the big man wasn’t really interested. After lots of hard work all round Charlie finally cracked it mid September. We still get the odd accident but then who doesn’t. It makes for an interesting preschool collection, as I gaze through the school gates to see if he is coming out with the same pants he went in wearing that morning.

😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

And so I began to bed myself into the role of ‘daddy day care’ as I like to call it, all the while not realising I was slowly slipping in to a dark and lonely place.

My next blog, which I will post in the New Year, (see I’m learning not to promise early publications) will cover my encounter with depression and anxiety, both past and present. I will say now that I write from personal experience and some content maybe upsetting for some.

What has this got to do with ‘daddy day care?’ a lot, it shows how isolation as a stay at home parent can sometimes bring you down. I really want to share my feelings on this subject, on how easily it can grab you and how to fight it.

With the right love and people around you, most curve balls that life throws at you can be handled.

So until the New Year, may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas

Daddydaycare x

………………………………….

A stay at home parent (continued)

A quick side note if I may

Before I continue with this blog I feel I need to explain a little about my character, for those that dont know me or have missed my profile.

I wear my heart on my sleeve, I write what is real to me, no lies.

My blog is about my life at the moment, I am not trying to sell anything or offer to change lifestyles, it’s about the trials and tribulations of a Father in a predominantly Mother’s world.

For those asking the question, I write on here as it makes me feel in touch with the world. Those who have experienced staying at home with the little ones can relate to that feeling that hits you sometimes of isolation.

So this is all me John, a SAHD

So let’s carry on

Just to finish off from last week’s blog of a ‘stay at home dad’ (SAHD). I would like to add ‘why’ I am the one at home, and a little bit more about the first few months in to this new life role.

So firstly, the why.

Helen had always been honest with me about wanted two children and being the age I am and having been through all this before it took a lot of deliberation and soul searching.

This was never a spur of the moment decision, we spent weeks, months and even a couple of years talking, going through the plus and negative sides to everything.

One of the subjects we discussed during the time was that, if we could afford it, we would want one of us to be a stay at home parent until the children were both at school.

So here I am and as I have mentioned before, taking on the toughest role of my life.

Of course, all this is not without sacrifice, Helen is giving up that chance to be a stay at home Mummy, instead she leaves her boys behind at home to fend for her family. As for me, I have given up that opportunity of being that 56yr old guy who goes to the pub every weekend with the lads and basically do as I please.

…………………………………..

Before I get on to those first few months, let me share with you one of those times in life when you really don’t see the wood for the trees, when the answer is there in front of you. A perfect example of how your head gets completely frazzled when looking after little people……. Also, one of the great parenting questions, when am I supposed to shower when I have these two boys snapping at my ankles all day.

Shower at night, when they’re asleep I hear you shout. This cannot be done as the pump motor is next to the boys room, my shower is the other side of the wall of Riley’s cot, so it would wake them. So naturally you find yourself jumping in the shower when the opportunity arises, Grand parents are around, a friend round for coffee, Mummy is about, I think some of you may get the picture here.

Ok, so it finally dawned on this old brain last week. Please don’t laugh. But in the main bathroom where I have bathed the boys every night for the past eight months is a shower!! It’s right next to the bath!! So yes, I can sit them in the bath and step in to the shower less than two feet away!! All this time I had been so focused on the shower in our ensuite ….. I know right, what a muppet!!

………………………………………

When Helen set back off to work I had four months before the school holidays.

I have added this picture as it was taken just before Mummy went back to work after maternity leave.

In the early days I would often vent on Facebook, you see I didn’t really have any network of friends in my position, not straight away. I remember commenting that if I was having a good day with the boys that there was always the ‘tag team’ of dinner and bathtime waiting around the corner to really mess my day up!

I learned pretty quickly that to survive I had to get out of the house as often as was possible. Initially it felt very daunting, the fact I was having to leave the house on my own with the boys.

Charlie was in preschool back in March, attending Wednesday and Thursday mornings. So I was left with Riley for two mornings a week. It was during this time that I knew, once the summer holidays had come and gone I would be adding Tuesday mornings to Charlie’s preschool time.

You see, when it used to be just Charlie and I attending the local toddler group it was fine. It was just me and him and we could paint, chalk, and play til our hearts were content. Once Riley came in to the equation, a lot of my time was really spent on him and I would watch my old toddler mate, Charlie having to entertain himself at our toddler group mornings. I don’t think Charlie minded too much as he was almost give free reign to attack the biscuit bar!!

It was during this time I decided that Charlie would be better off at his preschool ‘little stars’ on a Tuesday morning. I chatted it over with Mummy and that was put into place after the summer school holidays.

Charlie and Riley soon became thick as thieves when they realised it was just one parent watching them, I tried to stay wise to their moves. Below is a picture of them clearly planning their escape from the living room!

I always make sure I take lots of pictures daily for Mummy and she can often be found on a quiet evening sat on the sofa, glass of prosecco in one had and my phone in the other, catching up on her little boys.

These first few months were educational, an eye opener in the world of a stay at home parent. I had a young baby that insisted on waking pretty much every day around 4.30am and I would do my best to shield Mummy from this, this was my role now and I was determined to make it work.

I guess one of the saving graces was the time of year, it allowed me to get out with the boys, even if it was a walk to the park. Those of you that follow my Instagram will know from pictures and videos it’s one of our favourite pastimes.

This picture is from May when Riley was sporting his new set of wheels, mind you now he’s walking he doesn’t want to know that trike anymore!

……………………………….

So this leads me in to the Summer holidays, a real test of my abilities and I don’t mind saying so, a period of time that almost broke me…..

*Mummy starts a new job

*Mummy away one to two nights a week

*No preschool or toddler group

*Over 6 weeks school holiday

*One of the hottest summers on record

*Potty training

*No help

*A trip to the doctor’s

I will explain all in next week’s blog;

the school summer holidays

Please remember feedback is warmly received, either in the comments box or message me personally.

If you wish to be informed of my next addition there is a place on here to leave your email address and you’ll be notified, thank you.

I hope you have enjoyed this addition. Please bare with me while I try to judge if my offerings are too short or too long. Also I am still feeling my way around the layout of this page. This is why any advice on blogging is more than welcome

Dadddaycare62 x

A stay at home parent

20180928_123224

I have been ‘stay at home dad’, (sahd) now since March this year 2018, although I officially finished work March 2017.

You see, when I told my employer I had intended on leaving that coming Christmas they decided to let me go and pay me for the rest of that year, this way they could get someone else in. I wasn’t going to argue as Riley was due in the June and it would save Mummy being on her own with the two boys until I finally finished in December. So it all worked out well in the end, Mummy and Daddy had a whole year off together before she had to go back to work.

So what do I think of my new venture after 8 months??

After 40 years working, this is by far the hardest ‘job’ I have ever undertaken. It is safe to say I have a new found respect for stay at home parents.

One thing’s for sure, I find myself a man in a woman’s world and it’s safe to say, that I am still adjusting.

One of the reasons for my last paragraph is that of the ‘playdate’. You see, here I am a 56yr old man asking young Mums if they would like to meet up for a cuppa while the children play, it’s been a while since I asked a young lady for her phone number!!

I was fortunate on this one particular occasion back before the school broke for its summer holidays. Charlie had a birthday party some weeks before and so I had the mobile number of one of the mother’s already, she had confirmed attendance to the party for her little man with a text. So on the last day of term I picked up the courage to speak to this lady and asked if she would like to join me and the boys for a ‘playdate’, I explained I still had her number and I would call during the holidays.

So one Tuesday morning I messaged the Mum and asked if they would like to call round the following week, her son is just a few months older than Charlie. By 8pm that night I had not heard anything, I remember turning to Helen and saying, ” oh lord, she thinks I’m some kind of weirdo”, imagine the relief when I got a reply the next morning saying it was a great idea and they looked forward to it. The playdate was a success and we’ve had some more since then.

Fortunately I have a couple of other friends through old employment and have stayed in contact through social media, so I am building my own little network of Mums with kiddies. You see, I don’t know any other stay at home Dads’.

Then of course there is the local ‘toddler’ group, every Tuesday morning. Yes, you guessed it, I’m the only full-time Dad who frequents this village get together. There are some lovely people there, again, it took me a little while to adjust, Riley and I call there when we can.

It’s funny because it was at this toddler group when I first had mother’s saying to me, they wished that I could chat to some of their husbands because of some of the things I was saying.

I was explaining that I never realised how difficult I would find all this, the juggling of everyday routine around two little boys. How tired I would feel, how isolated and how mind numbing it all was.

Helen will often leave for work around 6.30am, not getting home till gone 7pm and more often than not will be away two or three nights a week. This leaves me, breakfast, school run, lunch, dinner, bath and bedtime and that’s if the day runs smoothly. I honestly don’t think many men could handle this, believe me, I just survive some days.

I think back now to how I would get home from work and look forward to a beer and a catch up with my mates on a Friday night, when in fact the mother of my children at the time, way deserved it more then me. Dont get me wrong, I helped around the house, but I had no real appreciation of what was really involved. You see, it’s not until you have led this life of stay at home parenting do you truly understand it.

I will leave this here for the moment as it’s my first real blog and I don’t want to bore people.

I hope you enjoy the read. Please feel free to leave comments and any blogging advice would be greatly received.

Daddydaycare62 x

Me

Just a short paragraph as I learn my way around this page, any fellow bloggers care to offer me blogging advice, please feel free. I will write more as my confidence in this venture grows.

So this is my blog, I promise to keep it honest and at times humorous, after all we all need some laughter in our lives.

I have five children, Kyle, Louise and Bradley from my first marriage, Charlie and Riley from my second marriage to Helen. I also have two Grand children, Skye and Leo, so yes, Charlie and Riley have a niece and nephew older then them.

So now to enjoy the rest of my time off from the little ones, I do miss them though.

Will add more shortly ………..