How I Juggle Life as a Freelance Writing Husband and Dad of a Toddler
March 9, 2015
by Simon Gornick
The word “help!” is never far from your lips when you’re with a toddler. New parents think dealing with an infant is tough, and it is, but…
Toddlers are relentless.
My wife was working full time, and I was a stay-at-home dad trying to juggle the kids and my freelance writing work. Of course, “juggle” suggests there was some equilibrium between the two, but that’s not true. Nothing gets in the way of creative thinking quite like your two-year old’s decision to eat something unidentifiable off the kitchen floor.
You’re hardwired to prevent problems before they start, and to protect, serve and nurture your toddler whatever they do. My mind was constantly multi-tasking. There was the part of me always assessing my son’s safety. Was he headed towards something that he shouldn’t eat or explore? Then there was the part that constantly had to monitor my own communication with Louis. Don’t shout, talk gently, but firmly when he’s out of line. Engage, play, teach, keep it simple at all other times. Another slice of my consciousness was dedicated to anything to do with diapers and potty training. There were other segments too mainly to do with food and chasing him around the park. Finally, there was the piece of me that just loved him with a permanent slight smile on my face. That was the best part.
It’s easier to love when you’re not overwhelmed.
So the key takeaway is this: Don’t panic. Stay calm and remember that just about every problem has a simple solution. With the right amount of practice, things run a little more smoothly. In my case, I became a parenting pro under the guidance of my family and friends (I had a big mom network to turn to for advice). Of course, there were always wild-card moments when Louis stumbled out of sight for a few seconds in the mall, or tumbled down during one of his sister’s playdates. But from the moment he started walking (which is when the fun really began!) to the emotional day when he went off to preschool, my wife and I were able to watch him blossom into a smart, sweet, charming boy, and feel like proud and happy parents. We still feel like that today!
Bringing up a toddler is a 24/7 job which in many cases, does not leave much time for the rest of your life.
Your other responsibilities don’t conveniently evaporate unless you’re lucky enough to have someone else to handle day-to-day tasks for you while you’re trying to get your toddler to at least keep his food on his tray. In other words, you still have to get the bills paid even if you’d rather just take a nap with your kid. Every parent of a toddler whines and complains, (I was up there with the best of them) because “juggling” the world of your toddler with the world of everything else isn’t easy. Just like in every other part of life, it’s a quest for balance.
There were good days and bad days, but through it all, the funny thing is, we managed it.