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Ummm! What should I do now?

As the UK’s “mental health” week draws to a close, I wonder if there are more Dads out there like me?

Having married young we decided to have kids within a couple of years – net result, I’m now in my early forties and my kids are grown up – 18 and 16!

One’s off to Uni in September and the other is a typical 16 year old who’s never in. So, given that lots of guys my age are still changing nappies, enjoying playful bath-times and pushing swings – oh and enjoying the fruits of this in the form of that fabulous cry of “daddy, daddy” that comes with the charge up the hallway of the little rugrats, upon returning home – I ask myself the question, “what do I do now?”

I link this to mental health week as I can certainly feel the tension of one son leaving home and the other desperate for a motorbike (more worry there then!) as this will bring about a significant change in my life which has been expected but nonetheless has come round really quickly.

Sure there are many fab times we enjoy together and the guys have definitely become my great mates as well as the things I am most proud of and feel I’ve succeeded in. They don’t do drugs, drink or smoke. They’ve never got into trouble, broken windows or vandalised anything. They speak well, are well educated, have great moral and ethical values, dress well and are both very popular with little, if any, confidence issues – they have great futures ahead of them, and I can see the “green shoots” of their independent lives pushing firmly through the soil of family life now!

But what about me? I have plenty more energy, more stories to read and I never did finish the third series of Postman Pat videos!  I really miss walking down the road holding their hands, supervising road crossings and those school gate hugs that weren’t embarrasing or “uncool”. This has instead been replaced by an overwhelming sense of pride and achievement when I walk shoulder to shoulder with these two bright, good looking young men that have the world in front of them.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not broody or looking for those long dark nights of midnight feeds again (definitely not!), but this significant change has made me realise that the issues I’ve been feeling of late about lack of purpose etc could be as a result of realising that my time as provider, hunter, farmer, pillar of security and stability are coming to a close.

So, what do I do now that everything is taking on a new meaning? So, in a similar psychological way to people getting the “baby blues” (without the hormonal imbalances obviously) I believe there is such a thing as “Post Daddy Depression”. This is not helped when you’re a soppy sod like me who clings on to the past and worries for everyone else.

Sure I’ve got so much to be grateful for and some would say I’m just feeling sorry for myself (probably a bit), but equally there is still a feeling of a hole opening up (well more of a blank space really).

Anyway, off to open a fresh box of tissues (or tooeys as our eldest used to call them when he was a toddler) and pile into a PS3 game with Son #2.

Every opportunity counts now!

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  1. May 18th, 2009 at 10:39 | #1

    This is a great post. Brilliant finding another soppy sod!

    I’m a fairly new dad – daughter of 2.5yrs and a son of 2 months and love every minute of it. So much in fact that leaving the house in the morning can be unbearable. I’m lucky that my business allows me as much flexibility as the current climate allows, but I am struggling to be fair. Great to see it never gets any easier! Sort of.

  2. May 18th, 2009 at 22:45 | #2

    Eddie, thanks for your kind words. No it doesn’t get any easier, I think the worrying just intensifies for different reasons – but it’s nice going on holiday and leaving them at home though!! But great to come back too. For me the current climate means a good bit of spare time over the next few months – time I’ll devote to things that are more important that money! Love them and hug them whenever you can! I got told tonight I was a great Dad for teaching him to drive – hoorah, a success! Keep in touch.

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