It's a hard thing to try explaining, that mild depressing feeling every time you walk out of the door in the morning and toddle off to work. That goodbye at the door, or above the cot, that knowledge that something new will happen today and you will miss it, forever left without it but to be cherished by another.
There's guilt in there, that your wife or partner is left alone to deal with the nappies and the crying and the feeding and you're not there to give them a hand. It no longer feels like a partnership, it feels like two planets orbiting the same tiny ray of sunshine. Occasionally gravity will brush them close together but usually they're trapped in their own patch of lonely space. "You do that job, I'll do this job. When you come home you can hold her while I do this". "We" seems more and more a word that is only assigned to Royals.
And then there's the sadness, the sense of missing out, of losing those precious moments to bond while they're still getting use to the world. And not just with the baby but with your partner too. Often the evenings would be times to hug together but now there's something in the way and you know they feel the same way too but both are just as helpless as an infant.
Oh yes there are moments, there are weekends for a start, although they are mostly for regathering energy. Plus there is still the food shopping, the cooking for the following week, the cleaning for which there is no longer any time in the week...Oh yes there are the evenings, where babies, much like adults, are not quite at their best. They are tired and cranky and aren't really up for peek-a-boo. They just want to feed and cry and sleep and wind down for the night to be brighter rising the following day....And oh yes there are mornings, grabbed between a scurried look at the clock and a mouthful of breakfast, yoghurt in your beard, getting yourself ready for the demands of another day away from home.
Maybe I am complaining, or maybe these aren't quite the right words to express how I feel as a father, trapped in the expectations of being male and going off to work. How dearly I would love to have a few months to get used to having a new identity. The most scary thing is that when I am at work I forget what I have at home. Not because work is so engrossing, but that it allows me to spend so much more time in my old life that the new one just feels like a dream.
I don't want it to be a dream, I want it to be a constant, living reality. I want more time with my family.