James's blog: We are all superheroes

A few weeks ago I was walking my daughter to school when someone stuck in the voluminous local traffic wound down their window to shout something to us. At the time, my daughter was on my shoulders and we were playing one of our favourite games seeing how many of the drivers we passed would wave back at us. “I see you most days walking your daughter to school”, he said, “and she always looks so happy.” Then he turned to my daughter and said, “You’ve got a brilliant Dad.” This man happened to catch me on a difficult day; I was having a tough time at work and we were running late for school (which in turn was going to make me late for work). His words meant an awful lot to me, and made me realise that, compared with earlier life where I had always felt like I was achieving a lot, it had been quite some time since I had received some praise.

I’m not sharing this to suggest that I am a perfect Dad. I know that I am far from it. Sometimes I lose my temper with my daughter. Sometimes I’m busy on work calls or replying to work e-mails when I should be focusing on her. And I’m pretty sure that I could start getting my daughter ready for bed straight after breakfast and still not have her in bed on time!

The reason I’m sharing this is because I think we should all be a bit kinder to ourselves, and our fellow CityParents, in recognising what a brilliant job we are doing.

Myself and many other CityParents that I speak to often feel that we are not achieving in the same way that we used to before we had children. We feel like we’re not performing in our jobs as well as we should. We feel like we’re not giving our children as much attention as we should. We feel that we’re doing things adequately at best. This is probably an uncomfortable position to be in for many. We tend to focus on the mistakes we make; the shortcomings, the balls we’ve dropped. The school letter we failed to read which means our daughter didn’t have the right footwear for PE. The school concert we couldn’t get home from work in time to see. The work meeting we had to miss because our child was unwell and we had to stay at home to look after them.

But we need to change our mindsets. There are often far more things that we are doing well at than we realise. Reflecting on the kind words of the driver that morning, I had previously thought of doing the school run merely as a functional thing. Without realising it, however, it allows me to spend quality time with my daughter, and makes her happy as well. I’m sure that there are numerous things that we are all doing well without even realising. It can be difficult working in the City. It can be difficult being a parent. It can be extremely difficult working in the City while also being a parent. And yet we’re all doing it. And we’re all doing it well. So, we should be prouder of what we’re achieving without even realising. We are all superheroes!

James and his wife are both lawyers in the City. Both work part time to try to juggle school pick ups for their young daughter.

Category: A Cityfather's Diary

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