Ruban's blog: Finding Your Lost Self
I find myself writing this as I sit on the Elizabeth Line on the way to Heathrow Terminal 5, to board a flight to Qatar where I'll see England take on the might of current world champions France on the football pitch. I feel like I should be dancing for joy as I get to experience a footballing gladiatorial battle in the flesh, a few days in the warmth, free from the constant barrage of things which make you wonder why you had children in the first place. However, it's a bit of a pick n mix bag of feelings for me. Guilt is a particularly strong one though it was never put on me by either my wife or children. Should I be entitled to gallivant around the world to watch 22 men kick a football around while my poor wife deals with 2 boys kicking 22 lumps out of each other? (More like 12, we'd never let it get to 22). It is a feeling that appears whenever I do something for myself but it's one that is generated from within me. Are parents not allowed to be themselves?
Remember a time when you were more than just a taxi driver/chef/peace and or hostage negotiator to one or more children? As a smidge of the shininess of having kids wear off as you battle to maintain sanity amidst trying to get to a place of work on time or, do you ever wonder what made you, 'you' before all hell broke loose?
It's a question I have been asking myself amidst a backdrop of a 4-year-old empowering himself through stomping downstairs and a 2-year-old who simply didn't agree with non-Marvel branded items of clothing. It's usually when times are at it's most difficult that we seek answers as to why we chose this journey and who was I before all this? A sense of guilt may force us into believing that we are not allowed to indulge in the simple pleasures that excite or motivate us. However, surely it's healthy for ourselves to feel that happiness now and again? Surely it's healthy for our children to see us as people with our own interests and motivations? I found that it's important that together with our partners (where applicable), we understand what we want to experience in our lives in addition to being a parent. As hard as it may be to logistically make something possible, keeping an open mind, being empathetic and creative can all help someone take time out to reset, recharge, and feel like they are more in touch with themselves. Though the feeling of guilt may surely follow, as it had with me, take time out to think that it's an opportunity for you to come back and be the best version of yourself, as a parent, a spouse, or just an all-round good egg. It's also an opportunity for your partner to appreciate all the things you may do and not know about, though this is not with a view to using as a stick to proverbially beat them over the head with. Most importantly, it needs to be balanced so both of you are taking time for yourselves. So as my train now approaches its final destination, am I feeling more positive about the trip? Sure, but I'd feel better if my wife had a few days for herself. Note to self: book her a holiday.
Ruban is a husband to one amazing wife, father to two wonderful young boys, and a willing slave to all three. When he is not dancing around with a child on his shoulders or ferrying them around on piggyback, he can be seen attempting to kick footballs, save worlds on his Playstation and occasionally audit some things for a lucky City insurance firm.