Adjusting to Life as a Parent and as a Teacher

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”
– Attributed to Viggo Mortensen

Welcome back to Term Four, the downhill run of the school year and what I am discovering on Stage Three is an incredibly busy time. I have not written an article for some time for a huge variety of reasons. The primary reason, of course, being my amazing now eight-week-old daughter. She arrived on August 25, at the end of week six of term three. The timing could not have been better. I took four weeks off which lead into the two weeks of school holidays and thus was able to spend the first six weeks of my daughter’s life being there. I became incredibly used to spending time on the couch at four in the morning with her sleeping soundly on my chest after an hour of crying, or having had a feed but not wanting to go back to sleep.

I will be honest. I did not want to return to school for term four.

It has not, as any parent can attest to, been easy. It has been very tough at various points and Mrs C21 and I have battled through the lack of sleep, the incessant worrying, the fear that we had done something when she was diagnosed with developmental hip displaysia, the frustration and resentment and anger when we could not settle her down after two hours of hysterical crying and the worry about returning to work and not being able to support Mrs C21 and Youngling as I return to work full-time (my job share partner has gone off on maternity leave herself!). There have, truth be told, been times where I have wanted to put my daughter down and walk away. You can only take hysterical crying at two in the morning for so long before it gets under your skin and you are crying yourself with a mixture of each of the neutral and negative emotions. But as a team, Mrs C21 and I got through it. She is a rock, though she does not see it, and is far stronger than she gives herself credit for.


It has been a stressful return to school and there are so many interruptions to the week it is amazing anything is achieved and I am finding that to be incredibly stressful. I took some maths diagnostic tests home to mark on the weekend, something I could do while Audrey slept in the ring sling on my chest so that Mrs C21 could go out and have some time out from being a mother. I got my marking completed, but it took the whole day. Mrs C21’s mobile phone stopped working last week, so a new one was in order. She asked if I wanted to go out with her (I had literally not left the house since arriving home on Friday at this point) and I responded with I need to get x and y done, sorry. 

It was a powerful moment for me.

My wife wanted to go out and spend some time with me, something we are finding difficult to do now that school has returned, on a Sunday afternoon and I said no. There was a moment of disappointment and hurt and I realised that I was falling into the trap of burying myself in work, in I need to get x done. I felt horrible for being the cause of that and realised that I was falling into the trap of just burying myself in work. As a teenager, I had a friend with a father who did that and it destroyed the marriage and his relationship with the children. I do not want to be that kind of father.


I was two minds while I was on paternity leave. One part of me was excited by the prospect of the time off and the thought of how much I would be able to achieve vis-a-vis planning, programming and developing of resources. Another part of me wanted to completely disconnect with work and just focus on my daughter and my wife. In the end, I got nothing done for school until the second week of the school holidays. Part of me resents teaching for taking away even that small part of the precious time with Youngling. Part of me wants to resent Youngling for taking away from what could have been such a productive time.

As teachers, we often put our students before everything else. I know that my personality is the type that will do that without even realising. However, family comes first. Specifically, my family comes first; before my students and before anything else to do with school.

I do not know how often I will be posting now, certainly not every day as I was doing. I do have some other, positive news to share and a range of other things I wish to write about. However, my priorities have shifted slightly and I need to rebalance myself accordingly.

FTPL – Multi Visibility

In this episode of Flipped Teacher Professional Learning, I show a very easy to use but useful function for Google Drive that I call Multi Visibility (If it has an actual name, please let me know) that allows you to have a single copy of a document visible in multiple folders. The reason this is so useful as a function is that changes you make to the file are reflected across all versions.

Becoming a Father and Considering the future

I love every minute of fatherhood, staying up all night, changing nappies, kids crying, I find it really funny and inspiring. It connects you to the world in a new way.
-Attributed to Elton John

Dad’s….what has been your favourite moment so far of being a dad?

As my regular readers would be aware by now, recently, Mrs C21 gave birth to our first child, a healthy and amazing baby girl we named Audrey. Last night was our first night at home on our own which was rather scary and nerve-wracking, but we managed. This article is only semi-organised, written on what feels like very little sleep. As I sit here on the couch, with Mrs C21 dozing in her feeding chair and Audrey asleep in the bassinet next to her, I have time to reflect on these first few days of fatherhood.

It is, without a doubt, the most amazing experience to hear the first cry of your child as it is born and I am not ashamed to admit that I wept tears of complete and utter overwhelming joy and relief when I heard her cry that first time. The prospect of having a child, until then a fairly abstract concept, very suddenly became real. I had been a little blase about a lot of things during the pregnancy, by virtue of having a seven year age gap between myself and the first of my three younger siblings, but I suddenly realised, or rather, understood, just how much I had to learn still.

I am incredibly thankful for the parental leave provisions available which mean that I am able to be at home learning how to adult, bonding with Audrey, helping Mrs C21 recover from giving birth and being able to be here to help Mrs C21 cope with learning how to be a mother. I could not imagine having to back to work and teach on Monday, leaving a tired and stressed wife and new mother alone. Whilst the midwives in our hospital were, overall, fantastic, it is my job (I believe) to be there to shoulder my share of the burden of raising this new child.

It has changed my relationship with my students as well. This term has been a tough one with a lot going on in the Stage and I had felt like I was trying to swim against the tide for the last few weeks. When I got the call to go to the hospital, my class went bonkers. I cannot think of any other way of putting it

An understated representation of my students’ reactions when they found I was going to the hospital.

I headed to school this morning for a meeting and was spotted by some of my students who, again, went bonkers. The teacher who is taking my class while I am on leave is actually someone I completed my initial teacher education with. This afternoon, having seen both her and some of my students while at school this meeting, she sent me a photo of some of the work my students had completed this afternoon; some acrostic poems with either Audrey,  New Life, Awesome Dad or Congrats as the spine which both Mrs C21 and I found incredibly touching.

It would be very easy to completely spam my social media accounts with photos of  Audrey as Mrs C21 and I have taken a crazy amount of photos, and we did post a few photos over the first few days. Mrs C21 and I had a number of conversations about that topic during the pregnancy, however, and how many photos and what type of photos we were going to post in the public domain and came to a decision to limit what we would post.There are a few reasons for this, but the primary reason is out of respect for Audrey’s privacy. We are taking a bucketload of photos but are only posting a select few and are storing the rest to allow Audrey to make a decision when she is old enough to understand, whether she wants the photos of her naked for her first bath, or the birth itself and any number of other photos that we have taken and will take over the years to capture various moments.

That is all I have time for at the moment, as Audrey is asking for cuddles from Daddy. I understand more, now, why my dad was so anxious, and worried about every noise and movement my younger brother made…or did not make for that matter. Thank you for reading this marginally coherent and organised article. For

And then there were three…

Children are the bridge to heaven.
– Persian saying

For some time now, Mrs C21 and I have been on tenterhooks waiting for our firstborn to decide to arrive. I got the call on Wednesday afternoon just after lunch time that I should go, much to the delight of my students who went a little bit crazy. Audrey May was born at 1245 on Thursday 25th August, screaming her lungs out (they work just fine!), weighing 3.48kg (7lb 10oz) and measuring 49cm long. She has been a gorgeous little thing and seems relatively well-settled so far as well.


I will be taking the remainder of the term off to learn how to be a real adult and spend some time getting to know my new daughter.