Never have B and I related so much to what two parents have said before. Wes and Amy are my featured guests on In Conversation With this week and they have an amazing blog at The Mighty Duxburys. Their honesty and openess on how quickly life changes when little ones come along is refreshing. Gone are the long lazy days and by this stage none of us can remember what we did with all of that free time. But how we crave it and miss it. And how we wouldn’t swap our lives now for anything. I love that in this interview both Wes and Amy have given their answers. They make a great team and I highly recommend you check out their blog which is one of my absolute favourites. Read on to see what Wes and Amy have to say about being Momma and Papa Bear.
How many children do you have?
Wes: Just one. But he’s the best one.
Amy: And before my mother asks, no, we aren’t planning another one any time soon.
Are you a working parent, stay at home parent or work from home parent?
Wes: A working parent. Stay at home parenting sounds amazing but we’re not yet rich enough for either of us to do that. I’ve no idea how you could be a work from home parent. I either wouldn’t be working, or wouldn’t be parenting. I can’t be trusted.
Amy: I’m working full time as a solicitor meaning the boy spends more time than I’d like at nursery (don’t get me wrong, he loves it. I just miss him). We always said that if one of us makes a decent wage, the other one can quit. Doesn’t look likely at the minute though!
What are the most challenging aspects of managing your career/blog life and your family?
Wes: Dealing with my, and our, lack of free time. I have to work, I’ll moan about it but I’ll not stop it until retirement is a reality. I love my family, and I wouldn’t wish for time away from Short Rib even if I was granted 1000 wishes. But it IS hard being in a permanent state of working, or parenting. I miss being able to come home after a hard day, throwing a game or a show on and ignoring the world until I’ve gotten over my sulk. Now there are nappies, and teatime, and playtime, and comforting, and bedtime before any of that. And if that routine needs to include some shopping or something – double difficulty activated!
Amy: I’m not sure I am managing it as well as I could. I’m a bit of a scatterbrain, so I’ll be sat in work and all of a sudden I have to scribble down a blog idea or I’ll be in the middle of something and then think “Oh, I wonder if the weather will be good enough to head to the zoo this weekend?” – trying to fit it all in and not go insane from the almost complete lack of “free” time (i.e. time to do nothing at all).
How do you overcome these challenges?
Wes: I enjoy my time with Amy and Short Rib. There’s not really anything else I can do. I don’t resent it one bit, it’s just a stark contrast to life before offspring. What makes it easiest is looking forward to the things that are going to come. Short Rib now walks, which will introduce a whole new dimension to our playtime together, with park visits, aquariums, the zoo, even just playing with a ball. It’s gonna be a blast.
Amy: Just pack as much in as we can and think “We’ll sleep when he’s eighteen”. We’re pretty blessed with some awesome places to go and visit around us so we’re never short of awesome things to do and we try and get out there with him as much as we can. Even when we don’t go anywhere, we’ll just regress into our inner toddler and do ridiculous things to keep him smiling.
What do you do in order to maintain a healthy balance between work and family?
Wes: I don’t take work too seriously. I want to earn enough for us to be ‘more than’ comfortable. That’s my motivation. But I won’t step over that goal into the realm of prioritising work. My career enables my family life, the moment it takes it over, or is detrimental, then it’s scaled back.
Amy: My job is my job and I work hard whilst I’m there, but I switch off my desk phone and computer at 5:30pm and that is it. No messing around with e-mails whilst I’m at home, no bringing it home with me (unless I absolutely must, but that’s rare) and it doesn’t come back on again til 9:00am. When I’m not in work, all of my time and energy is dedicated to Wes and Short Rib. There are no real exceptions to that rule.
What is the best part about being a parent?
Wes: Soon I’ll be able to fit him through catflaps so we can steal people’s car keys together. I kid, I kid. The best part is having something, someone, to be eternally proud of. I’ve done some good stuff in my time, had some achievements, but none of them come close to how proud I feel of him. It’s humbling.
Amy: Oh man, so much. Before he was here, I really couldn’t comprehend how much you could possibly love a tiny human that can’t talk, couldn’t walk until recently… but now I just get so excited when we find something he enjoys. How amazed I am watching him grow before our very eyes from this tiny baby to a proper little boy will never, ever get old. When all of that overwhelming love and admiration just clicks, that is the best thing about being a parent.
Do you think its easier or harder to be a parent now than when you were being raised?
Wes: I think it’s easier now. There’s a wealth of information shared online, gadgets to use, working from home opportunities, tablets to entertain, medicine to administer and so on. We live in a golden age.
Amy: Definitely much easier. Our house is packed with so much stuff for him, there’s not really many situations that today’s technology hasn’t prepared us for. The internet is the main thing – how on earth parents kept their kids entertained before Youtube, I have no clue.
What is your biggest fear as a parent?
Wes: Short Rib being harmed. It’s obvious, but I’m terrified of it.
Amy: I’m fairly sure this is ever parent’s biggest fear? Genuinely struggling to come up with anything else.
What is the one thing you would have done differently as a new parent?
Wes: Not set expectations. I had milestones in mind, with dates, and Short Rib decided to be lazy and miss a few. Missed his walking by a whole month! I don’t mind, at all, but I’d publicised these self proclaimed deadlines and then had to field the questions when they came in. Just let them do their thing, in the end it doesn’t really matter as long as they’re well and happy.
Amy: Oh crikey. I think really, in an ideal world, I wouldn’t have gone back to work so early. I certainly wouldn’t have taken a full year off, but to leave him at just eight weeks was crap. I don’t think it’s something I’ll regret forever, but I’d have loved a couple more months with him before having to send him off to nursery.
If you could share one piece of advice to other soon-to-be parents, what would it be?
Wes: Do what feels right, from a parenting point of view. Accept the advice you think sounds helpful, graciously listen to but don’t act on advice that doesn’t suit. But most of all, just accept that advice and judgements and opinions do exist, and will continue to exist ‘in your direction’ when you’re a parent. Don’t moan about them, it doesn’t help anyone. Just accept it, assimilate it as is fit and move on with your family’s life.
Amy: Just what Wes said to be honest. Trust your gut. Oh, and go to an antenatal class if you can. We went to one at our local hospital (on the NHS so it cost us nothing but two Saturday mornings) and it put me properly at ease over what was going to happen. They were massively helpful.
What is your favourite way to relax when the kids are all in bed and sound asleep?
Wes: Lying in bed myself, probably playing a video game of some kind. Usually co-op, with Amy. Eating a chinese. Wish I was doing that now, and not in work.
Amy: An uninterrupted meal (Chinese, like Wes said), a bath and then World of Warcraft (I know, I can hear you all groaning from here) or some other video game session with Wes. We love our video games, that’s our little bit of escapism. If I’m honest though, I can’t wait for Short Rib to be old enough to join in.
Thank you so much to Wes and Amy for taking the time to give us an eyesight into their lives as parents. If you haven’t checked out their blog, The Mighty Duxburys yet, then I urge you to click on the link and read their story. Wes and Amy can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest
Be sure to say hi to them!
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