Six months ago, my husband Jack volunteered to do the 750m swim leg of a team triathlon. 50 minutes in, he was pulled in by a JetSki, defeated and exhausted.
Today, he crossed the finish line of the Bunbury Iron Man 70.3 in 5 hours.
In just six months he has taught himself to swim, bike and run.
While waiting at the finish line, something struck me: why doesn’t anyone ever ask Jack ‘how he does it’?
We’re all familiar with the ‘I don’t know how she does it’ chestnut. I’m only a year into my motherhood journey, but I’ve already been asked this a lot: How do you do it all?
The question always confuses me and, I must admit, frustrates me a little, too. What makes you think I do? This is 2017! I make no secret of the fact that I don’t do it all!
Fatherhood no longer means being the family breadwinner. Modern dads increasingly contribute to the caregiving. They are actively involved in the raising of their children. They work less and take on more responsibility at home. Yet no one asks them if they think they can ‘have it all’ or how they do it.
Jack owns and runs a painting business, he cares for Lilly 1 1/2 days a week while I work, he cooks dinner every single night and makes me breakfast most mornings. He cooks for my mum on the days she has Lilly, he does the washing and food shopping and mows the lawn. He does bath time and play time and naps on weekends. He even does late night chocolate runs for me on a regular basis because I can’t possibly leave the house – what if our sleeping baby wakes up and wants to be breastfed! (That and I’m already in my pyjamas and who really wants to change into real clothes once they’re in their pyjamas!)
What’s the lesson in all this (because there’s always a lesson!). Well, there are two:
First, it’s not just mums doing the balancing act, juggling all of life’s competing responsibilities and ‘doing it all’. There are plenty of dads who do these things. If we’re so interested in how women do it all, perhaps it’s time to start asking men too or at least acknowledging that these issues are not just women’s issues.
Second, there is always enough time. Among all his commitments and responsibilities, Jack found the time to train for Ironman. For six months he has got up at 4:30 to swim, bike or run; training in the mornings so that he would be home with Lilly and I in the afternoons and evenings. Time management is all about priorities. There is always enough time, it’s what you do with it that counts!
By the way, I do my fair share too, I promise; but this isn’t about me. And, before Jack’s head gets too big, there’s a lot he doesn’t do too, like replace the empty toilet roll …