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Women & weak men

There was a time I was an over emotional boy in a mans body. I needed attention and validation to keep my self esteem up. I needed to be constantly pampered and resented women who didn’t treat me as a I expected to be treated. Girlfriends and friends alike. I was a weak man. Unable to function without what I perceived as a woman’s love.

The problem with being a resentful mummies boy is that it doesn’t make the basis of a healthy relationship. Some women buy into the act, touched by the needy personality. But it doesn’t last. Strong women don’t put up with it for long. Becoming an emotional crutch for a man’s emotions breeds resentment. Him for not getting his ego stroked, and her for refusing to pamper to his needs.

As men we have a definite role to play in a relationship. And it is to be emotionally strong. Women appreciate a man who can stand on his own two feet. Who can manage without the constant need for approval.

Approval and love are not synonymous. I learned this the hard way. Needing approval is just that. It is born out of resentment and fear for failing to get a woman’s love somewhere along the line. Whereas love is free from all emotional entanglement. To love is to live in a state of ready forgiveness, to live without expectation and to treat another with respect.

Some couples though thrive on the drama the emotions bring. They feed off each others emotional failings. We all know the type. They become tied by resentment. As sick as their relationship may get they always gravitate back to each other. They are under a spell – driven by overthinking and over emotional responses. I have been in those relationships in the past. Hating my partner for not receiving the love I felt I deserved and her sick with control over me. I was as weak as they come.

A real loving relationship is based on a mutual respect. A conscious awareness of each other that doesn’t overstepped boundaries. I trust my wife completely and she trusts me. There is no resentment between us because we don’t allow to fester. We talk our problems through without fear or rancour. I have had to learn to do this and it hasn’t always been easy. My ego crops up at times with old thinking that I have to keep in check.

Weak men rarely survive their families. These are the men that are always seeking attention, cheat and fail at their responsibilities. They are dishonest and resentful towards the opposite sex. And because of this they will continue to sink further in their need for validation. And they will always be able to find it because there are weak women too.

Providing the principles of love and tolerance

As men we tend to sit in the dark with our problems.  We work, take care of our families and do what we can to stay strong mentally and physically. We have a definite role to play. But life can also wear us down. Relentless routines can stress us out as we do what we can to deal with work and home-life.

I have always taken my job as a parent very seriously. I have been the main bread winner whereas it has been my wife’s role as as a stay at home parent to deal with the daily chores at home. We have always had the agreement that she does all the washing and house work so it’s my job to cook each day. It’s an agreement that works for us.

But over the last three years since the accident, things have changed drastically for us. I no longer work full-time which has affected us financially and has also affected me mentally. I had the rug pulled out from under me. No longer able to earn as I once did, I can no longer provide for my family as I had been doing previously.

Going back a few years, when we realised we had triplets coming I began having little nagging fears, such as how would we cope if because of – perhaps due to illness – I could no longer work full-time and take care of us financially. A week off work with a chest infection in the first year of them being born caused us a financial set back and led me to experience how difficult life would be with less earnings coming in each month.

When that fear became a reality I sank into a depression. I got caught up in the dire reality of my situation and felt the frustration from my wife as I struggled to hold up my end of the bargain. I used to write about the importance of a man’s ability to provide for his family, now I was thrown into a position where I could no longer do that.

We had to accept charity in my first month’s of being off work undergoing medical tests. It was a crushing blow to my self esteem. It drove my depression further. I no longer knew myself and had to somehow change my whole perception, outlook and view on life and how I lived it. A diagnosis at a year into my chronic pain condition brought some relief. Being an invisible illness caused some suspicion from friends and family. But that releif did little to help my situation and home-life.

It has been three years and in that time I have settled into part time work that is less physically and mentally stressful. Working within the same company I am grateful to still be in employment. And with help from the government we still have a roof over our heads and food on the table. But my mental health is still a problem with little resolve.

As I write this I am now dealing with two prolapsed discs in my lower spine. I am off work again. The point is that I cannot take anything for granted. Life throws us curve balls and we may not see them coming. It is still our jobs as father’s to provide for our families. If not financially as we would like we can be still be of use.

The most important job as a dad is to provide for our families. No matter what life is throwing at us we can still be mentally strong for our partners/wives and children. It is that strength that is of most importance. My children need stability from me. I see this now more than ever as I deal with physical disabilities. I need only to ask myself this.’Am I practising patience and tolerance around them?’ Am I providing mental stability so that they are growing in a family with love at the centre?’.

And my love, mental and spiritual strength will always be the most important things I can bring to my home. My wife also needs me grounded in these principles for when I am practicing these simple things I am providing things that money cannot buy.  We have a roof over our heads and food on the table. We have a home of laughter and joy and my children are growing with confidence. There is nothing more we need.

We are a family that love each other and in the end – that is all that counts.

Trouble in the back

I quite openly share my experience with CPS on my blog. The pain can be debilitating at times but for the most I deal with it from a place of positivity. With meditation I manage to deal with the mental strain of living with a chronic pain condition. Anti convulsion medication also helps me deal with the physical pain, they are medications that allow me to function.

Last weekend I began to experience what felt like a flare up in my spine. I went to work and tried to push through the pain but was unable to finish a shift and had to leave early each day. By Thursday morning I was struggling to walk and called 111. The advice from the doctor was to take myself to accident and emergency to get it checked out.

I’m glad I went because an MRI scan showed up two slipped discs in my lower spine. It was the cause of the excruciating pain and the reason I was struggling to walk. I was treated with pain killers and instructed to take it easy. I was also reffered to the spinal team at a nearby hospital.

It’s not the first time I have dealt with bulging discs in my lower spine. 9 years ago I popped 3 out while working on a heavy job. As a welder of structural steel it was an occupational hazard. I was reminded of the acute pain involved and thought back to what helped back then.

When my back flares up with pain I usually sleep on my back on a hard floor. It’s uncomfortable but helps keep my spine aligned. I have been sleeping this way all week and after learning about my back problem in hospital knew that I had made the right move by sleeping on the deck. I was also moving around which helps if done carefully. I had also been doing that all week.

By the Friday the pain was at it’s worse. I was waking up in agony in the wee hours of the morning and unable to get back to sleep. At one point I was physically sick from the pain. I was suffering badly and in need of relief. I also shed a few tears at the exhaustion of dealing with my current situation.

There was nothing more to do than manage it. Hot baths twice a day helped with the physical side of things and meditation was, as always a way to cope with the mental pressure I was experiencing. I have spent most of the week on the floor, moaning to my wife about how much i am suffering. She’s tired of hearing it and I’m over complaining about it. There is nothing more I can do. It isn’t going to be a quick fix.

The triplets have been looking after me whilst I’m led out on the living room floor. They have been putting blankets on me and telling me that they love me. They are very sweet and I’m glad of their affection. I am doing as much as I can with them. I am still doing their baths and bedtime routine in the evenings and am on my feet as much as I can be.

So it’s now a case of taking it easy and slowly. As frustrating as it is I cannot push myself too hard. I need to take care of myself and in doing so will slowly mend.

Learning on the job

This blog has been going for 4 years now. And in that time I have documented my experience through the trials of new fatherhood. I have got some of it right – and some wrong. But through it all I have remained conscious of my role as a dad to 4 girls. I have done my best despite the obstacles in my path.

It’s been a long road that has flown by, from bringing them home to now being full time at school. Frankie is now a fully fleged teenager with a mind of her own, navigating her own path through high school. We are all on a journey that is filled with moments of love and stress in turn.

There has been nothing normal about our situation. It’s a tough gig that I have had to remain awake for. As the only man of the house I have a big responsibility. As I have said before, I am the man they will judge all other men by. That’s a big deal however you dress it up.

The main thing I have learned through it all is to not have expectations. This has been a new experience for me and in the beginning I had ideas on how my children would be with the right discipline and guidance. I put my faith and the principles of love and tolerance at the centre of my home. That, I thought would be enough. I have had to learn how to be a father.

We must be doing something right. Our girl’s are all growing up with confidence. I have an amazing wife and we work as a team to raise our family. Since the accident I have had to adapt to a chronic nerve pain condition. Even with CPS I have found a way to stay strong for my family.

I’m a blessed man and have nothing but gratitude for the life I have now. It’s relentless, stressful and hectic as you can probably imagine.  The trio drive us crazy at times but we can only keep on moving forward with life. And with love and tolerance we have all we need to manage the cards we have been dealt.

The lockdown generation

The triplets have finally began school full time. It’s good for them and a much needed break for us. They enjoy it but from speaking with the teachers it’s clear that the trio, especially Ava, lacks confidence.

It’s hardly surprising considering they have rarely had contact with other children since lockdown began. They have had each other so obviously they have become a tight little unit. They play, fight and comfort each other day in – day out.

Before lockdown they had just Started mixing with other kids. Stacey was taking them to a mother and baby group to help them learn to play and share with others. But it was cut short by the pandemic

I know they are not the only kids who have missed out on valuable learning experience at a vital time in their lives. There will be a generation of children affected by the lockdowns we had to live through. Frankie missed out on the social aspect of school and was confined to home learning. She understandably missed her friends and face to face contact.

Lockdown caused all sorts of stresses and pressures. I’m sure the girls will catch up in time, they are all bright sparks and have learned social skills from each other. But they have definitely missed out on crucial interactions. Thankfully they like school and we don’t have any hassle sending them off in the morning. It could be a lot worse.

We are blessed to have healthy girls who are growing in a loving home. There are difficult times and times I get overwhelmed by the stress of our situation but we keep moving forward. Life goes on, sometimes with a few bumps in the road but all-in-all we are coping well. Or as well as we can.

The end of a chapter

Today the triplets started school. It wasn’t a case of mixed emotions, we are ready for it and so are the girls.

It feels like the end of an era. We have survived the first four years with high order multiples. And it’s been the toughest gig of my life. And if you have read my book you’ll know that’s saying something!

The heatwave summer they were born in brought hot night’s of sleep deprivation. Wondering if there was an end to the insanity and rising depression I experienced as a first time dad. It hit me hard, as prepared as I felt during the pregnancy, nothing could have prepared me for the reality. With a physical full time job and three dependent babies I struggled to maintain my stability as a father.

But I got through it, faith and meditation kept me afloat at the times I was sinking. Once they began sleeping through the night everything changed. And I became the dad I imagined I could be.

Having triplets was a traumatic experience for both of us. But I dedicated my life to fatherhood. I put my priorities as a dad in front of everything. I wanted to give them love and stability. To be a dad they could love and be everything they needed.

Bliss asleep

The older they got I soon realised the vacuum triplets created. There is little time for anything outside of home-life, they have consumed us and the work is relentless. Now toddlers they bring a whole new set of challenges. They fight and whine and have dragged us both to the edge of insanity at times. But above all they are amazing to see grow.

It’s not all bad though. They are loving, kind and caring with each other and us. The little random hugs with the whispered ‘I love you daddy’ still melts my heart. They are beautiful as much as they are little toe-rags. They have a voice now and can communicate well with us. They love dressing up, books, unicorns and cuddles on the sofa. They amaze me constantly with their attention to the things they enjoy. I love to watch them.

So now they have begun their journey of education and learning. They loved their first day and we got a couple hours free to ourselves. I took the time to meditate and read a little. It felt good in the silence of our house. But now it’s back to the squabbles and upsets, the laughter and joy. And I can honestly say they have been the greatest gift of my life and I’ve never been prouder to be called daddy.

Under pressure

There have been times that we have mentally struggled with the triplets. Like the time they all had ear infections and we lost 3 days sleep. I remember one morning with the girls screaming in pain, Stacey and I just looked at each other and broke down in tears from sheer exhaustion. We were mentally drained.

Thankfully those periods didn’t last long. Illnesses pass and life gets calmer again. Just lately we have found ourselves in the middle of an incredibly stressful situation that shows no signs of slowing down. The triplets are argumentative, hectic and full on.

There are a couple of contributing factors driving this intense time. One is that they are 4. Secondly it’s the summer holidays and we are stuck with them around the clock. It can be overwhelming. Especially for Stacey as I get to work 4 mornings a week.

They bounce off each other with uncontrollable momentum. It’s relentless from the moment they wake up til bedtime. And we are finding parenting to be a real challenge. More-so than ever. We find ourselves longing for their bedtime then experiencing guilt because we feel that way. It’s not the girls fault. They are just being 4.

We are facing the ultimate test of patience and tolerance, and it isn’t easy. Both myself and Stacey practice non contemplative meditation as a way to build from the stres we are experiencing but it’s still no easy task. As much as we practice conscious awareness our situation is still overwhelming at times. Usually by the end of the day.

We are taking solace in that they will be starting school soon. Is it bad that we feel this way? I know, we should be cherishing each day but the reality is that each night I experience anxiety in that in the morning I have to live do it all again. With Central Pain Syndrome on top of it all I’m just knackered.

No said it was going to be easy, and I know these feelings will pass. But boy having triplets is full on. And we just have to batten down the hatches and deal with it.

Hard work

Yesterday whilst at the play centre, Stacey opened up to me about how stressful she is finding parenting at the moment. And she was relieved when I said I too was not finding it easy of late.

The gang are now 4 year olds. Full of energy and are constantly bickering and whinging, fighting and have little attention to play together. There are times they play nice and are affectionate with each other but it’s rare.

It doesn’t help that they are stuck at home on their summer holidays. We entertain them as much as we can but they are relentless in their energy and ability to fall out with each other. The naughty corner has never been in so much use.

We are keeping on top of discipline to the point that it feels like all we’re doing with them at the moment. They are just hard work. I admitted to Stacey that at the end of the evening there is a certain dread rising in that when I wake up we have to do it all again. There is no escaping our responsibility. We’re both stuck on this rollercoaster.

We are finding releif in the thought that they will be starting school full time in September. We will then have free time to ourselves. With me working part time, writing for the Central Pain Syndrome and keeping this blog going, I will be free to make real time to focus on my writing. Work that I enjoy and keeps me sane at times.

Stacey will also be freed up and cannot wait til September comes. We don’t want to wish away the school holidays. After all it’s also a break for the kids to do fun things but nonetheless our home is a stressful place at the moment. And it’s inescapable.

Having triplets has never been an easy ride. From the time of the pregnancy it has been tough going mentally for both of us. New challenges arise constantly. But when one of the trio comes over for a random hug and a kiss, in that moment we are reminded of the love we have for them.

Holiday

There’s no denying it’s been a stressful year. Having the triplets stuck at home has been a real challenge for all of us. Thankfully the girls went back to school which gave Stacey a break. And a recent spell of hot weather meant we could get back outside to the park and to the pool.

It’s been especially difficult for relatives who have missed seeing the girls. My mum has been in our bubble so was still able to visit us during the lockdown but as for Stacey’s parents who live further away it has been more difficult, a visit to them has been on the cards for a while.

Thankfully the restrictions have now been lifted and life is returning to normal which means we can now visit Stacey’s family. And the triplets have been counting down the days to a visit to Grandma’s house.

It’s a 4 hour drive and the girls do well on a long trip. There’s little complaining and only the odd toilet stop. The last time we visited was Christmas which seems a lifetime ago. We always love a trip to Stacey’s parents, it means a break from our 4 walls and extra help with the girls. We also get the chance to have date night which is rare these day’s. Back home it is still hard to find anyone to babysit the trio.

There is also plenty to do whilst away, from trampoline park’s to the zoo which we will be doing next week. We also have a big park near Stacey’s parents house which the kids never get bored of, and so far we have only had the odd rainy day. Even staying in is easier. They have a much bigger house to run about it. Frankie also gets to spend time with her cousin. She has also been looking forward to a break from studies.

We’re halfway in to our visit and are having lot’s of fun. It may only be a visit to family as our holiday but we are already more relaxed with the extra help. It’s still a test of patience with dealing with three 4 year olds but that’s just the situation we live with from day to day. The girls are at a fun age right now. Everything is exciting and new with means they are easily pleased.

We are making the most of a break from the normal routine, and we deserve it after the year we’ve had. So here’s to fun times and family. And we we are blessed to have such loving relatives.

The perfect dad

I rarely take the time to stop and look at myself, to see how I’m doing as dad. But it’s good to reflect now and again to see how I can improve. I’m not the perfect father, I have my shortcomings as we all do. There are always areas I can improve on.

Because of my past it is imperative that I give my children a good foundation to build on. Honesty, love and truth are principles that I try to live by and moving forward with these pillars in place I am working towards being a better man for my kids.

It’s not always easy. Frankie is going through a difficult age. She is now a teenager and that brings It’s own issue like peer pressure from others and trying to find her place in life. I need to be more trusting and hope the way we’ve brought her up will help her stay on the right path. Losing her biological dad to suicide when she was three still affects her. With Frankie I need to practice patience. She is bright young girl and is doing well at school. I am proud of her in many ways.

As for the triplets I know I am a bit of a soft touch which doesn’t always help when It comes to discipline. There are times I give in to their demands when I have already said no ten times. It doesn’t work. They are learning that they can twist my arm, which can cause small rifts between Stacey and me. They need to see me as a man of authority, they will respect me more as they grow and that’s important as they get older. My wife and I need to stick to the same page when it comes to discipline. Because Stacey spends more time with them she is more on the ball.

A gauge of how I’m doing is reflected in my children’s behaviours and attitudes. They are all polite and well mannered for the most. The triplets can be taken out anywhere without any major outbursts. They know how to behave in public which isn’t bad for three 4 year olds. And it has all come down to loving discipline despite my small failures. They already have a good sense of right from wrong which will be vital to navigate their way through life

I don’t believe there is such a thing as a perfect dad. When you add stress to a situation it can be difficult to remain solid. We are all dealing with pressure as parents and there is always room for improvement.

I have learned not to be hard on myself but also be willing to make the changes in my life that will benefit my whole family. And as long as moving forward more than I am going backwards – I’m doing okay.