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Sometimes you have to put on your “I can do this” hat

This week my newborn hit the five week mark. While this was a positive note, it did mean that my time on paternity leave had come to an end. I was fortunate to have an employer who allowed me to tack a few weeks of annual leave on to the end of my paternity leave which meant I have enjoyed a nice amount of time home with my new family. Initially, I asked for this time out of necessity. My wife was likely to have a caesarean and I knew she would need a lot of help with heavy lifting around the home. Fortunately, the timing of our little boys arrival meant that my leave would fall over the Christmas period.


As many of you know, being a Vet means we don’t get a sizeable amount of time off over Christmas, just the public holidays and any weekends they might neighbour. And for all those heroic emergency Vets out there, their time off is often zero. My leave was very special this year. Enjoying time with my two year old each day, who I would normally just see on nights and weekends, my wife and our new little boy offering all those newborn cuddles. (but let’s get real, life with a newborn is a lot more challenging than that!)


Despite all the challenges that a newborn threw at us, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at home with my wife and sons. Something I told her on a daily, if not hourly basis, which she may have loved or hated being told! (Something I’m a big advocate off, we should all be telling our loved ones how much they mean to us, we don’t need an excuse!)


All these things together meant that when I thought about the return to work, I wasn’t jumping for joy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, both the profession as a whole and the busy small animal clinic I work in. As my final week of leave came to a close I found myself dreading the coming morning next week where I wouldn’t be getting up to share breakfast with my family, but would be putting my work clothes on. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that while these emotions are valid, I would think that most people aren’t excited to return to the daily grind after a period of leave, we are lucky despite this. Lucky, to have enjoyed a period of leave, lucky to have a job we enjoy to return to, and lucky to be healthy enough to enjoy all of the above.


So, on Tuesday morning, I told myself, “I can do this” and made my way into work. My wife was trying to tell herself the same, it being her first day with two kids alone. It’s ok to be a little apprehensive but with a deep breath and an ‘I can do’ attitude most tasks are achievable. And the ones that aren’t? Ask for help. Those around you are usually only too willing to lend a hand. You might find yourself wondering why you were so worried in the first place. Take a breath. Loosen your jaw and think with optimism instead of worry. We can do this and we might even enjoy ourselves in the process.

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