With approval from the wife, next was the difficult task of letting my employers know. Difficult because I have been with them for 11 plus years, and I feel a great sense of obligation and loyalty, but also because whilst my intentions were pure (I really did want to experience something that I had never had the opportunity to do before) there was also a growing element of exhilaration. I was just a tiny bit excited that after 15 years of gainful employment in an office environment, I didn't have to show up for 8 months.
At first they were a little taken aback because I was the first to request parental leave (as opposed to maternity leave); it's just not the sort of thing men tend to do, but they approved the request nevertheless.
The original plan was to be absent from work, the paid variety, from June 2012 to January 2013, 7 months. June, so that I could finish up my working commitments, and January because it seemed like a nice clean time to come back, after the Christmas break, but I quickly realised the stupidity of that due to the other two kids' school commitments, or rather lack thereof; it's school holidays in January idiot! So instead of getting the love of my life to take annual leave to mind the kids, I extended the leave by one month. 8 months off. I was losing focus.
8 months off work; brilliant! "If you think that, you've got no idea what you're in for." came the stern, disapproving words from the wife. Surely it couldn't be that hard? Could it?
"Absolutely not!" replied a close friend when I told him of my plans. "How could it be that hard? Baby eats, plays, sleeps alot. What is really going to take time?" he said.
"Er." I responded convincingly, and then more so when I channelled the wife "but there will be chores like washing, cleaning, dishes, cooking, and don't forget the kid pick ups and after school activities."
"Surely that can't take all the time, you don't have to do that everyday. You can sort of space it out. It'll be easy!"
"I know!" he said with a mischievous grin, "How about you set out to prove that it's easy being a fulltime parent and mothers are just hiding behind a thin veneer of lattes and gossiping. It's a giant conspiracy! You know, you should write about it."
I would like to point out my friend is childless. And I thank him for inspiring me to write this blog.
For the record, and maybe because my beloved may read this, it's his hypothesis not mine. I have no doubt whatsoever that this experience is going to hard and relentless work. Really. No doubt. None whatsoever. Very hard. Relentless. Really!