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You can’t get the time back

As my little girl was patter-caking, I was eavesdropping on a conversation about maternity leave. Most of the women agreed that the longer they could stay off work the better. They cited ‘attachment theory’; specifically attunement and sensitivity to the child (they are a bright bunch) as well as enjoying seeing their little superstar grow. The overriding argument though was one of ‘You can’t get the time back!’

As a Positive Psychologist I was fascinated with this line of argument so dared to join in. One woman explained that as children grow so quickly, they learn new things and that she wanted to be there to experience these moments rather than hear about them from nursery. As the only Dad in the group I wondered how much of these learning experiences were missed as the fathers were, presumably, at work?

As a Brit, I often hear ‘only 1/2/3 days to the weekend’ or a sigh of relief on Wednesday afternoon that ‘it’s all downhill from here’. This classic ‘destination addiction’ has many problems. Mostly, it subconsciously tells us that what we are doing now is not important as happiness is at some point in the future. Admittedly, planning an event or experience for your loved ones to do keeps us excited and connected with our friends and families, although often it appears at the expense of the now.

In our workshops we explain that the theory of positive psychology is actually quite simple. Putting it into practice is soooo much harder. I work as a teacher in a 14-18 year old school for 4 days a week and on reflection I had been guilty of wishing my time away. Sometimes when I was in lessons and sometimes whilst I was looking after Orla, hoping that her mum would get back sooner so I could pass her back and get on with more ‘important’ things.

Writing that sentence really hurts. It is patently obvious that nothing is more important than the precious time I have with my little girl so I’ve resolved to change the only thing I can. Me! From now on there will be no wishing my life away.

‘Now’ is all we ever have so patter-cake, here I come… Have a brilliant week

Martin Burder