After 30 days off for paternity leave, I am back at the day job today. Man did those 30 days go by fast.
Since getting back to the office, I’ve gotten quite a few questions about my time off. To help answer those questions, here is a mini-FAQ:
1. Getting much sleep? (Usually asked with a sly grin)
We are. We generally get full night’s worth of sleep, with one or two small interruptions. Nothing like our every-three-hour-routine with the Little Man. The truth is, the Little Miss seems much easier than the Little Man was. There are several possible reasons.
- We have experience. We’ve been through this before and know how to be more efficient about things
- The Little Miss is just easier than the Little Man was. Of course, this can change at any time.
- We’ve had a lot of help. Kelly’s parents were with us for several weeks and helped out with everything. My parents are in town now and have been helping out as well.
2. How is the Little Man handling having a baby sister?
He has mixed feelings about the whole thing. He will say goodnight to her when he goes to bed. If she is crying and no one seems to be doing anything, he will try to console her with a few words. But if you tell him to look at something she’s doing, he gets uncomfortable. If you ask him to help out with her (“Can you hand me a diaper?”) he pretends he doesn’t hear you. And if she is upset and he is upset and you go near him, he holds up his hand and asks that you remove her from his sight.
About what you’d expect from new big brother. He is no longer the center of attention and he is learning that. He is doing the best he can and I think he’s doing a pretty good job, all things considered.
3. How is Kelly doing?
She is doing great. Of course, she still has three and a half months before she goes back to work. But I think that things have been easy enough that we’ve eased into our new routine without much fuss or trouble.
4. How does it feel to be back at work after a month off? Were you inundated by email?
I tried avoiding thinking about work at all while I was on leave. Sometimes, on vacation, I’ll think, “only 5 days left…” but I avoided that too, this time around. It wasn’t until last night that I started moping slightly, not so much because I was heading back to work, but because 30 days went by so quickly.
I had 713 unread work-related emails when I got to the office this morning. I quickly whittled that down to 156 that I actually had to read through. By the end of the morning, I had 48 messages in my inbox on which I have to take some kind of action. Not bad for a month (I predicted a total of 1,500 emails) but then I was warning people about my absence for quite some time.