When I accepted this role, I understood that going forward, my team and I would have to ‘up our game’ to match the targets achieved by the outgoing team leader. My strategy is to work closely with my team to highlight brand ‘Shev’ and take it to the next level; this is evolution, not revolution.
Although new to the role, I have always operated an open door policy and believe that we can share the decision making process and for the final quarters – through ongoing assessments and review – set a new benchmark for communication and self motivation.
Although my team is young and inexperienced and the targets set are challenging, I believe I can attain them and stay on brand and within budget.
When I discovered that this was going to be my new job I felt a mixture of trepidation and excitement. Trepidation because MrsShev always made it look so easy; attacking each day with so much enthusiasm that I worried that I would never match up; and her laissez-faire attitude to tidiness made her the perfect painting buddy for our budding Michelangelos (okay, Pollocks). The excitement was because I would be spending a lot of time with them (something most fathers do not get) and experience seeing them grow up.
There are – obviously – upsides and downsides to this job:
- The Food I share quite a few mealtimes with the kids and so I get to eat loads of sausages, fishfingers, pizza and cupcakes. If I didn’t run 15k a week I’d end up as the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. But, you know, it’s great – who wouldn’t want to eat like a 17 year old (but made with no salt, organic produce and hidden vegetables)?
- Playing I really like playing with toys. Lego is ace and the other day I made a princess castle out of it and it was awesome, then we destroyed it with plastic dinosaurs and Playmobil knights and that was awesome too. I like doing jigsaws and puzzles and I love playing with toy cars. I like lining the soldiers up with Darling Son and then Darling Daughter shoots them with a Nerf gun (I feel bad about giving a 2 year old a Nerf gun as she is like a drunk midget with a Kalashnikov – but it gives her immense satisfaction to shoot wee plastic men with sponge bullets). I like wrestling with them at the end of the day, playing hide’n’seek (I am a badass hide and seeker – I should be in the Taliban) and jumping up and down on trampolines. I like climbing and scooting and dressing up in silly outfits and chasing them like a monster. I love all that stuff.
- TV & Movies I tried watching The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford the other night, but by twenty minutes in I thought: life is too bloody short to watch a film who’s ending is given away within the title, forcrisakes. I got sick of Brad Pitt mumbling his way through badly written dialogue on the side of some muddy hillside in Nebraska – like he was on an outward bounds course in Wales – and realised that I have been ruined by kids films who’s prime directive is to get cracking from the first frame until the end credits (and even those are made entertaining). I think kids get the best deal as every film follows the same basic formula: main characters battle through adversity to get from A to B – with the final push being a homily about how great friends / believing in yourself / being true to yourself / loyalty is rewarded with achieving whatever it is you want. It’s predictable (but kids like predictable) and every film is a rollercoaster ride, full of jokes and zany characters. What do we get? The Assassination of Jesse James. Not fair.
- Graft Looking after kids is, basically, graft. Cleaning, washing, cooking, hefting stuff to the car, hefting stuff from the car – I sometimes picture myself as one of those mules you see in spaghetti westerns, dragging chests full of pointless trinkets and frilly clothes of some city slicker, up a hill in the unrelenting sun as they search the Seirra Madre for their grandfather’s gold mine. Or maybe I have spent too much time in the sun.
- TV & Movies This is my concern with regards to my IQ. The majority of my televisual entertainment is comprised of a mixture of Spongbob Squarepants, Peppa Pig and the collected works of Pixar. I try to fob myself off with the notion that because I am an animator I can somehow justify my interest by labelling it research. This is utter codswallop as I tend to lead the kids to watch what I like. Spongebob is funny, Peppa Pig is great and everything Pixar has made is awesome. But, you know, it ain’t exactly BBC4 is it?
- Loneliness Sounds wierd, when I have two conversational dynamos with me through all hours of daylight: like insane, talking imps. But one is a two year old girl who’s style of conversation is kind of military (i.e. Daddy do it! You take it! I want an ‘nana!) and a 4 year old boy obsessed with what you could do with poo if it were a modelling material and utterly insane questions that defy classification or logic (Daddy? If I had no bones in my body would I die, or could you use sticks instead….Daddy? If you were completely blue, would you still be able to swim?…Daddy? Do cars have hearts?…Daddy? Did dinosaurs die because they ate their own poo? – these are all real questions, two of them today). But despite these two raconteurs accompanying me everywhere (and I mean everywhere) there is a distinct feeling of aloneness when you have young children. They’re not old enough to have grown up conversations and so I organise as many playdates and activities as I can, lest I go insane – not for them, for me.
- Boredom I know I said I like playing with toys, but after you have done the same jigsaw 10 times I feel like a US Ranger assembling an assault rifle blindfold. It’s not as if these are 500 pieces ones either, but 40 piece Peppa Pig ones. Going to the same playgrounds, the same pools and playing with the same toys – it all gets a bit Groundhog Day and my mind starts to drift and then I end up blogging about it. Which must be hard for everyone.
- Preconceptions I am possibly imagining it, but there is a subtle vibe from the other mothers (you know what I mean) of: shouldn’t you be out earning the salary? No one hasn’t come right out and said it – I mean, they wouldn’t, would they? – but I certainly think it’s there. Or maybe it’s just me, and I’m the one with the preconceptions.
That’s all from me, ’cause I am reet busy with work and stuff. So, adieu!
* I took an IQ test once, for a job in the City working for a Barrister. They didn’t consider 4 A Levels in arts subjects or a Design degree to be an indicator of my intelligence. As I later pointed out to them after a couple of weeks I had shown myself to intelligent enough to do the job without breaking a sweat, but they could never draw a picture of a cat without seeming to be like a chimp with a box of crayolas. Hate that.