My first week as a creative Dad

Hello there! I originally wrote the below post on instagram, on the 24th February 2017, 19 days after my son ‘Sullivan’ was born. I had a lovely two weeks paternity off with my wonderful wife and new baby, and then was heading back to work, eager to discover what was going to happen to my working routine as a father and co-parent.

I’m fortunate to have a day job that I love, and to work on side-projects in my own time. It was that change of ‘own time’ that I was curious to see what would become of it. I’ve prided myself on making the most of my time, as often as I can, to indulge these creative fancies that come in all forms; films, designs, illustrations, events — whatever’s floating my boat at the time!

It’s funny, there’s definitely a lot of negativity surrounding becoming a parent. Not in a conscious way it would seem, but you’d be surprised at how many times the phrase “Say goodbye to X…” pops up, or “Time will never be your own again” (Which, it turns out, is true, and also isn’t!).

“Say goodbye to [insert thing you love here]…”

It seemed, from the outset, that this new way of life as a parent meant the death of a previous life. So I, somewhat naively, am intent on proving it doesn’t have to be this way, it can be a combination of all things. Like all things in life, if you approach them with a positive mindset, then it always goes a little smoother!

Here’s the original post, plus a little more expansion, I hope you like! Also, it’s well worth saying that I’m not writing this to preach at all, I just wanted to share my experiences so far and to help perpetuate a positive outlook to the most incredible life-changing experience you’ll ever have. To make it strengthen you creatively, to give you the most laser-accurate focus you could ever wish for.

Everyone’s routines are different, I’ve changed mine up and this is what’s working for me at the minute. I hope to encourage you to change yours too :)


Baby Sullivan’s gorgeous wrinkly feet on his first day in the world • Kodak Portra / 50mm f2 / Leica M6

It’s been my first week back at work since Baby Sullivan joined us, and I’ve been determined to disrupt my current routine to work out how I can be the best dad, best husband, best colleague and best side-project indulger! My ‘JamFactory’ time, my passion projects, normally happened after my day job at Aardman, after dinner with Janey and a bit of TV time — usually around 9pm until about Midnight on weekdays.

When Sully joined us, of course everything changed, but I was more inspired than ever to make new things and to show him, growing up, that life is about making and doing things that matter to you! So this week I’ve changed up my routine, to see what’s possible, and I love it!

I wake up around 6am, when Sully is due for a change and a feed* — I do the change (which is one of my favourite times, despite the mountains of poo, it’s a lovely bit of face-to-face time), then pass him over to Janey for a feed. THAT’s when I go into the den for a few hours, before work, meaning in the evenings after my day job I can see their beautiful faces more!

This morning routine has been flexible though, and I’ve allowed it to be. It’s so easy to beat yourself up when trying to follow a routine, especially when it’s self-initiated. I think it’s ok to allow yourself to be a bit more slack one day, and make it up the next. We’re only human and some mornings are tougher than others.

My ‘den’

Why am I telling you all this? Not sure really — I’m really proud that I can be all the things I want to be, but that I would encourage anyone that feels like they can’t fit in what they want to, to just take a step back and look at your 24 hours and make it work for you!

You never know, you might find a few hours you never knew you had!

Sure it’s tiring, but like anything in life that means something to you, you have to work for it, and there’s no better feeling than having earnt something yourself through graft and determination!

Now then, the suns up and it’s time to go have a Sully cuddle before work! ❤


So that was my first week back to work! It’s now five weeks since Sully was born and I’ve taken a further two weeks holiday to hang out with my new family. This means that next week, I go back to work, as before, but for good.

I’m looking forward to seeing how my above routine, tested for a week, plays out over a longer period of time. I’m sure that routine will need to change and morph as we become parents for longer, and Sully grows more and his needs change. I’m excited for that challenge though, it’s like a game itself, trying to squeeze as much from those 24 hours as we can!

I wanted to end with a thank you, to my wife Jane. We’re best friends, husband & wife, business partners and now co-parents. Not only is she a brilliant and beautiful example of all the above, she has always supported me in these creative endeavours, which means everything. Everything.

Thank you ever so much for reading,

Big loves,

Gav.


*We’re incredible lucky that our baby is sleeping well, at the moment! We don’t take that for granted at all!