“In the event of a nuclear incident…”

As it’s been awhile since I’ve last written here, I initially thought I would begin with an update on life – current challenges am facing as a father, lessons my kids have taught me thus far, lessons am still learning on how to be a better partner. You know, dad concerns.

But then I got a text message from my son’s school that began with the phrase above. I’m not kidding. Like, every parent who has a kid at the same primary school looked at their phone today while eating lunch or sipping a coffee, to read the words in the event of a nuclear incident. I wonder how many surprised oh shit!’s or frustrated bloody hell!’s were silently muttered. Mine was a oh, for fucks sake.

Surprised, I am not.

Look, prior to 2020, global pandemic was a phrase I last heard uttered in a movie from childhood. In the event of a nuclear incident? Probably from a video game, but the fact that am reading it in an actual real-life context is downright preposterous.

Again.

In early 2020, right before things started to hit the fan here in Norway, I remember hearing one of the local news-broadcasts saying to not panic purchase; that things would be fine and the yet unknown situation would be dealt with calmly and rationally. Yet the messaging back in Canada was basically the opposite – prep for the worst, the oncoming apocalypse, and family telling me it would be wise to stock up on basics. Nah, I thought. Norwegians are pretty calm, government-trusting folks, they’ll heed the state advice. Regardless, I remember taking a stroll into the grocery store to find shelves empty – canned goods, flour, toilet paper (does anyone else think this is odd?), and other amenities missing. Suddenly, I found myself feeling this unsettling sensation deep in my belly. Next thing I know, I’m grabbing a shopping cart and filling it with boxed lentils, chickpeas, beans… I mean shit, I fell for it.

Fast forward to the SMS received above. Family friends had mentioned iodine was sold out everywhere in the following days but to not worry, the municipality had enough iodine stocked up for everyone between the ages of 0 & 18. Uh huh. So I dropped by the local Apotek and told the pharmacist I had two questions to which I already suspected the answer but wanted to ask anyway: one, did they have any iodine and two, should I be worried?

Luckily, he’s straight with me. No to the first question and no to the second, he said. According to him, even if there was a nuclear “incident” to take place in Eastern Europe, it would take time for those radioactive particulates to make their way to our wee peninsula and iodine would only be effective taken a few hours beforehand anyway. Cool, I thought. Nothing to worry about.

The irony? That night after putting the kids to bed and thinking what am I going to do to protect this tiny fam? If things really do head south? Anyway, I ended up ordering iodine online. Haha. I might very well be a moron for doing so, but damn, this socio-collective fear mongering is effective. Despite awareness, I fall for it. My light of awareness comes to be easily maneuvered according to what am listening to and yes, it is occasionally necessary but to be caught in it isn’t healthy. Not when my attention, energy, and focus is required on more pressing challenges.

Which are the little people around me. Learning to understand the little person inside of me and the shadows that are cast in everyday life.

The work continues.

“It Takes a Village.”

Well no shit.

I started writing this aaaaages ago but life got in the way and lacking a village myself, things are easily pushed to the wayside.

What I mean to say, is: raising a fam takes time. And energy. And if it’s only the two of you with no set of extra hands / family to help out, it’s a little more challenging. Agreed?

My wife shared an article with me that resonated, titled “In the Absence of the Village, Mother’s Struggle Most” (here’s a link to the article). If you’re a lazy bum and don’t wish to read, basically the author makes the point that we’ve (am speaking mostly about those in what is referred to as “the West”) have grown away from the natural context of living in a group, and she outlines the repercussions of such living. What are those repercussions? It ain’t pretty, but essentially:

  • we become even more stressed out
  • hang on to what we think is “right” or “wrong” when it comes to parenting
  • we become more prone to depression, anxiety, loneliness
  • we turn to social media (and/or other vices) to “fill our cups”
  • it can damage our marriage / partnership / relationship due to the additional stress

… all due to the lack of a strong network or “village” as this author says.

And reading this, I thought yeah, it makes sense. After all, how is it realistic to expect us (am speaking about me and my wife specifically now) to both work full time to make ends meet, maintain a household and all associated tasks, and devote and spend quality time with our three young children, all while having healthy relationships with each other, with ourselves, and a healthy social life? This is further compounded by those who are migrants to countries where they have no family to lean on as a (valuable) resource.

When I meet other moms and dads who are as I am (specifically, those who are not Norwegian, but have families from elsewhere), where close knit and intimate bonds are hard to come by, sometimes (not all times) but sometimes, it doesn’t take long for us to leak out some of our frustrations of not having that tribe or village around us.

But what’s most interesting for me, is the dads perspective. The author says “mothers struggle most”. It’s probably true but it doesn’t mean father’s don’t. Even though a quick search online shows it’s hard to find fathers who echo similar sentiments. Now am either: a) not looking in the correct places, b) am the only guy who’s having a challenging time keeping all those cups full, or c) there are other dads who feel the same way, yet for some reason, aren’t saying so.

Why not? Topic for another time, I guess. But I feel by lacking a village (specifically one that includes other dads), I am missing out on my full potential as a husband, father, and as an individual. Of course, diversity in the village is what would be its greatest strength probably, but for me, other fathers (young and old) would be whom I’d want to connect with first. To be vulnerable with one another and to pool our resources energetically would go a long way in maintaining healthy relationships with everyone in our immediate family circle.

Anyway, these are the thoughts of the day.