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It’s all about Megan

by Sherie Holder-Olutayo

It’s all about Megan

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Nad Cyrus has gained a whole new appreciation for his wife and for parenting as well. That’s because over the past year, with his wife Erika studying overseas, he’s found himself as the solo parent in his home.
Sure, he can attest to missing his wife and the job she did especially now that she isn’t around, but he too is undergoing his own metamorphosis.
Being a single parent full-time to his daughter Megan is a role that he’s risen to, though it has brought its share of challenges. There’s been the hair issue, his having to be incredibly organised, learning to be a “morning person” and putting himself on the back-burner.
Sliding into these roles, which have been new to his daughter, has been just as foreign to him.
“The biggest part for me is because I’m acting as both mummy and daddy with no one there to bounce off of so it has meant I’ve had to develop strict routines.” “That means getting up at certain times, leaving home early, maintaining a strict bedtime, getting her clothes ready for the next day, figuring out what she’s going to eat. It’s not that I didn’t have to do that before, but you were allowed to slip up because someone else would always be there.
“But now if something isn’t considered or done, I’m in trouble because there is no one else to do it.”
Being a father, he’s had to take off the rose-coloured glasses and see his brave new world through new eyes.
“To give you an example of how life was before she was born: I had to be at work for nine, so I’d get up after eight, leave home at 8:40 and be at work by nine. She came along and that schedule has completely changed.”
Along with doing pickups, drop-offs, shuttling Megan to her various activities and taking complete care of her and himself, along with maintaining his frayed nerves, Nad has found himself in unfamiliar territory at times, especially when it comes to maintaining her hair.
“Now I have to think about making sure her hair gets plaited and that it lasts for a week or so. I tried plaiting her hair once and I realised I can’t do it, nor do I want to do it” he adds, laughing. “So that’s something else that we have to get done on Saturdays now.
I take her to gymnastics at nine, then it’s swimming at 11:30. After swimming there’s a mad rush to get home to feed her, unplait the hair and wash it, and then down to the hairdresser – so my Saturdays are no longer mine. I can’t complain because I’ve had a very active life socially, so dedicating my Saturdays now to her isn’t hard.”
He’ll be the first to admit that his life has undergone a transformation. The fleeting pleasures that he clung to, like 15 minutes of uninterrupted vegetating on the couch after coming from work, are gone. Now, it’s fixing dinners, engaging in conversation after a barrage of questions all starting with the word “why”, to bedtime stories and conversations with mummy via Skype.
“What I’ve come to realise is the importance of family to help, especially now that my wife isn’t here,” he adds.
Another shift that Nad’s parenting has undergone is in the way he deals with his daughter.
“Apart from the routine, it’s being increasingly sensitive to her needs. I came up in a house apart from my mum, with all males around. Now that I’m the father of a girl, it means having to look at things from her perspective.”
The restrictions he’s put in place to keep his daughter in line have also stifled his flexibility somewhat.
“The other night I had a craving for barbecue wings or ribs and it was at 9:30. Now I know exactly where to go and get that; however, she is dead asleep. I can’t go and wake her up,” he said. “I could lift her up but chances are she would wake up while I was there. I can’t risk it and leave her in the house by herself so I ended up having to eat leftovers.”
Those type of adjustments have filtered down into every area of his life.
“I run a website which involved me being out not just for Crop-Over but all year round. I’ve done it for the past seven years,” he said.
“This year I decided it was too much of a hassle to do and be the responsible daddy, so that also had to take a back seat.”
While it seems that in this process Nad is teaching his daughter her share of lessons, he too, is learning his own life lessons.
“One of the things I’ve learnt about being a parent is that all the decisions you make going forward are about them. It’s no longer about me, or my wife, or what we want to do,” he admits. “Recently, we were going to Toronto and as my wife and I were planning the trip and all the activities were centred around her.
“I think the biggest threat that I’ve had is losing my identity. I’ve gone from the Nad being out and about, to Nad being at home and doing the school runs and so on, and at times I’m thinking I miss me.
“That has been a bit of a struggle. But it’s a balancing act and I don’t regret any of it.”