Good news! I found my attention span! Until I see another squirrel, anyway…
Once I fixed the blog, though, I knew that I had a few topics to write about. Parenthood. More specifically, fatherhood. Turns out, I have more first hand experience at fatherhood than I do motherhood. And, as some of our friends were meeting, and preparing for some of the challenges of parenthood, I took a moment to reflect on my own experiences with fatherhood. I saw plenty of posts out there, primarily directed at women, or what women wanted men to know. But not much on the other side. An opinionated sort, I thought that might be something I could share, having been ’round this block a few times, so I want to write about some of that for my next few blog entries.
Help Wanted: Management-NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. No training provided.
As I read one of the blog entries from the perspective of new mothers, pleading with the new fathers with regard to what they wanted, something struck me. Fathers are not bit-players in the lives of your new child. This may or may not be something that you’ve planned for more than ten months or so. Ten months certainly isn’t very long. You’re both likely to have crisis of confidence. Due, in no small part, to sleep deprivation. Unless, of course, you didn’t sleep in the first place.
Share the load. Dad, be as involved as you can in the day to day lives of your new little one. Be assertive. Let Mom know that you WANT to help. It helps you establish a bond with your new little one. And Mom? Even if he’s not doing things exactly as you might, I plead with you. PLEASE don’t just take over. Not only will it undermine his confidence, but it will undermine the child’s confidence in him to meet their needs. He may not be doing things exactly as you would prefer, but in the vast majority of circumstances, I’m sure that it’ll be OK. One possible exception is if he feels the urge to hold your child off of a balcony, Rafiki style. Interjection may be warranted then.
The fact of the matter is, you’re both likely to be exhausted. If it’s your first, you may be learning that you have less free time than you did. Sharing the work as evenly as possible helps protect against resentment. It will also help create two confident parents. Not to mention a child that’s confident that both of their parents can meet their needs. Especially overnight.
What’s that, Dad? You say that you have to work in the morning? This may come as a surprise, but so does Mom. Unlike a 9-5 office job, parenthood is a 24 hour gig. For both a stay at home parent AND a work outside the home parent. It may be reasonable for Mom to get up the first time, as it may be plausible for her to nap with the kid if it’s your first, but there’s no reason why you can’t share the sleep deprivation. Who knows, maybe you and Mom can bond over it. My wife and I are just now getting to the point where sleep is getting better. That’s since 9/2006, when we had our middle daughter.
Keep Calm, buy a copy of “Go the F**k to Sleep“, and enjoy parenthood for today. It’s like weather in the Midwest. It’ll be different tomorrow.