“Men are just little boys who got big.
Women are just little girls who got big.”
— Jack Winter
I’ve sat on this post for a bit, trying to figure out what I could tell the world about fatherhood. Other than doubling in size while I was looking, in ways it feels like much hasn’t changed — he feeds every few hours; he has plenty of outfits to model; I don’t see my family as much as I’d want to with their bedtimes only an hour or two after I get home from work… these are the early years where you’re adopting a routine, simply awaiting the next cue to take action. Where you sneak into the nursery 3 times overnight to make sure they’re still breathing. These are the years where you have to get used to a holding pattern in your days, life stubbornly reminding you that things aren’t like they were before.
What’s there to tell about that?
The Dawn of the Daddy Blogger: Babies and Blogging Make Poor Bedfellows
Once upon a time, we only had ourselves to worry about. Though married, Sarah and I could go full work days without talking and not worry whether we’d dressed warm enough, eaten our food, or suffering from poopy diapers. We had the free time to pursue our interests and balance it with our jobs.
There is no way to do this the same way with a newborn baby.
I lost my blogging momentum for a bit in 2014. While blogging did take a backseat for a bit while I tried to keep my family sane, I can’t blame fatherhood alone — I spent the last days of 2013 blogging my butt off; there were times in January where I feared I’d never sleep again with a cranky DoomzToo bringing an exhausted household to its knees… for a while there, everything else seemed to matter a little less, and the name of the game was survival.
Father blogging ain’t easy. Some think that mommy bloggers have an edge because of maternity leave — that it’s a vacation, giving mothers unlimited time to collect their thoughts and write about them. Maybe Moms have better stories to tell since they’re typically around their kids longer than the Dads who spend their time at work, seeing their children conscious for mere hours a day.
But that’s not it at all.
You fall into fatherhood like it was part of your life all along — you wear your headphones on only one ear so you can hear their cries; deciding what outings you’ll go on not by where it is or how long you’ll be there, but by how much of a hassle it’ll be to get your kid dressed up, calm and ready to go; you’re not worried about how empty the fridge is, as long as you’ve got enough milk or formula in supply — like it or not, the kid’s here to stay, and you’ll often find that most of your life isn’t as important as you thought it was.
There are the thoughts that consume your mind, logical or not — I worry that DoomzToo will remember me as an absentee father, because I often only spend a bit of time with him in the mornings before work and when feeding him late into the night. I’m the stranger who occasionally feeds and changes him, but seldom seen for very long. I worry that this is it; that you get little baby milestones — first smiles, first baths, first steps — but it’s a long way from “Kids Say the Darnedest Things” material. I worry that things will fall apart, plans going to crap and my family at each other’s throats because we weren’t as ready for parenthood as we thought we were. And when you’re not worried, perhaps you’re thinking thoughts like these (NSFW — don’t watch it if you’re easily offended by potty mouth! But if you like this, check their channel for more!):
I’m hopeful, though — the more I talk with other Dads, the more I have faith we’ll figure this out.
Fatherhood: Why Bother?
I recently joined the first Naked Dadding Roundtable chat hosted by Joe Boughner from the Yummy Mummy Club along with four other Dads from across the country (Patrick Denny, Mike Reynolds, Tobin Smith and Sean Morong). With me being the most recent entrant to fatherhood there, it gave me a glimpse into what lies ahead — building relationships with your children, making the hard decisions, and continuing to figure out the paternal role as the rules continue to change.
Fatherhood’s joys and challenges change every day. I’ll be feeding him at midnight now, blink to see him bumping into things soon enough, and before I know it, I’ll be trying to juggle his activity schedule and playdates with work, hobbies and what’ll be left of my social life by then. So you take it all as it comes, trying to hold on to the moments that make you proud to have a kid — the memories that’ll carry you through the years, no matter what life decides to throw at you.
You’re in it for the moments where they grab your shirt while trying to sleep after a solid late-night feeding. You’re in it for the flashes of recognition you see in their eyes when they stare at your face to remember who you are. You’re in it for all the little things that make the hard times worth it; the mind-blowing details that make you feel like you’re doing fatherhood right.
There’s lot to enjoy in fatherhood; it’ll never be perfect, but you try your best to make it amazing. And on the bad days? The ones where you have to retrain a baby with their days and nights confused? The ones where they cry endlessly for no conceivable reason? Those times when your plans are haphazardly thrown to the wayside and you’re kept on your toes?
Well. Those are the times you laugh at the pain, remembering that you’re not alone.
Parenthood ain’t easy — but it’s worth a shot!