Before becoming a father, I had this idea in my head about what being a dad was all about. I had it all planned out. I knew what type of parent I wanted to be. I knew how I was going to make every thing work. I was going to be a legendary dad and do everything right all the time.
And then bubs came along, and all of that got thrown straight out the window…
From the very first moment I saw his beautiful little face, in between all of the love and adoration I was feeling, was this lingering sense of “what the fuck have I got myself into”.
See, nobody actually tells you how things are going to be. Post-newborn parents like to crack jokes like “make sure you get plenty of sleep before the baby comes”. You laugh along with them, not realising that they aren’t joking. Not realising they are actually a bunch of sadists who are enjoying the fact that you are about to go through the same torture they once went through themselves. Their giggles aren’t friendly banter. They lost their minds years ago.
I use to wonder why so many of the young parents I knew would end up separated within the first year of having a kid. Others just seemed to have only negative things to say about being a parent. I didn’t understand. Why the fuck did you have a kid if you didn’t want to deal with the trials of being a parent.
But I get it now.
It’s fucking hard.
And there isn’t anything that can really prepare you for it.
It will test your will power. It will test your relationships. It will test your ability to function without sleep.
It’s not like getting a new puppy. Bring him home and just give it some food and hope it doesn’t piss on the carpet.
A newborn literally can’t do anything. It needs you every second of every day. And you have to be on the ball, regardless of how you feel. When he decides its time to eat or poop, you will sort that out for him. No questions buddy.
You will question yourself. Constantly wondering if you are doing the right thing. But you don’t need to worry about that too much, as everyone else will be more than willing to let you know how it’s “suppose” to be done. Hundreds of different opinions. Just have to pick one and hope it works out I guess.
Clock time no longer exists. You are running on baby time now. When you are on baby time, it’s always a good time for breakfast. Two thirty in the morning? Hell yea let’s eat. 11:30 at night? Fuck oath get me some milk dad! Half and hour after eating first breakfast? Yaaaaaas time for second breakfast.
Going anywhere at all becomes a mission. The amount of gear you need to remember is astonishing. I use to struggle with the big three before baby was around. Wallet, keys, phone. Now there’s an itinerary for a trip to IGA for some milk.
You wana hope you and your partner built a strong foundation before bubs got here. Because when he’s screaming at three in the morning and you can’t figure out what the fuck he wants, and you get so unbelievably frustrated, there’s a good chance that frustration will get re-routed to the closest target. Just make sure you both understand that you are in the exact same boat. You need to be doing this as a team.
Even if you have the absolute worst day at work. Once you get home, you need to get into dad mode. Mums been doing it all day and needs some rest. You take baby, but he just won’t stop crying. Nothing you try is working. He can’t tell you either. So you sit there rocking back and forth, wondering what the hell you are going to do.
Then suddenly he stops…
And he makes a weird little “gooo” sound.
Then he falls asleep.
And it is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen in your entire life, and you remember that this is what you have always wanted, and that you wouldn’t change a thing.
Having a baby won’t make you happy. Happy is to simple of a word to use to describe how it will make you feel. It’s crazy, stressful, beautiful, agonising, tedious, amazing, wonderfull…. All the emotions. All squashed into one little baby shaped package.
And it is the best thing you will ever do.
If you can survive it..