As a new father, I fully expected things to be pretty full on after the birth and nothing will compare. Thrust into a world of the unknown you have a new dependant that will take up all your time (and money). Looking back its quite a blur as the days bled into each other and months mixed themselves up. I’m giving these views 8 months down the line.
5 things that I experienced as a new father and a gentle warning of things to expect to any prospecting dads out there.
Tiredness. It’s a killer and I still haven’t fully recovered from sleep deprivation (doubt I will) – Sorry there is no dressing this up as something nice. When I say tiredness I don’t me the type when you get in at 5am from a night on the lash. I ‘m talking the waking up in the twilight hours and actually having to do stuff with precision; for example, changing a nappy. Get that incorrectly fitted and you’re in all sorts of mess with the word ‘pootopia’ springing to mind. Sorting out your ‘muddy fingers’ after changing an ill fitted nappy isn’t hot on my list of must do’s. Making a bottle – If you manged to get down the stairs without breaking your neck or rupturing your spleen, eyes only prised open by 1mm then pat yourself on the back. The minutes that it takes to make a bottle will be the longest EVER. All backed up with the soundtrack of a crying baby, you just plead for the milk to cool down and bring a halt to the ear shattering noise – amplified tenfold at an ungodly hour. These stolen minutes are some you will never get back, sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
Noises. Specifically baby noises. Everything heard will make you worry or questions your own instincts. Linked to tiredness, you will sleep with one ear open ready to jump up at the slightest murmur or movement just to check everything is OK. Google and Mumsnet will become your best friend with nothing is too obscure to search: ‘My baby seems to be grunting’, ‘Is wheezing normal whilst sleeping?’ and ‘Baby said hello at 3 days old, is this possible?’. Be safe in the knowledge that after a while you will get to know your tiny human and what normal/weird noises they make.
Uselessness. I’m not alone here I guarantee it. In the days/weeks/months after birth the only real thing your baby needs is its mother. Likewise, it will take over your partner’s life (given) with their need to provide and nurture. Every new father will feel like they are rendered useless at some point, and think there must be more you could do to help. Do not feel this way in the slightest. Just being present and providing support to your partner is as crucial as breastfeeding or changing a nappy. You will become a bit of an errand boy but it all helps.
Food. Probably should have put this top of the list to be honest! What man doesn’t think about food as much as sex? Once you go back to work from your measly 2 weeks paternity leave, don’t EVER think you’ll be getting a lovely home cooked meal upon your return. Fat chance. If you even dare to question it, be ready to feel the wrath of Satan coming from your partner. Admit, after a day away from your baby you’ll want your fair share of cuddle’s but after that hunger with prevail. I get ‘Hangry’ and without food I’m a bit of an arsehole. Sound similar? No nipping to the fridge for a snack, it will sparse with only condiments and maybe some mouldy cheese to show.
It’s highly doubtful but if you haven’t already got a Just Eat account set up, do it now and save the minutes from likely starvation. Just Eat will be your saviour – Trust me, within around 2 months you’ll know your championship Chinese, king kebab and perfect pizza shops in the area with the fastest delivery times. Top tip keep an eye out for places offering midweek deals.
House. Give it a week or so and step out of the baby bubble, looking around you could easily mistake the place from looking like its been ransacked by burglars. It just wont be the same for a while. I’m talking months not weeks. Give up looking for something you saw days ago, it’s probably buried under a pile of sick covered muslin’s somewhere. You will not blink an eye at an inconspicuous stain on the sofa, nothing will stop you taking the weight of your feet for a few minutes. *Annnnnd relax*. Cleaning regimes just go straight out of the window, full stop. I remember our stairs became a new storage area/trip hazard game. I must have walked past all the stuff piled up numerous times a day. Still found it difficult to motivate myself to pick the stuff up and move upstairs. Parenting.
Keep these in mind when your squishy one arrives.