Dads, my hat goes off to you. You’ve got a tough gig in this day and age. You’re expected to love and bond with this teeny baby without the benefit of all the gooey hormones we get during pregnancy, delivery, and through nursing. You’re expected to take care of us while we are taking care of this baby, but the truth is that no matter how much we love you, there isn’t a lot left in the tank for taking care of you. You are expected to be tough and sensitive, the provider and the caregiver.
When you came home from work, I used to rub your feet and have dinner ready. I’d be excited and couldn’t wait to talk about how our days went. I even re-arranged my schedule so that I worked 7am (sometimes earlier) to 4pm so that I could be home when you got home and have dinner going. And, I didn’t look like a total disaster ALL THE TIME. I never had vomit or poop on me or in my hair. In fact, my hair probably smelled like shampoo, because I WASHED it. I know!! Crazy. I was able to take care of myself… and when I feel pretty, I am much more into you being into me. I don’t believe you when you tell me I’m pretty when I haven’t showered, haven’t slept, probably haven’t changed in a day or two, have breast milk leaking through my shirt and the house is a mess. Oh, and remember that rad job I used to have that made me feel valued and contributed financially to our household? – well that’s gone too.
Some days, I feel like I’m failing at everything. I just have this teeny bundle of love that doesn’t sleep and sometimes cries for what feels like hours on end even though I’m doing everything I can think of. I am bone dead exhausted. I know you think I’m beautiful and that in your eyes, all of this makes me even more beautiful; it’s just going to take me some time to believe you.
Then here comes dad – you are expected to work all day when I’m home with the baby, and then I sprint to you like my life depends on it when you get home and tag the effff out, because, dying over here after 6 weeks of zero sleep. Here is your baby. And don’t you dare call it “babysitting” when you’re watching your own kid or I might punch you in the face. There is no dinner, no foot rubs, and I don’t know if I have the mental capacity to truly care about your day. You kindly ask me how my day was, “what did you do?” WHAT DID I DO?? I KEPT THE BABY ALIVE. That’s it. I may or may not have screamed that at my husband one day when he asked me what I did all day. In my crazy sleep deprived mind, it was a judgy accusation of how I had done absolutely nothing, but in reality the poor guy was just trying to make normal conversation. Deep breaths. I love you. This too shall pass (and then I’ll miss it).
Dads, you are amazing. Thank you for supporting us. Now that the kids are bigger and I’m not a tired hormonal terrorist, you get to do a lot of the fun stuff. When you get home, the kids drop everything and run into your arms screaming “baba!!!” When I get home, the kids usually just tell me they are hungry and want a snack.
I am their personal assistant and chauffeur who keeps them on task and gets them to all of their calendared events on time. You get to do the wrestling and horsing around, launching kids into the pool with your phenomenal dad-strength. You’re the guy who cheers for them at games, and lets them stay up after bedtime, and do all the cool stuff like riding bikes and skateboards and using power tools. (Vacuum anyone?? It’s super cool).
So dad, if you’re in the baby stage, hang in there. That little bundle of poop will someday launch herself into your arms with an “I love you daddy” and look you in the eye like you are her whole world, because you are.