Fatherhood - 2 weeks in

Leaving the house this morning for work felt a whole lot different than it did the last time I saddled up for the office in December. I knew it would, but I underestimated the emotion involved. This wasn't just a new year - but rather - a new life. A father's role today (more specifically -my role) is dual: provide for the family, and bond with the new baby. The first part used to come pretty naturally - waking up, going to work, going to school, paying the mortgage. I actually enjoyed a great bit of it.

But this morning, something changed.

I'm sure the same thing happened to millions of new fathers across the globe in countless cultures. Instead of the job being something that used me, I started to look at the job as something I can use. The role I have at the office is NOW just a minor part of my life. Although I still love every single second of my work, it no longer carries the same meaning. (I'm not trying to be profound here, I'm just saying what I feel.) Nary a sane man can look at these photos and not feel the same way I do.

Nat sent me a few photos and a video from her day today and it made me ache to be home. I'm sure this 'newness' will eventually wear off, but right now, I can't stand to be away. Where I work is like no other place on earth, but after the past few weeks, I've come to realize that it just a job - a great job at that, but what really counts is a happy and healthy wife and daughter.

Like I've said elsewhere previously, we've only had her for a small time, but I couldn't imagine life without her. However, in those 2+ weeks, there are a few things I discovered that I enjoy and a few, well, not so much. As a waymarker down the path of fatherhood, here's my list 2 weeks in.

Good: The pureness in her. I've never been associated with something so wonderful and pure. She lights up my life (even with all the spit up and diapers - more on that below). After talking with (at least) one dad about the 'connection' that appears and grows between fathers and children, I'm pleased to report that we're well down that path.

Good: Diaper changing. I really don't shy away from changing her diapers. Maybe it is the 'process' part of my brain, but if all the supplies are there, I'll change a diaper any day of the week. The movements, the subtleties, the purpose - I envision myself in some sort of diaper 'pit row'. I think I can take most other "new" dads.

Good: Moving cars/strollers. Didn't take me long to figure this one out: babies like movement. Being the middle of winter, our stroller isn't getting put through its proper paces, but I've made sure to move the dining room table over a bit so I can scoot by with her strapped in. A few minutes of rolling around and she usually settles down.

Good: Portability. I'm aware that this will, indeed, change, but for now, the babe is incredibly portable. 2 dinners out already and she sleeps (in her car seat) right through them. Pre-tay, pre-tay, pre-tay nice.

Bad: The guilt. With a breast-feeding wife, I'm working with a serious resource limitation. The tools at my disposal are the basics: changing of diapers, bouncing around, and a tight swaddle. I can't give as much to the babe as Nat can - and I know that will change - but for now, it feels like I'm not pulling my full weight.

Bad: The lack of response. Sure, I get a few smiles, but for the most part, that's just gas. If she's clean, full, and not too cold, all is well. But that's about all that matters now. I yearn for the day when I can make her (genuinely) smile and react to the world and to me.

In Between: Baby farts. No one told me about these! Maybe my girl is more gaseous than most, but she is LOUD and forceful. Kinda funny, but kinda not.


  1. This post made me think of when I ended my "manternity leave" with Stella and went back to work, a very emotional day that was. Sounds like you're doing a great job so far Jake, although I think I can take you in a diaper challenge (but maybe I'm not a "new" dad anymore). Will it be cloth or disposable?


  2. Give me a few more months and you have a challenge. We have the cloth ones, but haven't tried them yet!

  3. Your post reminds me of when Ian was small. I'm sure John felt much like you did as you left for work that first day back. Being a new parent is probably the most precious time in your life. Nothing in life compares to being handed your brand new little babe, seeing her smile for the first time (which will happen before you know it!), even changing those tiny, messy, little, diapers.

    I'm so glad you and Natalie found each other and made little Eloise. Your love for each other is a wonderful thing to witness. :)

    Don't worry about any of your 'bad' points, Nat may have her own list too. Both your lists will cancel each other out and all will be well.

    Oh, btw, most breastfed babies have the explosive gaseous emissions you spoke of...they were usually followed up by, what we lovingly referred to as, "blow up diapers" lol

    d xoxoxo


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