I’d been meaning to write this post for a while, but was finally motivated to do it when reading this post by Mothers always right. Firstly this post is not intended to in any way to belittle how tough it is being a mum and what an amazing role mums perform, the lady of the manor is proof of that. But often I think it is overlooked how hard it can be for a new dad and I speak here from my personal perspective over the past 9 weeks since Matilda was born.
It begins in the delivery suite, if you want a definition of a man feeling helpless it is this moment, you can be supportive and motivating all day but ultimately you have to sit back and watch in awe as your lady takes care of business so to speak. You are stripped of any opportunity to ‘be a man’ or demonstrate any of the qualities that we have evolved to have. You almost feel a little surplus to requirements.
Then you get home and the adrenaline and excitement wears off leaving you with the sleep deprived reality of the situation. Matilda was being breast fed so my role was tea boy, nappy changer and baby pacifier whenever she was crying. Fun times, although it was alright because I had all that paternity leave to get to know her right? Well those 2 days passed pretty quickly and then it was back to work (yes I know you can take 2 weeks on statutory pay, but who can afford to do that?).
Back to work and back to leaving the house at 7am 5 days a week and getting home at 6.30pm. The lady of the manor has done such a good job getting her settled in a routine, unfortunately that does mean that she’s asleep when I get home. I get a cuddle at 11pm when I do a dream feed, but that’s not really an opportunity to bond is it? I’m slowly becoming precisely the dad that I said I never would. One who doesn’t know how to look after his children or know their routine and what they need. I want to be the dad that knows exactly how to cheer his little girl when she cries, who knows what her favourite food is and one that reads her a bedtime story every night.
On Thursday I worked from home and realised what I’m missing, Matilda sat laughing and gurgling while the lady of the manor chatted to her. My little girl is changing every day and I hate the fact that she wouldn’t smile for my like she did for the lady of the manor. So I need to change, I need to start spending time playing and interacting with her whenever I can. I need to forget the to-do list and jobs around the house and just relax, not something that I’m always very good at. A portion of the weekend needs to become dad time so we can have some quality time together. Today being father’s day I did exactly that (after a small lie in of course), a fabulous cuddle on the sofa with my wee girl and the Brackster (who never passes up the opportunity for a cuddle).
Some other changes may be needed in the future if I’m going to be the dad that I really want to be, but for now this will do. My little girl smiles at me as I enter the room, what more can a man ask for?