Alternative title: This had been bugging me for some time.
I’ve noticed a definite change this week, it’s been a gradual thing over the last seven days but when I come home from work I’ve realised I’m actually looking forward to seeing my little girl.
This I think is directly related to her own developments – she continues to take more and more interest in her surroundings and shows more ranges of facial expressions. Smiles are quite common now and it’s great to come home, pick up our baby and get a big grin from her – the troubles of the day really do melt away.
But on top of her making me happy with her smiles and gurgles – to finally get some feedback after weeks of give give give, I’m relived in myself that those feelings are coming through, that the balance is beginning to be addressed.
It’s all such a slow process that it’s hard to notice. One incident which was quite obvious was a few days ago we went for a walk in a nearby nature reserve. It was a council run reserve and although cheap, was rather disappointing. But I found myself getting very frustrated by bugs and insects flying about, and very protective of our baby if any got near her. One landed on her face and I was infuriated – how dare you land innocently on my baby’s delicate skin! My reaction was so excessive I stepped back and thought “woah, easy there!” After all the self doubt about lack of feelings for my baby, here I am showing rage at a harmless bug!
That made me realise that of course I care a great deal about her, and would do anything to keep her safe. And to me, that sounds fairly normal fatherly behaviour.
There’s hope for this sane dad yet…
I’ve been back at work a few days now and trying to get the balancing act of working office professional by day and sleepless new father by night.
All in all I must say that I believe I have the better deal when making the unavoidable comparison to wifey at home. Work is hard, exhausting, and challenging, but it’s good to have a bit of control over my time – to be tested mental instead of just by endurance and to have conversations that aren’t about sterilising bottles or how many times baby has had their clothes changed.
Compared to the relentless demands of our little one who is growing more alert, sleeping less and becoming grumpy more, I know where I’d rather be.
But I’ve only been doing it a few days, I’m sure I’ll be more worn down over time. We have a rota for the working week – I cover baby duties from when I get home to 11:00 at night, and from 5:00 to 6:30 in the morning before I need to shower and leave for work. So far it’s worked out OK, we’ve had some good and bad night but they even out, and I find the situation a lot easier to manage having these clear boundaries.
I’ve still had some “crashes” following my initial meltdown but they’re getting more manageable. I described it to a colleague as a mourning process for my old childless life. We made this decision to ruin our lives in the nicest possible way 9 months ago and have to work through the transition into becoming a family.