Today I want to look back. Back to almost 8 weeks of being a first time dad.
The first 3 weeks were very busy. As I wrote previously, we had to go back to hospital and in between us getting used to the new addition to our family, I had to go and find myself a job. But it all worked out and after we had him 3 and a half weeks, I went back to work. Maybe that is what the horoscope on Friday was all about?
Looking back my job change could have not come at a better time. I had over 3 weeks with my little Colin Heinrich, could feed him, change him, bath him. However, already then I noticed that my wife took over quite a lot. And, I want to be honest, I not only let her but really liked her to. This is not because I don’t want to deal with him and his mess, or I don’t want to be responsible for him but the idea my wife and I have is that she will stay at home as long as possible to take care of him.
So will we have a typical 1950s marriage where Jenny is the housewife and I am the husband and bread winner? I don’t hope so, and Jenny surely doesn’t think so 😉 I always say to Jenny she is the home manager, e.g. she needs to delegate to me what needs to be done and I rely on her being able to manage the household. This includes for instance to iron my shirts. We both hate it, so she is managing me to outsource it 🙂 Luckily there is a dry cleaner and ironing shop down the road which takes care of the problem. I even suggested a cleaner but at the moment we are managing and wanting to manage without one. However, this might change, so I can focus on work and the family at the weekend, and Jenny can solely spend all her energy for the boy. I believe this is a perfect life?
Whilst this sounds very posh, it is not. I hardly know anyone in our situation who doesn’t outsource some of the house work when having a child and the other partner is working, in my case I leave the house at 7.45 am and normally return about the same time in the evening. Living in London comes with a long commute and a career with long hours in the office. But as dedicated as I am to my job, as dedicated is Jenny to having children and a family. The perfect symbiosis.
So looking at the situation after 8 weeks I notice that Jenny does all night time feeds. That works out fine, so that I get 5 hours of sleep in one go, sometimes a bit longer. But I still wake up and you don’t sleep as well because you listen whether the boy is crying or not. And I don’t mind getting up if I have to, but find it difficult to be up most of the night and then go to work. Before he was born, I was sure that I could cope with little sleep much better, but after about 6 weeks, it starts wearing you down. With new feeding habits we even get a little bit longer to sleep and I use the weekend afternoons for another nap to catch up on some sleep.
Also, I was complaining a while ago that I didn’t get enough back from Colin. But that changed a lot. He is now following you with his eyes, builds stronger rapport and is more interactive. He smiles at you whilst you rock him to sleep or when you tickle him. Or when he has a poo 😉
The older the baby gets, the more interactive it becomes and the more I enjoy it. I cannot say that I didn’t enjoy it before but the joy increases day by day. He now settles easier (most times) and daddy is used to changing nappies or bathing him. However, with increased work load, I see less of the boy during the week because we trying to get him used to going to bed early. That is surely something I don’t enjoy but cannot change.
Often, when I talk to older folk, they say that they regretted that they didn’t see their children growing up because of work and extracurricular activities. However, I do not not see him growing up, I just see less of it. I make up by standing on his cot before I go to bed or trying to spend more time with him at the weekend. It is either that or giving up my job and career which I so much enjoy. And that is not an option, also because I am the “classic bread winner” 😉
So after 8 weeks I can look back and say that it was all well worth it and … that people are right saying that having a baby is more work than anyone ever tell you it is!