First thoughts on parenting
So, I was that guy. You know, the one that says – “how hard can it be?” “These other parents just aren’t doing it right – you just need to assert your dominance and then the baby will step in line”. “What’s wrong with these other parents?” “How hard is it to get your baby to sleep?” I don’t sleep much anyway, having a baby will be a piece of cake! Follow on to see how being a dad will change your life.
All of the above statements were stupid! I’ll put my hands up to it; I was a naïve fool with delusions of grandeur. Having a baby is one of the most challenging experiences of my life – but also a massively rewarding one.
When I started this blog, I wanted to have a parenting101 section to help other new parents on their journey! I was going to save the world, one family at a time… there are those delusions again. After careful consideration (and a dose of humble pie), I have decided not to dedicate part of this blog to gloating about how fantastic a dad I am and how you should all follow suit. Instead, I will now be recording the fantastic, turbulent and incredible journey of fatherhood (and motherhood – I was the only one with delusions though, she knew it would be incredibly hard).
Being a dad - is it really that hard?
This is a question that will differ from family to family, some children are quite chilled, others – quite demanding. We started off with the most chilled baby (such a nice temperament – calm and loved to nap! It’s funny how things will change. Our little girl is incredibly smart, cute and funny, but sometimes short of patience. She has a very big voice and wants to be heard! Crawling is a no go and walking doesn’t look likely any time soon.
If you enjoyed going out with your friends and spending lots of time watching Netflix, you still can. However, this will definitely impact the relationship you have with your child. Your life has changed, although you may not really mind, your child is worth it and you know it.
Other things that will change
If you like uninterrupted conversations, it may take a little time before you can do that again. I was never really fond of laying in, I would always wake up latest 8am. Currently 6am is a lie in. We used to play board games, binge watch tv shows and go to the theatre… Who knew being a dad would change the status quo so much? Not this guy, that’s for sure. All of these have stopped over the 9 months or so of her life. Yet I’m not resentful, I enjoy every moment with her, even the ones at 3am – for like an hour and a half trying to get her back to sleep and not losing my mind.
It may sound dreadful, however when it’s your own child it’s just different. I can’t explain it, the love I have for her massively outweighs any negatives. I have cancelled on friends because I don’t want to leave her. Maybe she is a little upset and I want to be there to help out, this kind of thing is second nature and everything else takes a back seat, but boy do I miss Monopoly!
There is no right or wrong!
I thought other parents were just doing it wrong – obviously I was super dad! Guess what, there are no right or wrongs! Well obviously, there are -locking your child in the cupboard is very wrong. However, regarding the best options for your child, we can all have opinions based on our experiences or our understanding. What we cannot do is insist that our method of parenting is the “best”. We also can’t accuse other parents of not doing it right, there is no right. Sometimes when you are at breaking point and the child has been crying for hours, the last thing you want is to be judged by someone not in your shoes.
Parenting books - how to be a better dad
There are of course numerous books outlining the dos and don’ts of parenting. They have researched, observed and come to some very vague conclusions – how did they come to these conclusions? Who knows!
The tests that have been carried out generally haven’t been carried out on a large scale. Not enough people involved from different nationalities and backgrounds. For some reason all the advice is so contradictory and vague that it makes the whole thing pointless.
As a new mum and dad you will search for an answer/reason for everything that worries you. These books more often than not will not help you as they all say something different! How could they possibly know what is happening with all children when they are all different? Unless we have a conversation with our 9 month old and she miraculously articulates the ins and outs of her feelings!
So many opinions
Whether it be decisions about vaccinations, when a child should watch tv, breast feeding or bottle feeding, co-sleeping, cry-it-out method or when to put them into nursery… the list is endless. And be sure that EVERYONE has strong opinions on them! Try not to listen to them, they are everywhere. One of the big changes in your life will be that more people want to input on what you are doing and how you are doing it. You can feel judgement even if people aren’t saying anything – again try to ignore it.
So here I will refer to quote from a very wise man:
“ You will find many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view”
Babies don't sleep - biggest change to our life by far
Some people have the audacity to complain that their baby wakes up twice during the night! Ours wakes up every hour and a half! The only people that would be prepared for this are marines who have been through BUDs (Navy Seal training)! Sleep deprivation is no joke and it shouldn’t be messed with. Sleep deprivation will make you fat! I was training 5 days a week prior to the Covid19 lockdown (2020) and watching what I was eating, not completely clean but clean enough for weight loss. This made no difference – I gained a lot of weight. Not sleeping has also shed years off my life – I don’t mean I look younger!
Normally I’m super-efficient, like massively efficient! Now only a little more efficient than a regular person. 😊 I still wake up occasionally at 5am to do work or to workout, but lack of sleep really messes with your motivation and your diet! My wife is now the same weight she was before she had our baby and I’m fatter, go figure! For more information on sleep, there is a fantastic book called Why we sleep – it turns out most of the things I have spoken about are caused by lack of sleep
Conclusion of an initially arrogant father…
Having a child is wonderful and I wouldn’t change it. I would however say don’t rush into it and make sure you are at a stage in your life and your relationship where you are mentally strong and have done many of the things you wanted to do. It can be taxing on your relationship when you’re both sleep deprived and realising that having a baby isn’t as easy as you first thought – so make sure you and your partner are on the same page and communicate (well, as much as you can with a screaming child)! Enjoy it and remember there are no right and wrong answers (don’t lock your child in a cupboard though), just do your best and enjoy the ride!
Visit us again to check out some tips and hints we learn on our parenting journey, as well as some items that we have bought along the way that have made the experience a little easier.
Although I don’t really believe in parenting books, the one below is definitely worth a read! It is less a book on how to get your baby to do things, more on how to be a good parent. It does this by addressing things about yourself. If reading books isn’t really your thing – click the Audible icon to sign up using the free trial.
Also if you’re finding parenting is starting to burn a huge hole in your pocket- check out our first investing post.