This week my baby girl is 25 weeks old. It’s been an incredible journey which is both blessing and teaching my wife I many, many things. I think the main and most obvious thing is quite simply how much it is possible to love a baby.
Cards on the table, I’m wasn’t a baby person. Sorry, I just wasn’t. And, it probably won’t come as a surprise that I’m still not. Some things haven’t changed! I don’t now walk down the street and start coo’ing when I see a baby (I do when I see a dog, but that’s a different story) and I’m still not comfortable around other people’s babies and children. Nothing against them, but I would just rather chill out with their pet dogs. Babies are just not my thing. But my baby is different. People said that this would be the case and I didn’t believe them. And I am so glad I was wrong…
My daughter. I love her so much. Even when woken up at the early hours, it’s a pleasure to see her. I mean I’ll be honest, as soon as she was born she was amazing. But it’s not until about 3 months in that she started to recognise me. That’s when the real emotions started to hit me. I can’t get enough of her, she’s hilarious, cuddly and just all-round amazing. To top it all off, somehow in some way, the more I love her – the more I love my wife too. It’s like a whole new appreciation for my family.
I don’t post a lot of photos of my baby girl online, and people ask me why. Well, that’s simple. I believe it’s her right to choose when photos and her name and her birthday and her profile go online. We live in a brand new computerised age, which is so exciting, but also daunting. I don’t want to take away a level of privacy that she may one day wish she had. Having said all this, I want to say that it’s not a reflection on my passion for my baby. I am more proud of my daughter than I could ever express. I’m totally biased, as most parents are. But she’s cuter, smarter, funnier and has more character than any baby I have ever known.
Here’s 5 of the many, many things I’ve learned 25 weeks into fatherhood….
1. Sleep isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Ok, as I’m sure a future blog post will explain, there are a lot of factors here. But for the most part, I am amazed at how little sleep I actually need. I think the amount of sleep that I WANT is a different argument altogether. But on occasion, I will wake up at the end of just one sleep cycle at 3am and be perfectly fine to be awake for the rest of the day. But that’s nothing compared to my wife…
2. How amazing my wife is.
Seeing my wife go from being the best wife to best wife AND mum is nothing short of inspirational. She will do anything to ensure our baby girl is safe, happy and comfortable. My wife is my inspiration and without a doubt does twice the amount that I do and more. Mum’s everywhere deserve medals, but my baby’s got the best mum ever. I’ll never forget how much she has already done as a mum and we aren’t even 6 months in. It just makes me love her even more.
3. Family is better than work.
From the moment we knew my wife was expecting, my work ethic immediately changed. Self-employed, I went into overdrive. There is an instant pressure on the father to earn enough for his family. My wife works too, but since she was handling the growing-a-baby bit, I thought the best thing I could do was get as much traction as possible to help us financially. Turns out that no matter how hard you try, it’s never enough. And I quickly found myself in a spiral of working to fund my family which actually took me away from my family. At about month 2 or 3, this became a problem for me. I’m still learning, but the one thing I am determined to do is put family time above paid time. One of the many things that makes this easier, is the results. Sure the money pays the bills, but the smiles from my baby girl and the time with my wife FAR outweighs any of it.
4. Family is better than commitments.
Early on in out marriage, I was in danger of letting some commitments take precedent over my relationship with my wife. Inexcusable. Since then I have always tried to prioritise her. And that goes the same for my baby. Not just with work, but with other things too. If my family need me, it’s where I need to be. Everything else has to take a back seat. Sometimes that’s hard, but it’s a choice I’m proud to make as a husband and a dad.
5. Family is together.
Before we had a baby my wife, my dog and I would enjoy our relaxing together. We are sofa people. Happy to sit with snacks and watch TV boxsets and Movies to relax. We don’t get to do that so much now but we try to as much as we can. I think one of the most valuable pieces of advice someone gave us before we had our baby was this: “Welcome her into your world, don’t revolve your world around hers”. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. It’s meant watching more Disney films than thrillers (not that I mind at all!) but it’s working so well so far. She knows she’s loved and she knows she has our attention 90% of the time right now – but she’ll also grow up knowing it’s not just about her. It’s about my wife and it’s about my dog and it’s even (every now and again) a little bit about me. It’s about US all-together, the family unit. It’s not about ignoring her desires but placing them within a part of ours. That we all work together. And let’s face it, if she likes toys and Disney – her passions aren’t gonna be too different to mine anyway.
All in all we’re trying to be the best parents we can. And that’s all we can do. We love her and I’m pretty sure she loves us back. And hey, right now, when she’s just 25 weeks old, I’d give her anything she wants anyway. She even had my pizza the other day. #BadDad or #BestDad ? I think she’d vote the latter, it was pepperoni stuffed crust.