I started writing this post back in 2017 and never really got to finish. I was writing my thoughts on becoming a father for the first time and the sudden change and challenges that I may be faced with… so now that I am a father (of a very cheeky 3 year old little girl and nearly 1 year old boy) I’ll now share my thoughts on how to deal with the changes that are now a part of life.
Becoming a father is something that I have wanted all my life without question… but with the reality of Sara giving birth at the end of August (2017), was I really ready for the constant crying? Lack of sleep? Exhausted bank balance? And inappropriate bowel movements?
Its true that your partner will be going through her ‘nesting’ cycle and preparing for this little bebe to enter the world but what about the man of the house? How am I going to deal with the sudden change?…
Practice makes perfect right? Well no, in this case practice doesn’t make perfect, it just decreases the chances of fucking up. Thanks to my brother and his lovely partner, I became an uncle for the first time back in 2016. Hayley is her name and cuteness is her game. She provided me with just enough minutes of ‘holding’ practice that I am now confident I’d be able to hold my new born baby with hands safer than Leo Barry taking a mark in the dying moments of the 2005 AFL Grand Final.
For most women, holding new born babies can come quite naturally but for men this somewhat simple tasks induces fear and panic for a man. ‘Don’t give me that thing’ or ‘hope I don’t get asked to hold it’ is what you mumble in your head as you’re dragged to yet another BBQ or 1st birthday where there is a shit tonne of little grommets and football sized humans playing about. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the occasional BBQ filled with kids floating about and as I entered my early 30s, it is going to become more frequent.
I’m just saying a lot of guys would rather drop off their other half, head to the pub or their mate Bazza’s house, lubricate the neck and watch a bit of footy on the big screen, without the chance of treading on a pint sized little snot demon. We can only dream.
Although if you do have a niece or nephew, or do get subjected to these sorts of BBQ’s then if you need a bit of match day simulated practice holding a baby then its not such a bad thing. You’ll probably find you can multitask holding a baby in one hand and a cold one in the other.
Whilst Sara was pregnant I was always hounding her to make us rich by inventing something Mum’s and Dads around the world would go crazy for and throw a shit load of cash at. Obviously we didn’t create something and become rich but I did keep pestering her to make a little newborn carrier that could be use by heavy handed males so that the baby could be moved without disturbing it. I know there a plenty of baby carriers where your child can sleep and be moved around the house but I wanted something lightweight and small, or even interwoven into the sleep suit so you can easily move the baby around.
My plans and thoughts about the product were often lost in translation when trying to design it with Sara but with the aid of her sewing machine and a few hours we created something that had potential ‘lawsuit’ written all over it.
Voila! There it was. With a Safe Working Load of 3.5kgs, we weren’t too confident that the straps would hold. I can imagine it now… ‘Ma’am, why have you come into emergency today?’ the triage nurse would say with an accusing stare. ‘Well, it all stared months ago when my idiot husband convinced me to make this contraption that could pick up and move the baby all around the house without disturbing her…’ my missus trying desperately to side shift the blame all to me… but look at her smile in the photo above?!?! ‘Why wouldn’t you just use your hands to pick the child up like normal people?’ the triage nurse exclaimed…. Sara turns to me with that stare all men get on a weekly basis. ‘You know this could have all been avoided if you went to Billie’s 1st birthday last summer and learned to hold a kid, instead of ducking over to Johnny’s house and smashing half a slab before heading over to your brothers house for dinner and pretending your niece was a football…’ I stare blankly at the emergency room TV showing Karl Stefanovic on the today show wearing the same blue suit he had on for a whole year straight… how’d he get away with that?
Being prepared for having a child come as a no brainer, but even the best laid plans can turn to shit if not done properly. Or if you’re the women who goes to the toilet one day and ‘whoops! what the fuck is that sitting in the toilet!’ Congratulations, you’re now a parent… and you and your partner thought she’d just eaten too many cupcakes last week…
Fortunately for me, my missus starts showing her pregnancy at the smell of sperm and egg combining… Yay! What I’m trying to saying is be as prepared as practically possible. The reality is… You are going to get bombarded advice from books, google searches, pamphlets, midwives, nosy parents, nosy grandparents, nosy neighbours, the Coles checkout chick, Mary from your missus yoga class, Charlenne from Centrelink as you sit waiting to see someone about child benefit payments. Her advice? as she rangles 3 out of control kids and one hanging off the boob… ‘the more you have the more cash the government gives ya…’ sound advice Chazza.
Point is, advice can go a long way helping you prepare for the incoming arrival. Just don’t take everything as gospel. Each pregnancy and child you might have will be completely different from the other. Go with your missus to the antenatal class that she’s been harping on about for the last 10 weeks. You might actually learn something that can help. Along the way your partner will make some dubious calls on whats needed for when baby gets here. ‘Hunny, we need this 3k pram with advanced traction control and lane sensing capabilities. You know the one where I can text my girlfriends hands free about champagne lunches while the pram steers itself out of the way of oncoming traffic?…’ or 3 bassinets, one for each room of the house plus this new (help baby sleep cot) that is a must have for any new parent. It’s a bargin because it comes with a reduced sleep-easy mattress. Down from $2499 to $1999. We’d be crazy not to buy it right? Also remember to buy 10 of everything in size 0000, 000, and 00. Ahh that’s right, we aren’t finding out the sex of the kid until its born, so we’ll need some in boy/girl and unisex colours… ‘don’t worry hunny, we’ll exchange them when we find out that Lily was really a Billy… you won’t, and Dads main man Billy will constantly get ‘what a cute little girl she is’ when the local geriatric spits their falseys into the pram while down the street trying to find a parents changeroom because little shitbreak has poo explosioned all up his back while at the chemist buying baby formula.
For the Dads out there, my advice on being prepared is really just being on the same page as your partner. I found that Car seats, Prams, and cots were one thing I didn’t compromise with Sara. If you spend a little extra at the start it won’t cost you in the future. Take all advice on board but definitely make sure you guys are doing your own thing… What worked ‘back in my day’ or ‘for your best mates kid’ might not work for you.
Babymoon…. I mean Boys trip….
Now I’m not saying don’t go on one last holiday with your missus before she cranks out the travel stopper. Do it… What I’m saying is a man needs one last hurrah before he’s slapped with nappy duties and ‘I need you to go down the street while I’m pumping and pick up more maternity pads, and while you’re at it, drive past Maccas and pick up a large chips…’ You’ll happily scoot off down the street because it gets you out of the constant screaming house that you’re now accustomed too.
After picking up the maternity pads from the chemist and jokingly say to the pimply faced cashier ‘they’re for me missus’ he smiles and gives you a sympathy laugh as you exit with your tail between your legs. ‘Smartarse little shit, you wait 10 years.’ While waiting at the Maccas window for your large chips, you peer across the road to what almost looks like paradise… Man friends! Enjoying themselves in the beer garden, having a great time together. Now with your kid a few months old, you realise you haven’t seen your mates for a year now. Don’t you wish you went up the coast with them last summer when Dave booked that AirBnB? Ohh well. You were too busy searching the internet about what’s better for baby… organic disposable nappies or do we go cloth?
I think a bloke who is about to have his first child needs to have a weekend away with his mates before the baby arrives… this is his chance to fully appreciate what he is about to lose or gain. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Most blokes understand that all they really need is bevos, sport, and a place to relax, but getting away is essential. My good mates all live a few hours away from me so catching up with all at once can be a little tricky at times.
That’s about it for now… I have plenty more advice to give if you’d like to hear it so let me know… If this post was too long then here is a picture of some rad hot sauce…