Trial & Error- Tips & Advice For New Dads – Never Enough Time
As a dad we came out pretty good in this whole fatherhood thing. We don't have to incubate a fetus for nine months, we don't go through the pain of child birth and we certainly don't have to deliver when it comes to breastfeeding. Basically, our job lasted all of about 10 minutes (not quite that long if you ask her) in the beginning and nothing but emotional support (AKA dealing with the crazy hormones that control your wife's brain) until it comes time to change a diaper.
This is not to say we don't deal with the process of birthing a child. We're there for the sonograms, the appointments and now that we're in the 21st century most of us are in the delivery room as it happens (never, ever look at the business end of child birth, guys). Women, however, see it differently. We've twiddled our thumbs for the past nine months and by God we're going to make up for lost time. It may be labeled postpartum depression, but it's sprinkled with revenge for the actual child birth. **Please understand I'm not intending to make light of postpartum depression** All you can do as a new dad is to not take it personally and do all you can to appear as busy as possible during all waking hours.
People say to enjoy every minute because one day you'll blink and it'll be time for college and you'll wonder where time went. Not me. I remember every dirty diaper. I remember the nights with a vomiting baby. I remember every tantrum. If you move forward a couple years you begin to see the pendulum swing to the opposite end of the spectrum. While it used to be about, "It's your turn. You have to change him", to, "I really wish I could be there, but I've got to work". Once your boy or girl turns five years old they begin to find their own interests, and their own interests are after school. That means you've got to have a ride there and back. If you've got a boy in Cub Scouts and a seasonal sport, chances are good that you're out a minimum of four nights a week.
My work situation is unique in that I don't get off at 5 o'clock like a lot of folks do. In addition to working later at work, I also spend a lot of time outside of work doing remote broadcasts or some other work-related activity for extra money on the side. That's how radio DJs survive in the 21st century. If I got off at 5 o'clock every day of the week I'd be able to commit to coaching a team for my son. There have been seasons in the past where the league is desperate for a coach, but my ever-changing work schedule keeps me from doing that. This craziness with work puts my wonderful wife back in the position she was in during pregnancy... doing all the work while I do my thing.
There's a matter of can/can't when it comes to making certain practices or events. I have found that it's always important to make a "first". When you don't make a "first" you feel terrible. I recently missed my son's first swim meet ever, and I felt terrible. A work commitment I'd made in January kept me away. He told me he was glad I wasn't there because he didn't do as well as he'd hoped, but I know what it feels like to not have your dad around to watch you do your thing. My dad was on the road a lot with his Air Force job when I was young. While I understood (as well I'm sure my son understands) that my dad had to do his job, it still sucked to not have him there (as well I'm sure it sucks for my son).
That's just the world we live in. That's the job I chose to take. I love what I do, and I'm sure the day will come where I regret not taking my foot off the accelerator at work and putting forth more effort to be there for my two boys. If you're in a similar situation as a new dad, don't dwell on what you can't do, enjoy the time you do have. When you can't be there to see it first-hand, ask your wife (or someone else) to take video so you can at least see it. It's never as good as the real thing, but who knows? If you're a new dad, maybe by the time your kid is ready to play ball, the advances in video technology will make it look like you're really there.