Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Becoming a father has been one of the biggest challenges of my life so far.  And he's only 4 months old!  I can't begin to tell you how I am worried already about broken bones and trips to the dentist and his defiant attitude that is only so far away.  But, I think I'm doing alright.  Taking the first week of his life off from work was a great decision and I was really able to take care of my family and bond with Ross, and not to mention I got to change a couple hundred diapers!  It was hard to go back to work, but not nearly as hard as when Sarah went back to work.  She only works about two days a week, but on those days, I hardly see Ross at all.  And I hear storied of how he is doing all kinds of neat stuff at grandma's house that I never get to witness.  It's pretty hard sometimes.  But only in that I miss him, and want to hold him and interact with him.  

The first several weeks, all the constant crying was hard, but I got some good advice from two people that really helped.  First, a coworker said (from experience) - you need to get some good earplugs, to take the edge off of the screaming, allowing you to calm down enough to still do what you need to do.  See a baby's cry is designed by God to absolutely shoot right through a man like nothing else, and that's so we'll do something about it.  But the earplugs were great - I only used them twice, but both times I was able to not get SO tense that I got frazzled.  The other advice came from Sarah, and she said, when you start getting upset, just hand him off to me.  I at first wanted so much to be able to "handle it" that I would fight the urge to call her in - like I couldn't take care of my own crying baby!  But she was right, sometimes you just need to switch off - when you are tense, the baby senses that and you won't be able to calm it down because you're not calm.  (Coincidently, I got to be the calmer one once recently, and now I understand the full circle of it).  

It is difficult, but I wouldn't change a thing!  I love Ross, and I like having a baby around, and I can't wait for the things he is going to do in the future (famous last words, I know).  But I was quite surprised to hear a piece on the morning news this morning that suggested that new fathers are very susceptible to depression because it's so hard, and you should seek counseling and anti-depressants to handle it.  They even recommended visiting a website called www.saddaddy.com .  That IS sad.  I wonder if some of the dads who are that depressed were actually ready (commitment wise) for fatherhood, or if they sort of became daddies and it wasn't their desire at that time.  My advice to anyone out there thinking of becoming a father soon - go spend some real time with couples who have infants and young toddlers and talk to them.  Hold their babies and play with their kids, and maybe even change a diaper (although really, it's not nearly as bad as you think it will be - honest!).  Sarah and I have kept up good communication since Ross was born, and we have been able to alter things for the family as needed.  I was spending Saturdays golfing for a couple weeks and then studying in the evenings, and wasn't really spending quality time with the family.  We talked about this and I changed my priorities and schedule and it's been better for all of us.   And future dads, talk to other dads, and ask them the questions you really want to know, and how they have dealt with things.  Most assuredly every couple benefits from having God in their relationship, and having access to his counsel and love and peace.  This is a vital part of our family life and should be yours too.  God can get you through anything, even being a father, without resorting to the internet or pills.  

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