Sunday, 12 August 2018

Newborns & Airhorns

Taking care of a newborn truly is a full-time job, and while I do know that as a father that goes to work while his partner stays at home with the baby, sometimes I just don’t understand it. I try to be as supportive as I can. When Kay is stressed out and has days that she feels like she hasn’t been able to get anything done, I always tell her, you only have two responsibilities; “take care of the baby and take care of yourself”. Most of the time I mean that, but occasionally, I don’t. Occasionally, I resent her for getting to spend so much time with our son, for being the one he wants when he’s upset, for being the only one that can feed him, and the one that knows him better than anybody.

Jealousy is a manipulative emotion and it can really cloud your judgement if you let it. For example, when Kay takes my advice, and takes care of herself and the baby, nothing else gets done; and sometimes, after coming home from an exhausting day at work, despite my better judgement, I’ll get annoyed that now instead of spending time with the baby, I’m spending my evenings taking out the garbage, cleaning the cat litter, and doing the dishes. We share all our chores and since the baby was born, most of them have become my chores. This is something I’m totally fine with on days when my judgement has not lapsed, but on days when I’ve tossed it to the wind, the resentment starts to build.

Today was one of those days. I’m an early riser and I was up early this morning. It’s Sunday, so I’m not at work. I spent my morning running some errands while Kay and the baby slept. Then around 9AM they woke up and with complete disregard for the fact that my wife had been up every two or three hours caring for our child, I rushed her and the baby out of bed and got annoyed when she took too long. We went for breakfast at a restaurant together, and I scarfed down my food quickly, recognizing that the baby was about to lose his shit, and when I tried to console him, all he wanted was his mom, so the resentment kept building.
 
Nap time aftermath
Later in the afternoon, Kay decided she wanted to clean the bathtub, so I eagerly took the little man for some father son time, but my three-month-old had other plans. He didn’t want father son time, or lay on his back time, or over the shoulder time, or tummy time, or story time, or singalong time, or a puppet show. He needed nap time, but it seemed he didn’t want that either. By that time, mama had finished cleaning the bathtub, and I begrudgingly handed him over to her and went downstairs for a snack. As I was eating I decided to turn on the video baby monitor that was sitting there, partially to be a creep, partially to be funny, and partially to find out what the hell she’s got that I don’t (besides the milk).

I sat there watching my son’s arms and legs flail, and my wife try over and over to calm him down enough to feed him. She swaddled him, she sang to him, she held him and rocked him. She patiently tried everything she could, one after the other, while the whole time he screamed at the top of his lungs. Eventually, she did get him to sleep by trying a new bouncing maneuver while she held him close to her chest. I watched all of this with a mixture of emotions. I felt shame, for resenting my wife who is seriously just trying to do the best she can. I felt pride, in her for being such a great mother and wife and for being so patient with our son. And finally, I was grateful that it wasn’t me, because I realized that this is every single day and pretty much every night for her – and has been for the last three months – which has got to be a feat equivalent to completing a marathon every day while someone blows an air horn in your face every time you stop for a rest.

I started this blog with the hope that I might reach some people out there and it might help them get through some similar things. But today, I think I just owe my wife an apology. So, to my beautiful wife – I’m sorry if I’m a dick sometimes, you’re doing an amazing job. Please don’t buy an airhorn.

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