Well, I’m finally doing it. I made a promise to my wife (and Brenda) that I would share my fatherly thoughts on the JerseyMomsBlog…despite being the daddy. I’m sure there’s a more gender specific blog out there somewhere, but I see a greater value in sharing a male outlook on child rearing amongst mothers, and I’m far too lazy to Google around for a daddy blog.
This month, our son Tyler will be ten months old. I can still smell the aroma of Riverview Medical Center’s interior, and yet I find myself concurrently contemplating ideas for his first birthday party in August. Wow…a good friend of mine was right when he said that if I keep my eyes closed long enough, I’ll open them to find myself sitting on bleachers watching him play little league baseball. Time…it is a-flyin’.
To sum up how my wife and I got to this point: boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl overcome medical, financial, occupational, and other challenges, boy and girl make a baby. What I didn’t expect was, well everything. My toilet-side collection of Parenting Magazine, Baby’s First Year paperback novel, constant advice, even classes at the hospital couldn’t prepare me for the changes and challenges that I would experience. But you moms out there know all of these things already…and I’d hate to be repetitious.
What’s astonishing is how the baby changed me! Here are my top ten tidbits of male insight you might be lookin’ for…about how a man can grow WITH his baby if he wants to:
1. Fear Not the Poo: I went from an OCD clean freak to changing diapers without hesitation. Even the spit up, of which there is no warning or protection, no longer bothers me.
2. Holy $%&#*:I’m a churchgoer now! Although my analytical brain may never comprehend the scientific basis behind resurrection, I’ve nonetheless embraced the many virtues.
3. Ditch the Breyers:Whole grain, fresh veggies, and organic ain’t just for babies anymore. Eat that which you would feed to your own 10 month old…unless he’s on McNuggets already.
4. 11 AM Already: Manage time effectively. To my wife, I apologize again about that comment I made. Nothing gets done while he’s up. Oh, that precious half-hour when he’s sleeping…
5. Tighten Ship:Safe, secure, sanitary…the home is our castle. Although some more minor childproofing is in order, our money pit is less money-pit-ish with new priorities.
6. Cuttin’ Cards: Because of baby, we eat out a lot less than we’d like to. Now, we look for value (in the form of coupons at restaurants that cook steak better than me). Then it’s worth it.
7. Ticker Time:I may have neglected my health in the past, but I’m really taking advantage of my health insurance now (I’d like to stick around longer). Postponing the colonoscopy though!
8. Wiggles Again: I thought my baby would watch Discovery Kids while others were watching Barney. Ever see Kipper on Sprout? I got the theme memorized, and I sing it at work.
9. Work, Work, Work: Though I worked hard in the past, now goals have changed to put promotion in my sights. It may require sucking up, nodding yes, and following dress code…but I’m game.
10. Pennies Count:Given my day job this should be a no-brainer, but I’m surprised at how easily money can escape a household. This even applies to expired yogurt and using credit for gas!
Those are just some examples on how the baby has changed the focus in my life. It’s nothing new or profound, and millions of men before me have done it. The moral of the story is that fathers can use the birth of a child to isolate areas of their lives that need improvement. It’s the ultimate therapy, the perfect reflection upon oneself in every sense of the word. There’s an 18 lb. squealer sleeping in the nursery as I type this, and even as he sleeps the very thought of him ignites an ember in my gut that prompts me to be a better father, and a better person.
Gotta go…he’s up!
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog by Tyler’s dad, a New Jersey father and a Guest Blogger today.
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Photo credit given to State of PA.