We’re two weeks in with our new addition. A party of five negotiating new family dynamics and car seat arrangements. It’s busy, it’s messy, it’s all-consuming. It’s the fantastic time that is your new-life with a new-born.
And so far so good-er than the first two times around. Yes, our parenting CVs read a lot better than they did in 2014, when our eldest came along, but this time there’s been a brand new element. Paternity Leave. (Queue happy face). The novel idea that a father should be at home when his baby has just arrived into the world – two weeks off work to spend with your family when they most need your support. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s taken this nation a while to get with the programme and introduce it. Sometime around the 1980s we began to realise that raising a child isn’t a secret science known only to women. It is an instinct to love and nurture found in abundance in both parents and fathers deserve their chance to enjoy their newborn and support their family through a time of major change. Wheels of industry, take five.
Early Days Demand Baby Steps
For us it’s been magical. Well, magical might be my word. But himself definitely referred to it as ‘a gift’ on more than one occasion.
And, just to clarify, I don’t mean ‘magical’ in the baby-bonding, all-loved-up-family way – though there’s been some of that too. No. Magical in that the dinner is made – ta daaa! There’s milk in the fridge – voila! A wash gets put on – be still my beating heart. I slept in most mornings to catch up on zzzs lost to night feeds and the other two were fed their breakfast and dressed and happy because Daddy was there and that is what’s needed. Because every book and every one will tell you to rest, but that is essentially impossible without full-time support. Full-time support that allows you to focus on the baby, build your strength and resilience back up and get ready for the real world that you are inevitably forced to crash back into, while now also pushing a buggy.
Love In Abundance… Personal Space, Not So Much
The dream ended today. Like four puppy dogs we were left forlorn and droopy mouthed inside the window (the toddler was most definitely also drooling) as our bread winner headed back to the grind. I felt deflated. The new addition needed a feed, now. And the other two immediately divided and conquered my minuscule stash of energy by simultaneously scattering my makeup bag and running outside in pyjamas.
Ah well. Reality had to set in at some stage.
Quite soon after having my son, my firstborn, I bumped into a couple of neighbours on the mainstreet at home in Carrig. They warmly congratulated me and wished me well with the new baby, as you do. I half-jokingly asked them when it all gets a bit easier. “Round about the time they hit 18” one quipped, the other agreeing.
Not what you need to hear.
But a bit of help from your partner for the first two weeks? Definitely a good start.