I Thought I Knew What Fatherhood Would Be Like…Then I Became a Dad!

Two years ago today I had no idea what I was getting into. It was 75 days before I was to become a father for first time. Well, that was when I expected to anyway, but he came 87 days later. That started my introduction to the reality of fatherhood. I realized at that point that my expectations were not going to be met. Uh oh.

I thought I knew

So let me go back to years earlier before I was even ready to be a dad. I had friends who already had kids. So my perception was that parenthood was nice and easy. I could do that, no problem right? From what I saw houses were always clean, smells were non-existent, a lack of sleep wasn’t bad and plenty of free time was to be had. How naive of me. How could I think it was easy? How could I think it was all sunshine and smiles? Well I didn’t realize that that sort of life did not exist until April 09, 2013.

The month leading up to the birth of my son I had this expectation on how our trip to the hospital would go. I thought that we were going to have that TV moment that had Kristen’s water break, I would rush around like an idiot looking for her bags and pretending I was calm on the way to the hospital. That never happened. Instead he never came the day he was supposed to. The night before he was born we headed to the hospital for a midnight appointment for her to be induced. I figured that it would just be a couple of hours of her in labor and Patrick would be here at 2 or 3 am the next day. What a silly inexperienced dad thought. Dumb me. What happened instead was Kristen was in labor for six hours with no progress and ended up needing to have a C-section. I wasn’t prepared for that.

So he was born at 11:54 am. We went through all of the excitement with our families. Then we were tired and he was sleeping. AWESOME! So hey…we get to sleep now right? Nope. Sleep didn’t happen as much I thought. Nurses were in all the time and he was waking up for feedings. So that whole experience woke me up. Fatherhood would be nothing like I expected.

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So as an experienced dad for almost two years, here are a few of more of my ‘before’ expectations and my ‘after’ realities:

Expectation:

Sleep. Kristen and I would just trade off.

Reality:

We really needed to be a team. Patrick had thrush in the beginning. Which made nighttime feedings very hard.  So we were both up when he was up.  There would be times hat he would wake up at one and wouldn’t go back to sleep until 4 or 5. But, later on we got very lucky. He started to sleep through the night at 4 months.

He is almost two now, but there are times he will sleep in bed with us. That means a foot in the face, hair being pulled, and your head being used as a pillow.

Expectation:

Plenty of free time.

Reality:

No way! We are always on the move. Weeknights are dedicated to our little monster eating everything in sight, playtime, bath and bedtime. No one told me that bedtime would take around an hour every night. After that there are dishes and laundry to do among other things. So your free time becomes household duty time.

We dedicate most of our weekend to family time. We are always looking for kid events. Whether it is at the children’s museum, playdates or just spending time with our families and friends. Being home on the weekend is a rarity.

Expectation:

Clean house? No Problem!

Reality:

Right now the dining room table is covered in laundry just waiting to be folded and put away. Toys are scattered through-out the house. Dishes pile up in the sink. To be honest, our house is the cleanest when we are expecting company. So I am almost tempted to invite someone over every other day just to have a clean house.

Expectation:

I would always be careful around Patrick and make sure he never got hurt.

Reality:

I hit him in the face with a remote control helicopter by accident last week… He is fine, but I had one mad wife.

So I was wrong about most stuff. My expectations did not become reality. I think most people’s perception of parenthood is a little off. You are going to experience so many things that are new to you. There is no way to tell what your reality will be in the future. But our family is very happy, we go with the flow.

Lastly, I had this expectation that fatherhood was going to best thing that ever happened to me. I would love a kid more than anything in the world. I would take pride in him learning new things every day. I would sit back and be impressed on how smart he is. I was 100% right on that one.

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