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Being a New Daddy

Getting ready for baby!

Getting ready for baby!

Good times...

Good times...

And bad...

And bad...

Such is the life of a stay at home dad

So here's the thing, being a mom is difficult. I know that, I understand and acknowledge that being a mother and carrying a little person inside of you who is constantly working out his or her new appendages, or trying out some form of gymnastic skills can be, must be, has to be a straight path to near insanity. I stand in awe of any human being who has the capability to carry around another person in their belly who gets the hiccups twenty times a day. I'm honestly amazed at the strength it must require to take on such an arduous task.

I remember watching in pain as my wife took on every contraction with courage and a level of fortitude I wouldn't even dare to think I have. I felt the needle in my back when I saw her getting an epidural; that has got to hurt. She fought through giving birth with such resolve that it seemed like it was her patriotic duty to bring this child in to the world. So I get it, there's nothing that compares to being a mommy.

Now that being said, being a new daddy is no walk in the park. I may not win any awards for my parenting skills (I did accidentally make my baby pee himself in the face while lifting his legs to change a diaper), but our baby and I have done what we can. I mean there are those who cower from the whole spectacle, but they ain't dads, they're just guys. A daddy stays, cuts the umbilical cord, helps his girl through the process and well, actually might shed a tear when he sees his offspring in person for the first time. After that, the terrifying journey of being a papi kicks into high gear and doesn't let up until, let's see... ever. On our first night the nurse had to actually come in the room to get our baby to stop crying; we couldn't do it by ourselves and it was terror inducing to think that in a few hours we'd be on our own.

I had made sure everything was ready at the house for the grand homecoming which was as I remember it, not as grand as I thought it'd be. We were both exhausted already and now that I think of it, still are - almost four months later. I spent the first few nights sleeping on the couch next to the rocking chair my wife sat in, bowing to whatever schedule our little one decided he wanted to be on. We took turns rocking the boy to sleep or feeding or diapering. I think my rear end is permanently shaped like the seat of that chair. It was rough and after about a month I was looking like the evil wizard Gargamel... I was tired out of my wits. So tired in fact that I was dreading the day my wife was to go back to work and leave me with our little bundle of joy. I'd have to fend for myself at a task I had not been trained to do. I'm a military man and I've controlled military aircraft over Iraq and Afghanistan, but this baby thing was kicking my butt.

Eventually my bride went back to work and I had to try out my new skills. It took a while but slowly I got the hang of it all. I can now change a diaper in record time and wipe poop like a pro, no gagging necessary. I take my child out on our jogging stroller for walks or runs and can prep a diaper bag with one hand tied behind my back.

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So to all you new daddies out there, don't despair, don't fear and don't lose hope. Keep your faith in God strong, read as much as you can about parenting and baby care, and remember you will make it. Oh, one more thing - when your baby's crying takes you to the edge, put him down gently in a safe place and walk away for a minute or two. You'll be fine and someday you'll tell your kid about how you made him pee his own face.


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