Leap 3: An emotional journey
Forest (31) (@dad.ish) to Erin (30), dad to babygirl Sloane (17 weeks)
I became a dad this spring. I get asked all the time, “How is fatherhood?” It’s an impossible question to answer. It’s all of the emotions. The happiest and the hardest moments of my life have all occurred in the last three and half months. I’ve cried because my daughter smiled at me, and I’ve cried because I didn’t think I could make it through the work week. Sleep deprivation has made me 20% worse at everything, but it’s also been my favorite adventure.
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I have a lot of labels…Husband, Dog Lover, Soccer Fan, Yoga Teacher, Volleyball Player, Start-Up Employee, Vegan. I’ve slid into most of those labels pretty naturally. Dad, however, was a challenge. My wife, however, was a natural. Motherhood was dormant in her and exploded out the day Sloane was born. I on the other hand felt like a fraud. I felt like the same old me, but suddenly there was a human life that depended on me. I did know one thing for certain, I loved this girl in a way that was more powerful than anything I had ever experienced.
Eventually, I learned to follow that love. It’s impossible to absorb everyone’s parenting advice. It’s fine that sometimes you’ll need your wife’s help with the swaddle. It’s no problem to use your shirt for spit-up because you forgot a bib. Everything will be ok as long as there is love. So, I embraced my struggle and I started to find my rhythm. I discovered joy and humor in this experience and stopped worrying so much about being perfect. I stopped singing lullabies and started singing the Beatles. Projectile poop splashing the wall? That’s a laugh and a story, not a disaster. A key resource for me in this transition has been The Wonder Weeks.
The Wonder Weeks provides me three things that I love. The first is that it doesn’t shy away from realness. The quotes from the parents are relatable. A reminder that I’m not the only one who’s gone through this. The second thing I love are the Top Games for this Wonder Week. It’s fun to integrate these new games into my routine with my daughter and watch as she slowly picks up on them, eventually playing along. The third thing I love is the peace of mind in simply knowing she’s going through a leap. It’s never easy to deal with an un-soothable baby at 2am, but it does help understanding that she’s leaping. It makes the situation feel less hopeless.
Leap 4 is almost here
My daughter is on the cusp of the dreaded 4th leap. Literally, as I write this she is up 3 hours later than she should be and alternating between cooing and crying. She has no interest in feeding, just wanting to be held. Leap 4 may be starting right now. Pray for me. I’ll be reporting from the front lines
To be continued…
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