The pregnancy is over, the delivery is complete, the hospital stay has concluded, and you are home with your baby, reveling in this new role of dad.
For the past year, you have heard everyone who has a child say that at this point everything in your life changes. It is likely you believed this to be true, but you probably held that not “everything” would change.
You were wrong.
It is not until you are in that role that you realize that others weren’t exaggerating when they said EVERYTHING would change.
A major contributor to all aspects of your life being impacted is the fact that you will have to learn how to be a functional adult and parent while sleeping in blocks no longer than an NBA shot clock.
Sure, you had a good idea that you would be losing sleep, but losing sleep really isn’t the correct phrase for what you will experience as the parent of a newborn. You have to be in possession of something to lose it, and once baby is out, you will never “have” sleep.
You might think back on those nights you spent drowning in cheap vodka until 5 a.m., waking up just two hours later to head into work. You may think to yourself, “Yes, that was rough, but I made it through.” If you think that kind of experience in any way compares to being the parent of a newborn, you are — and I don’t say this lightly — an absolute moron.
Working on a few hours of drunken sleep is nowhere like being a parent because, you see, that grogginess only lasts a day. As a parent, you will have to operate on a few hours of sleep interminably.
You may truly love sleep like I do, and I’m not talking about that pleasantly content, silent sleep portrayed in NyQuil commercials. I am talking the legs splayed, snoring soundtrack-ed, mouth agape, slobber on the pillow, dead-to-the-world kind of sleep. If I had to list my hobbies, sleep would be among the activities recorded. But that, like all my other hobbies, have vanished. You can expect the same.
You may have enjoyed things like reading books, playing video games, golfing, woodworking or going to the movies before your bundle of joy arrived, but kick those pleasures goodbye. Your new hobbies will include discovering all the various ways of removing excrement from clothing, how to do every daily household task with one hand, different techniques for helping relieve gas, ways to change a diaper before baby decided to “go” again and general babblery.
Being a dad also changes your appearance. You may have taken pride in your appearance before baby’s arrival, but now you will only change your shirt if it has more than three spit-up stains.
And there will be spit-up, lots of it, and there will be loads of full, dirty diapers, and gas aplenty. Basically, a newborn is approximately 10 pounds of disgusting wrapped in a cute package.
This changes you because, for the first time in your life, you will be deeply concerned about another human’s bowel movements.
There will come a point where you will cheer, with genuine excitement, for a dirty diaper. You will loudly exclaim “Yay!” with the passing of gas out either end of the tunnel. You and your partner will discuss the frequency, size, color of every movement with the nonchalance usually reserved for discussing coffee filters.
Besides talking about such matters, you also must address them. Believe me when I say I have tried, but you simply cannot get a newborn to change their own diaper. That means you will have to deal with another human’s excrement. Like I said, everything changes.
There is of course trepidation to such a task, but you have likely heard other parents say, “Oh, it won’t bother you once it’s your child.”
These people need to be locked up in mental institutions, because the male species was simply not meant to deal with other people’s excrement. Laugh about it, make jokes about it, sure, but not deal directly with it.
You will never grow accustomed to dealing with soiled diapers, you must grin and bear it with your shirt collar high above your nose, if it doesn’t have too much spit-up on it.
Stay tuned because in our next installment I’ll be doling out advice for…something. I’m too tired to remember.