From our guest blogger, Daddy J. Want to hear more from Daddy J? Check out our other blog site.
I’m not going to lie to you. Bringing home a new baby is a wonderful thing, but some days….. some days are just plain rough. You love your kid, but the change to your normal every-day life is pretty significant. Heck, let’s face it, once you bring that precious little one home, the only thing normal in your life is the feeling that you will never, ever get a good night’s rest again.
Don’t fret, I promise you’ll get to sleep again – eventually. And I know, you’re reading this and thinking, “Ha! Sleep? What’s that? What good is eventually? I need sleep now!” Believe me, I’ve been there. I remember the days when I got home after hours on my feet at work, opened the door, and found my daughter in my arms before I’d even put my keys down. There she’d be, red-faced and screaming with an exhausted Mommy standing behind her. I knew that my day was far from over…. and that was on good days.
Eventually, I got used to jumping up out of bed whenever she cried. Some nights it was only once or twice, but when she was sick, all bets were off. After a couple nights, I picked her up out of her crib and collapsed into the chair (and I’m not talking about your favorite leather recliner across from the TV). I held her on my chest, hummed, and rubbed her back. At first, all I could think was “PLEASE. GO. TO. SLEEP.” And more than once, I found myself crying along-side her. My beautiful, precious baby girl – watching her hurt broke my heart because I felt helpless to do anything for her. So we sat and I hummed.
Eventually, she would fall asleep in my arms and I would fall asleep in the chair. It might not be for very long, but it was an amazing thing. Those sleep-deprived moments in that chair – those are some of the moments I treasure most. Somewhere along the way, those moments taught me that my life was not about me any more. No, now my life was about her. I fell in love with my daughter sitting in that chair. Feeling her warm little body curled up on my shoulder and listening to those little lungs breathe in and out. Watching her face slowly relax as she FINALLY fell asleep…. those moments were magical. I look at her now and think about all that she has become and accomplished since those days and it brings tears to my eyes. I wouldn’t trade those sleepless nights for anything in the world.
So dads, there will be nights that it takes everything you have to drag yourself out of that bed. There will be days that you are so tired that just getting out the door for work seems like a miracle. You will be tired – often. But dads, when your baby starts crying for the millionth time and you really, really just want to say “your turn”…. get up anyway. You don’t get this time back, so make the most of it, sleep-deprivation and all.