So, how is fatherhood treating you?
I get asked that a lot these days.
My stock answer, I suppose at first, would have gone something along these lines: “Oh, it’s great/fantastic…I’m enjoying the whole experience… I’m a changed man, my outlook on life is so different now…he is such a joy… I’m discovering a whole new world… blah, blah…etc
However, 8 months on, you are likely to get a more honest answer, albeit still clothed in some wonderment at the little human being that is rapidly outgrowing his baby jump suits and his mum and dad’s playtime routine (see mum’s take on that).
Nowadays, I’m more likely to regale you about the strange parallel universe that I find myself in as a recently minted dad.
If I’m really really honest, then there is likely to be some nostalgia for the relatively carefree days B.E. (before Ethan) when it was just the two of us. You hear about it from other new parents but you do not really appreciate the challenges that a baby brings to a marriage until you realise that you haven’t indulged in your regular cuddles or tête-à-tête (forget about that other conjugal pastime) for what seems like an age!
As the little one grows, the more demanding he becomes and the more mum becomes a distant memory for dad. A mirage!
Throw in a few divergent views on raising your precious progeny (should we or shouldn’t we let him cry himself out on some occasions) and you may even end up having a little tiff.
I might also tell you about the feelings of inadequacy as a new dad. This is usually brought on by the new mom’s well meaning (and dare I say, largely justified) reluctance to leave most aspects of the baby’s early care to dad. Especially one like me who still thinks that proper childcare amounts to a glance during the occasional break in play when Torres has been fouled by that dastardly Vidic in the Liverpool v Man Utd match on ‘Grand Slam Sunday’.
And if I’m still being brutally honest, I would also admit that at some stage in those early months, there may be some fleeting resentment of this little un’ who has usurped virtually all the affection and attention normally reserved for me. A bit bonkers perhaps, but this actually is some of the reality that manifests itself during these early stages of fatherhood.
But beneath all this candour is the unmistakable love, pride, appreciation, admiration for both mother and child.