Once a kid comes into your life, there's no turning back, so you'd best get ready early, whether it's in nine months or nine years. The author of ‘The Diaper Chronicles' gives you the low down on just what kind of changes you're in for when a baby gets on board.
By Barack Levin
I used to live a carefree life, going out whenever I wanted to, determining my own schedule, partying until the last hours of the night and sleeping late on weekends. I thought that I would always enjoy myself this way, until, a 6 pound baby changed it all.
Here are some of the things I wish I knew before I had a baby:
Too bad we can't “save” sleeping time for later times in life. I wish I could have a “sleeping” bank account were I could deposit some sleeping hours before I had the baby so that I would be able to cash them now when I am a father. I no longer control my sleeping habits – my baby does.
How much time does it take to feed a baby anyway? If you asked me before I had kids, I would have told you that for me, downing 4oz of milk takes about 30 seconds, so compensating for lack of coordination and throwing some extra time in there, babies should guzzle the same quantity in about 5 minutes; 8 minutes – max.
Surprisingly enough, this is not the case. It is not only the feeding, it is also the burping, the diaper changing, the clothes changing and more which takes at least 45 minutes.
In movies and TV shows they always show how the dad, at the end of the delivery, runs to his new born, all smiles and tears, hugging and kissing his newborn and showering him with love. Did not work for me. I was there at the delivery room and saw my son coming out.
In an instant, I became a dad with no proper preparation. My wife had 9 months to bond with the baby and me? One minute I am a carefree man and the next I am responsible for this little bundle of love.
Choosing the name is difficult enough. The wife goes this way, the husband that way and don't forget to throw into the mix the relatives with their suggestions. Finally, you decide on a name. Now you need to call your baby by his name. How strange is that? You have someone new in your life who you decided their name for and now you need to get used to calling him by that name – for life.
I always knew that having a baby carries a lot of responsibility. I knew it, but never had to deal with it.
Changing My Name
Until my baby was born, I was known to everyone as Mr. Levin, now that he came along, he changed that as well without saying even one word. In an instance I am now ‘Dad'. I guess I need to get comfortable being called for in this way and not turn my head around looking for my dad.
With a baby at home, it seems that 24 hours a day are simply not enough. It seems that I am in a constant race to catch some breath and get some “alone time.” In order to free some time, I have become increasingly efficient when it comes to completing my tasks. I can prepare the baby’s food, answer an email and change a diaper more quickly to shave a few more minutes here and there.
My wife and I barely get to speak any more. I feel like I am on a tight shift and using the “hot bed” method. My wife and I are hardly ever in the same room at the same time. If she is with the baby, I do the shopping, if I feed the baby, she arranges the house.
Having a baby is one of the best thing that can happen to a man. Prepare yourself mentally as much as you can and you'll at least be a few steps ahead of where I was.
Barack Levin is a Parenting Coacher and the author of The Diaper Chronicles – stay at home dad’s quest for raising great kids, based on his experience’s, available through his website at http://www.baracklevin.com