First time dad Josh shares his parenting journey

First time dad Josh shares his parenting journey

It took me five hours to get Patrick down last night. He finally admitted defeat at 11:30pm and after a short celebratory dance, I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Reflecting back over the past six months, I think fathers have a remarkably different journey to that of our counterparts. Not better or worse, harder or easier, just different. For the first time in my life, I’m relegated to providing the support structure for the main act. I provide the emotional support, the hugs and the shoulder to lean on whilst my wife fights the battles. She’s up all throughout the night and catches naps during the day between her schedule of baby related madness.

I think that for the first 6 months, it’s easier to view my thoughts on the role as simply being a “better husband” as opposed to a “Father”. I honestly feel bad sometimes about the lack of a direct role I’ve been able to play in these past few months, but I am assured that this will soon change.

I often catch myself looking at how my wife Mel has changed as well; how she’s transitioned into a patient, capable, resilient and loving mother after living so much of her life as an independent professional. Of course, she doesn’t really have an option when there’s a little person relying on you to survive, however I do pause from time to time just to admire how amazing she is – I’m one lucky guy (and so is Patrick!)

So this is my life now. I celebrate smiles, sleeping babies and development milestones. Exercise, personal time, date nights and hobbies are a distant memory.

People also say that having a child takes your relationship happiness score down a notch or two. For the first two months I thought they were idiots but now I see what they mean. When a little human depends on you to survive, you just simply don’t have the same amount of time to invest into yourself or your relationship as you did before having children. Things need to be planned and scheduled, or crammed into 45 minute sleep cycles. Spontaneity, for the most part, is simply a distant memory. We actually discuss it regularly as a couple and combat it as a partnership and although sometimes the relationship takes a battering, we always come out smarter, stronger and happier.

I’ve learnt so much during this journey as well; the value of zippers vs press stud rompers, the amazing and hidden world of shopping centre parents rooms and the astonishingly political world that revolves around almost all aspects of parenting.

My journey has just begun but it already feels like a marathon. How my parents ever got through it will continue to amaze me, but I’m sure that I’ll continue to surprise myself in the months and years to come.

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