Diary of a Dad: Week 3 - Newborn in Lockdownby Adam Riches
These aren’t exactly normal times, are they? I mean, it’s not ideal when you can’t leave the house for anything other than essentials and even if you aren't the most sociable person in the world, there’s only so much isolation you can take. All of this is amplified even more when you have kids - it’s so hard being dictated to and having no control and worst of all you feel a weird sense of guilt. Our older boy is nearly 3 and besides getting a bit bored and missing the beach, the farm and his grandparents, he’s actually doing ok (apart from being a mentalist between 9 and 10 and 4 and 5). It’s the baby who I feel more guilty about.
It seems ridiculous to worry about a baby missing things they’ll never remember, but nevertheless, I’m feeling a weird sense of guilt about our newborn missing out on things. Classes, groups, general real-world stuff...he just isn’t going to get the chance to do the things that we’d done with our first boy. We’ve tried to make the most of what we have at home and the “daily exercise” is our saving grace, but I just hope that we can make up for it soon.
Strangely, and potentially a bit selfishly, I don't worry so much about developmental impacts of not doing these things with a baby, he’s still getting tonnes of input. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure we are fulfilling his needs. What I’m more worried about is us missing out on experiences. I’d love to take him swimming and to baby sensory and I’d love for his brother to start being able to enjoy things with him and teach him about the world...but it just isn’t possible outside of the house.
Although I’m getting a serious amount of time with the baby that I would otherwise not have, others are missing out. The boy was born about 3 weeks before things started getting hairy and aunties and uncles plus grandparents managed to get a few visits in. Obviously now, things are a bit different. No visitors and no contact with others.
Facetime is nice for a while but I can’t help but think about all of the things family and friends are missing out on. I joke with my parents about him having a beard before they next see him, but the changes are going to be crazy (hopefully no beard though!) We’re trying to take loads of pictures and videos so that we can keep people in the loop as much as possible, hopefully, in a few years, we’ll be really glad we did it!
I realised the other day that the baby has only been in the car seat a handful of times. After being in neonatal for his first week, we had about 10 days of normality before the measures were put in place so we didn’t really drive around much. Long term, I don’t really think things like this will have much of an impact, but it’s funny how much more simple things are now.
We are making the most of the basics, buggy and baby carrier. It’s a bit surreal being told you can only go out once a day, but strangely, you make so much more out of it when you do go out. Although life is a bit basic and restrained, there is still plenty to love.
It’s not all bad
With the overriding sense of guilt, I also often have a huge sense of gratitude. My job means that I’m busy a lot… and it’s often hard to switch off as there’s always something more to be done. With the world slowing down (and in some ways stopping) I’m really getting a chance to enjoy being with the kids. I missed so much with our first son because I was working and/or busy with other things (which looking back were totally insignificant) but this time around, I have had so much more time to be a dad.
We aren’t in a position for me to be able to take shared paternity leave in normal circumstances, so actually, this is quite a novelty. Although there is a lot going on outside the relative safety of our little bubble, this is a time that most will never have so I’m trying to make the most of it.