Diary of a Dad: Week 9 - Everything Takes Longer With a Babyby Adam Riches
Once your baby arrives, you're always on the go. Every second seems taken up. You’re racing around changing nappies, sorting bottles, cooking, cleaning, washing and of course if you’ve got another little one, getting time in with them. It may feel as if someone is secretly speeding up the clocks. This is always most noticeable when you’ve got somewhere to be or a time scale that you need to keep to.
Leaving the house with a baby is like a military operation. Having the right equipment packed in the bag, getting the troops out of the door and into the right places...and remembering to lock the door, it’s a real challenge.
It always seems so simple, nappies, wipes that’s all we need. But it’s not! We seem to leave with so much stuff “just in case” we need it. You never do though do you? That is of course unless you don’t have it!
Babies are also on their own agendas. I’ve really noticed it this time around. They’re masters of timing and they always pick the worst time to throw a spanner in the works. They wait to be fully dressed, strapped and snuggled in the car seat before firing out an explosive shit. It’s like they wait and wait and wait and then think, “I wonder how they’ll deal with this?!”
We always try to stay positive. We wake up with grand plans. "We're going to take the baby for a massive outing," we declare along with other numerous additions, that in theory sound amazing, we all have big expectations...The reality? The morning and afternoon whizz by before we’ve even left the house. Finally, at 3 pm, we manage to put our socks on, an achievement which is quickly followed by the standard decision to just stay in. We’ve found the secret is not to over-plan your day. We keep it simple so we don’t end up feeling frustrated and stressed.
Sleep deprivation doesn’t help things sometimes. I swear I function at a fraction of my non-newborn capacity when I’ve had less sleep and easy tasks take so much longer. It’s not just caring for the baby that takes up time, it’s the baby hangover that also eats into it too. Sometimes my wife asks me to do something and it just doesn’t register. My absolute favourite is when a conversation seems familiar...and it’s because we’ve already had it 6 times.
What I’ve learnt is to embrace all of this though. Yes everything takes longer, but that’s no reason to get frustrated and annoyed. Life isn’t the same as pre-baby and it’s totally ok that you take a bit more time about things.
I’m totally over giving a shit about what people think too. If we’re late, tough luck. We always try to get places on time, but sometimes it doesn’t work out and after spending time worrying about other people’s opinions, I’m over it now. I can’t pre-plan for disasters and caring for a little human is a variable job.
With that said, I don’t doubt this will change as he grows up. In fact, I imagine it’ll get worse in some ways! Hopefully, he won’t shit himself on purpose before we get in the car when he’s 15, but you never know!