Paternity leave. Yes, those meager 10 PTO days that you worked HR gymnastics to accrue. What an amazing time, but holy hell what a sh*t show! Talk about having ZERO control or influence over such a major event and all its subsequent happenings afterwards.
But this is not your first rodeo. In fact, by baby number 3, you may have had a little war chant in your mind during the last few weeks of the third trimester chanting, “Bring it on like Donkey Kong!” You and your wife have already figured out middle of the night wake up duties. You are a breakfast champ and have no probably whipping up pancakes while being a human jungle gym. Nursing time is the best because that means its Daddy Time with Daddy’s Rules for the big kids which means free reign to rough house (amongst other many other things) while Mommy nurses the baby. Actually, since Mom is still recovering from delivering a human football, during those 10 days YOU are doing most of the meal prep, the baths, the refereeing between screaming children.
But let’s face it. During this time of chaos, it seems like the spotlight is all on Mom, the new baby, and how the big kids are adjusting. No one ever asks how Dad is doing during this colossal event. You’re definitely not getting any accolades for changing diapers or for getting the kids dressed. No one at work cares if you’ve only slept for 4 hours for the past 2 weeks. And by the way, while you’ve been gone from work, absolutely nothing has been done, because your boss figures, “Hey, he’s only gone for 10 days. He can pick right back up when he gets back!”
But that’s ok, because you are the rock that keeps the chaos from driving off the road. You are the voice of reason that keeps the family grounded when Mom’s phone goes missing in the morning just before leaving to drop the kids off for school.
While watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, I heard comedian Tom Papa say, “Dad is like the couch…his job is to be consistent. If Dad wasn’t consistent, the whole corporation would crumble.” And it’s true. Dad is the couch—a heavy and sturdy piece of furniture that can be sat on, climbed on, jumped on, and built forts on. It doesn’t move or change very often, but comfortably holds the whole family together, despite who’s foot is in who’s face.
So thank you Dads, for being the couch. Cherish the tantrums and the crazy moments that happen around you. Embrace imagination and play that happens while you’re around. And before you back to work, hang on to every “just one more” your children ask for. That pile your boss left you isn’t going anywhere, sometimes that “just one more” is what gets you through your day at work.
Just one more walk. The sun is setting and it’s starting get chilly.
Just one more block. I promise I’ll pick you up on the way back home.
Just one more push on the swing. Pump those strong little legs! I know you can do it!
Just one more piggy back ride. It’s so much fun to climb on Daddy!
Just one more taste test. I think the pasta can cook for one more minute.
Just one more shake. We don’t want it to be too peppery.
Just one more bite. Those veggies won’t eat themselves! I promise you can have ice cream afterwards!
Just one more game. Don’t worry Daddy, I’ll hold you up.
Just one more story. 3 books is so not enough.
What “just one more” things do your little ones ask for that you are only too happy to oblige? Let’s talk, I’d love to hear about it!
P.S. This family’s Slice of Life Album is still a favorite bedtime book for the children!