Warning! Do not be scared by this post. Though the content is tough to read, if you learn from it, the runway to a smoother fatherhood will be cleared, just a little bit.
If you read earlier posts in this blog, you'll see lots of wonderful things about having children. I just thought it necessary to share how life can "get real" in a hurry.
Ahh, the days of old
Free time is not the most important time that you will lose upon becoming a father. Once baby arrives, the time spent with your wife becomes short. Time for other important things like your extended family, bill paying, planning for the future, thinking, volunteering, organization participation, household upkeep, and time with friends, becomes a precious commodity. If you think it will be easy enough to prioritize and make time for the important things, think again.
Consider this real-life scenario
When my first child was born, I was driving 75 miles to work each day. When I arrived at home at around 7:00 p.m. daily, I was exhausted from work and the drive. Naturally.
Before the baby arrived, the little time remaining of my evenings were spent going to dinner with the wife, reading, exercise, or any number of relaxing, rejuvenating, spirit-lifting activities.
A few days after my beautiful child came home from the hospital, she developed colic, a stomach ailment common in babies, but also one that causes the poor child a lot of pain. In our case, it resulted in a baby that cried unconsolably from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day. I could almost set my watch by her.
So, each day for 12 weeks, I arrived at home tired, to a wife at her wits end, and a screaming infant. After getting up at 5:30 a.m. to drive to my job and working all day, it was now my turn take care of the baby.
After her daily bellyache stopped, it was always heartwarming. She would smile, laugh and play for a little while before nodding off to sleep around 11:00 p.m.
Following non-stop 17.5-hour days, there wasn't much left in the gas tank. Yes, that was my existence for three months. The pediatrician said colic typically would stop abruptly at 12 weeks. If not, it would continue for a year or more. To say that we were praying, holding our breath and crossing our fingers at the 12-week mark is, in my estimation, the largest understatement in the history of the world. We were blessed.
Now, if you think there will be lots of time for other important things in your life, think again. Take a moment to think of the shockwaves that could reverberate throughout your life.