It starts with a quiet, insistent licking of lips. I can hear her at the end of the bed. Her head rubbing against the sheets and she moves from side to side, quicker and quicker and then, the first “uh!”. I open my eyes and see a big red 2 at the front of the alarm clock display. “uh….uh….” I can hear her getting agitated now. “uh…UH…waaAAA!”
It’s wrong but I’m annoyed that I am awake. I’ve already done the maths to the minute, calculating how much sleep I have left before I wake up in the morning. I lay there in my frustration as my wife rolls out of bed, puts on her dressing gown and takes our month old baby into the dimly lit lounge room to feed. I roll over, wrap the warm blanket around me and drift back to sleep.
I don’t wake 30 minutes later when my wife comes back in, lays her down to sleep, wrapped up like a tic tac with a face, putting up a bit of fight before drifting off. I don’t stir as my wife climbs back into bed with one of her ears open for signs of an infant still awake or distressed. I do wake at 6, go out to the lounge room after my hot, long shower and check the diary my wife keeps of feeds;
2:45am: Left breast 15 minutes, right breast 10 minutes
And at that moment, like every other morning since I returned to work I remember my top , number one reason I’m glad I’m not a Mum – breast feeding at ridiculous-O’clock!
A very close second is the actual act of breast feeding. Sure it’s all magical at the start and yes there’s those misty-lensed moments from TV commercials when the mother looks into her daughters eyes as the infant drifts into milk-drunken euphoria… but then the kid goes completely mental, thrashing their head from side to side because the milks not coming quick enough, or too fast or its the wrong flavour etc etc etc.
And its all the time!!! 6, 8 even 10 times per day life stops as you sit and wait for your offspring to feed. Pinned to the lounge as you watch your older, wiser, cleverer, more devious daughter take advantage of the fact you can’t stop her going into the cupboard to pull snacks out, or jump up on the dining table and start tearing up the bank statements you still need to file or going into the babies room and pushing down the tops of the lotion dispensers…
My third reason is the whinging. I’m pretty good at screaming, crying, wailing and howling. The first nine months of my first daughters life conditioned me well but a grizzling new born and a whining 2 3/4 year old is the proverbial “nails down a blackboard”. As a weekend-weeknight dad I leave a peaceful house early in the morning and come home to one girl in the bath and another asleep but I’m all too aware of the chorus of complaints I didn’t have to manage for the entire day.
My fourth reason involves getting stuff done, or not, in a stay-at-home-mum’s case. I’m well known to have an inability to stay still for more then 10 minutes at a time. Every Saturday morning it’s the same “what are we doing today?”, “where are we going”, “can we leave yet”, “lets do a project (but not necessarily finish it)”. My wife on the other hand wakes each morning in the full knowledge that today all she will accomplish is 6 – 8 breastfeeds, managing two whinging kids and maybe, if she’s lucky a load of washing.
My fifth and final reason I am glad to be a Dad, is weeing. Alone. By myself. In a toilet with a closed door. On weekends I have been known to hold on until I can get to shopping centre or to a friends house so I don’t have to stand there, one hand controlling the aim, the other pushing my inquisitive 2-and-three-quarter-year-old’s hand away as she asks “why are you standing up daddy?” “What’s that?”, “What are you holding?”, “Why are your wees yellow?”
So Dad’s what are your top reasons? And Mum’s, what do you think your Dad’s top reasons are?
ps: Thanks to Mrs Illiterate Infant who’s not only been doing the seriously hard yards for the last month but also inspired this post.
Sharing with Jess over at EssentiallyJess.com for I Blog on Tuesday
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Just being so awesome 24 hours a day… Can be a bit tiring 😉 although I reckon captain Stingypants is fairly glad he doesn’t have the “mum!” Calls through the night for the first few years… Why do they never call out “dad!”?
…the training starts from a very early age 😉
I had a friend who tried to stop his kids from learning to say Dad for this reason, he didn’t want the mid-night calls!
Ha ha…great post!
For the first time in my life I am thinking that it might actually be better to be a man.
Obviously I’ll be quoting that back to you at some point
You go to the toilet on your own! I think I remember what that’s like.
Only on weekdays!
This is gold. It makes me happy to hear how much you appreciate Mrs II. And if she ever gets a sec to read this, I think she’d be happy too. When it comes to the early days of parenting, dads have it sooooo easy. ;o)
yip – you’re right. Parenting was designed by a guy
My main reason would be so I would not have to put up with my high maintenance husband.
You get MAJOR points for acknowledging all of the above. I have to tell you that the toilet visits in our house are similiar but opposite if that makes any sense whatsover. You get asked what are you holding and in my house of males I get asked what happened to my bits, did I lose it? Did I play with it too much and it fell off? Love this post! x
Hats off to you for realising the tough job your wife is doing, and being as supportive as you can be. Its that whining sounds that gets me too. I can do tantrums, crying, fighting, wrestling, sulking, yelling, slamming… but throw in a whine and it just about breaks me!
Oh isn’t it a blast! Thanks for reminding me…*sigh* think I will avoid having my second now! No, no…it’s all worth it…right?
I imagine you’ll be getting top hubby points for this lovely post!
The memories of those night feeds and being in a constant fog still make me shudder 10 years later. I think my husband was always a little bit relieved to go off to work, but he did make up for it on the weekends, even though he nearly didn’t make it through a few pooey nappies 🙂
Great post, but having the toilet visits to yourself won’t last, my husband has three visitors now they can all walk and talk and go in there! My hubby also loves the fact I always did the BF-ing, but then again he used to be a legend and get up to the other two, who were 3.5 and 21 months when we had our third! I forgot for a second how often newbies feed! Hang in there Mrs and Mrs illiterate!
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Excellent post Kev, I read it last night just before bed. I think at the moment Dave would not feel the same way, purely because he has been shouldering a lot of the parenting burden as I am just so tired and fed-up with everything (I had no idea being pregnant would make mothering so much harder and more relentless as I lose what little patience I actually had), but I know when Punky was a newborn he definitely was relieved about not having to deal with the breastfeeding once he went back to work. In the first few weeks when he was off work he actually wanted to help and I was expressing so he could do some of the night feeds but once he was back at work I tried to minimise disturbance to him and he was grateful.
Not sure what it is gonna be like this time around, I’m really not looking forward to when he goes back to work and I’ll have two to deal with all by myself!
Kev, you score 59 million dad points just for recognising and acknowledging these 5 things. And I love the description of your little tic tac with a face – cute!!
Yes… I’m thankful my children’s dad was another who recognised these things! Well done you! 😀
5. Post childbirth recovery.
Two weeks in and I Can’t. Do. It. Anymore. I feel like I could have written this post with the title ‘Top 5 reasons I wish I was the dad’! Everyone keeps telling me it’ll get easier – they’re not just toting with us, are they?!
That sucks Emily – hang in there any way you can
Kev, thank you for reminding me, I am really content with never having any more babies.
Thanks for the acknowledgement of a mum’s work. It’s nice when it’s recognised. Post birth pains and first few weeks of breast feeding I could have done without, but otherwise I am pretty cosy with the whole mum thing. But admittedly, I don’t do a neat little tic tac with a cute face and sit up for 30 min in the night feeding. I just pull the little one into bed with me and go straight back to sleep. Because I am a nicer person if I am well-rested too. In our house, it’s the dad who does all the hard work (ie dishes) so in this case, I am glad to be the mum! 🙂
I always said to hubby that if men had to have kids there would only be on child per family!!!
But then again I reckon Men take on board way more than us Mum’s have to….after all they have to listen to us tell the story at the end of the day what our little ones got up to, including Toilet training stories. And I used to pass baby over to Daddy when he got home from work, just so that I could have a break – from changing nappies that was (yep he got to do the yucky evening nappy changing)
I cant wait till I am the Grandma – spoiling the grandchildren and passing them on back to the very parents who used to keep me awake every night!!