Paternity Leave – Week 1
After RAD was born, I took a week and a half off work to help Kerstyn adjust to life with the baby. We had already had our share of emotional moments – the worst was when we needed to get her tongue tie snipped. She cried briefly. We cried harder. Nursing was difficult during the first 2 months, so Kerstyn had resorted to endless pumping and bottle feeding.
But now, after 12 weeks, Kerstyn was due back at work and thanks to a generous paternity policy from my company, I began a 4-week leave to take over the at-home duties of parenthood.
After my first week, it is exactly as I expected but also uniquely different from what I expected.
I knew I would be a bit more tired tending to her, but the tiredness feels weird. I’m not sleepy, fatigued seems more accurate.
I got to catch up on a few shows, nothing drastic and probably less than I thought.
Keeping pace with laundry and cleaning felt easy early in the week, but felt overwhelming later in the week. It felt great to make dinners the first few nights and having the house feel more together. But as I write this on Friday night, that’s no longer the case and I’ll have to push forward next week to make sure that improves.
Everything happens at slightly jarring intervals. Naps every 90 minutes, diaper every 2 hours, meal every 3. They line up in a way that feels like juggling eggs. Miss one and you’ve got a mess and now the rhythm is off for the other two.
I still have a hard time when she cries for seemingly no reason – even though that reason could be teething, gas pains, hunger or literally anything all at the same time. I’m getting better, but I still find myself getting caught up in the frustration of wanting to end the noise.
And then there are the emotional moments. I watched a new David Letterman/Barack Obama interview on Netflix. Our former President’s commitment to hope is inspiring and after the episode was over, I found myself crying. Crying because I brought this tiny girl into this wretched world. Crying because I wasn’t sure she’d ever get to know a competent or capable leader like him in her lifetime. Crying because she deserves so much better than what the world is able to offer.
As she lays there cooing because her musical elephant has colored lights on it.