Sunday, May 13, 2012

Unprepared

So I know people always tell you that once you have a baby, that you will no longer have free time.  However, it never really hits you until you go through it yourself.  It just hit me.  It kinda sucks.

I love my daughter, and I will do whatever it takes to keep her happy, but it’s amazing how much of your time is devoted to just keeping the baby from crying.  She really does cry over everything.  Hungry, tired, cold, hot, gassy, need a diaper change, need some attention, and any number of unknown factors that would cause her to cry.  Heck, I’ve heard that they just cry to cry. 

As a first time father, that’s a little disconcerting.  I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time telling any of the cries apart, so the time is always spent doing EVERYTHING to get her to calm down.  From step A to step Q, you have to just keep going until something you do calms her down.  And sometimes, you get to Q, and it STILL hasn’t worked, and you either have to come up with a new one, or just start all over again, because you don’t know if you soothed the first thing, and something from one of the earlier things popped up in the meantime.  All this happens while you’re trying to deal with your day to day things, and trying to find SOME time for yourself so that you don’t feel like your entire self-identity has been subsumed by this little crying bundle.  When you finally get her calmed down, you get set to go do something, and she might start right back up again.  It almost feels like I’m back at my tech support job.  The only difference is that at least my daughter is cute.

But seriously, it is tiring.  It feels like you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle, trying to keep yourself calm and collected while dealing with a little flailing, crying, upset baby.  This can fray your nerves, and make you snap at everyone around you.  I mentioned before how my relationship with my wife has become a bit strained at times.  They say that most marriages feel a loss in satisfaction with the relationship after the birth of a baby.  I can completely understand that.  I’m not saying that I’ve reached that point, but there are points where I feel some pretty negative feelings towards my wife, and she towards me, because we’re just too frazzled to see that we’re both trying our best to remain ourselves while taking care of our little girl. 

After experiencing all these things for myself, I don’t understand how some people can believe that having a baby will somehow save a relationship.  The time and energy needed to take care of a baby, the emotional investment, it’s HUGE.  It is probably the roughest period for a relationship, because you have no time to concentrate on each other whatsoever.  If you want to be a good parent, you have to devote all of your energy into your child until they are at least a little self sufficient, which definitely does not describe an infant.  So you’re looking at, at least, 2 years where you’re just going to be drained emotionally.  That doesn’t speak well for a relationship.

Not to say having a child is a bad idea.  There is a sense of fulfillment when you see your child being happy.  The payoff takes a little longer than most of us might be used to, but as that old clich√© goes, anything worth it usually takes longer.  The sacrifices necessary to raise a child are worth it if that child grows up into someone you can be proud of.  At least, that should be the goal all parents aim for.  It really is all about them, not yourself.  I just think you have to be ready for that, as much as possible.  Of course, I don’t think anyone is ever fully ready.  There’s always that learning curve at the beginning.

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