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How to Dad: When Fatherhood is Overwhelming

How to Dad: When Fatherhood is Overwhelming

Being a parent is not an easy task. The day my first son was born changed my life for the better, obviously, but at times I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed.

When we returned home with him, I remember looking into his deep blue eyes and thinking about how this little fella was so dependent on my wife and I in every single way. "He can’t eat on his own, he can’t move, he can’t do anything," I thought. Having played sports all my life, I tend to look at things as challenges or competitions. I now had a new challenge in my life, and nothing was going to stop me from making goals to be a good dad, and achieving them. I wanted to change diapers, help with feedings and do everything else well so I could help my wife out. Everything was going smoothly and I felt like we were taking this on as a team, but then my wife had to return to work (she worked nights at a nearby hospital in the NICU unit). The first six weeks of my oldest son’s life were bliss. I wasn’t working full-time, she was home and we were a great team. One night, she was at work and I was alone with my son. Most of the time, he was just happy as a clam. However, this particular night, he just wouldn’t stop crying. I checked his diaper; nothing going on there. I tried feeding him; he didn’t want any. I tried to put him in his swing to calm him down; his screaming just intensified. I had a brilliant idea, or so I thought, to take him on a drive to calm him down. There have been plenty of times where the rocking of the car and soothing songs of Rockabye Baby Weezer edition have been enough to calm him down. However, what I learned was that cars are like little tin boxes. When a child is inconsolable, the screams are much louder as they bounce into your ear. After what seemed like an eternity of hearing my child wail, I was reaching my breaking point. I just couldn’t help him and I was getting upset about all the screaming. I grabbed some food for my wife, and headed over to her work for her dinner break. She fed him, and miraculously, he was happy again. After having a full tummy, he snuggled up to his momma, and fell asleep. He was good for the rest of the night. When I had to care for my son on my own (while my wife worked nights), he slept for the most of the time, but I still felt defeated. This son has always been good about sleeping through the night and I never had to worry about him when I went to bed. Patience is key, and my wife and I definitely work better as a team. For instance, together we figured out that we always had to have fresh milk on hand since my son was too snobby for frozen milk.

Being the best dad you can be is determined on how you handle pressure in a loving and caring way. My two sons have have definitely challenged me on this thought, yet I feel like we are growing together. Remember, you probably stressed your parents out in the same way.

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