Our little boy Jay is now just over 4 weeks old. I can safely say that the last month has been a rollercoaster of emotion and there really is nothing that can prepare you for becoming a parent.
In this post, I'd like to share my experience of what the last 4 weeks have been like and how I'm adjusting to my new role as a Dad (seeing that word, “dad” on the screen and associating that label with my identify still feels weird).
Back in August, I shared some of the nervousness I was feeling as we got closer to the birth of our baby. In the post, my primary concern was around how the arrival of our baby (we didn't know we were having a boy) was going to impact my work. Naturally, looking after Jay has impacted so many other areas of our lives.
Don't want to read this post, listen instead:
Adjusting to parenthood has really tested Hayley and my relationship (in a good way). At times, the lack of sleep has meant we've become frustrated with one another. Often when we get stressed we take this out on the people closest to us. Hayley and I try to move past this by reminding one another that we're a team and will be more effective when we support and work with one another.
We're now slowly getting into a routine and share the workload as best we can. For example, when our alarm goes off for a 2am feed, I get up and change Jay while Hayley goes downstairs to prepare his formula (Hayley's breastfeeding but we top up with formula). We then swap and Hayley starts feeding Jay while I finish the preparation. Once Hayley's done, I give Jay the bottle while Hayley sterilises everything ready for the next feed. This 40 minute routine has become very natural and when the alarm goes off each night we instantly know our jobs.
While adjusting to parenthood has been tough on our relationship, we work together and as a result, I feel like we're coming out the other side as a stronger couple.
So far there has been little to no impact on my work (even though this was one of my main concerns going in). My clients were incredibly supportive when I needed to take time off. By putting good systems in place and by using reliable tools like Asana and Pipedrive (affiliate link) I was able to keep track of where I was with each client so I could easily pick things up again where I left off.
During this time I've come to appreciate my freedom as an independent worker so much more. I've always valued my freedom but the gratification has grown ten-fold over the last few weeks. It's been very convenient being able to work from home so I can support Hayley if needed.
There was a moment during the first week where I got pretty emotional. Hayley and I were both tired. We'd just got home and were now on our own. Jay was crying and no matter what we tried we couldn't settle him. At this moment I felt completely incompetent and like I had no idea what I was doing.
I had to remind myself that it's completely normal to feel this way. I now realise it's unrealistic to think I would feel confident and know exactly what to do right away.
The good news is that with each day that goes by we're both feeling more and more confident.
Doing “normal” things has really helped as well. Like going out for coffee or taking Jay for walks has really helped us to feel more normal again.
Before Jay was born, I was getting a consistent 8 hours of sleep per night. Now, we're obviously not getting as much but the real hard part has been that the sleep is very broken. We'll usually have to wake up multiple times a night to feed, change nappies and settle Jay back to sleep. It's fine if I'm doing something like chaining a nappy. But when you have to just sit there and feed or settle Jay back to sleep, the eyelids get heavy and it's hard to stay awake.
During the day I'm pretty much fine. But the broken sleep has been an adjustment for sure.
Here's an idea of my sleep pre and post baby:
In closing, the first month has been challenging but exciting. Each day I look at Jay and it's crazy to think that he's my son.
It's still very early days and we're looking forward to watching Jay grow up and becoming the most supportive parents we can be.
If you have any words of wisdom for us, please leave me a comment below!