This was another “father-to-be lesson” based on some early observations of my first weeks as a father. In retrospect, some of my worries were legitimate, some not. Every parent worries, this was my take on it…
You’re a father now! You’ve been through the entertaining delivery, and your new baby is pink, hopefully healthy and everyone is delighted…except you. You’re sitting there wondering if the crib at home is assembled correctly. Did we buy enough diapers? What if he gets sick? What if I drop her? I wipe him which way?!
Worry. Concern. Paranoia. This is fatherhood. From this day forward, you will never stop worrying about something. Even the most irrational, ridiculous, practically impossible scenarios enter your head. “What if Mason somehow rolls out of his bouncer, squirms over to the outlet, drools on his finger and sticks it in the wall outlet?!” Mason was about 2 months old when this strange worry hit me. Your worries may involve everything from falls to poisoned food to alien abduction. This is all natural. It’s now your job to worry all the time. Worry is nature’s way of saying “I love you so much, it drives me nuts.”
For some, a primary concern will be finances. How to pay for the diapers, formula, clothes, doctor’s appointments, etc.? Thoughts of 90-hour work weeks between three jobs flood your brain. These thoughts are compounded by a lack of sleep, thanks to your newborn’s feeding schedule (which was specifically designed with no regard for parental sanity). It may be necessary to pick up extra hours via another job, selling unneeded items, writing a blog (!), etc. Whatever you need to do to make it work, you’ll gladly do it…because as I’ve mentioned time and time again, it’s not about you, it’s about your little one.
Safety. This is another big concern, and the most common cause of paternal paranoia. While there is no need to duct tape your child into the crib at night, or illegally acquire FBI security reports to ensure homeland safety, steps can be taken to ensure your home is as safe is as possible. Your local baby product store can be helpful in recommending the right products for your family, based upon where you live and how your home is set up. Unfortunately, your baby will have an incident sooner or later. Bumped heads and skinned knees are just part of learning to crawl, walk and play. It’s OK to worry about these things, but don’t overdo it. Children pick up very quickly on parental behaviors and patterns. If I took Mason to the emergency room every time he scraped an elbow, what kind of example would I be setting for when he gets hurt and I’m not there? (This is something I need to practice more myself, as I am one to immediately run for the bandages upon the occurrence of even a minor papercut) Keep as calm as possible, and focus on soothing your child. If you must be paranoid about every little thing, do it after bedtime. Your child will thank you later.
Worry. Concern. Paranoia. It’s really like saying “I love you, I love you more, I love you unconditionally.” It’s natural to be driven crazy over it…because you’re crazy over your child.