Introducing Derek, my delightful husband, who will pop in every once in a while to guest post! I don’t think I can honestly give an accurate representation of what parenthood is like if I leave out half of the parent equation! I also believe that as much as there is a healthy online community for moms helping moms, there is a shortage of dads helping dads and hopefully this contributes positively to that! Dad’s perspective matters too! (He has made one post before (here) but I thought I should formally introduce him! ♡)
Get them home from the hospital safe. Check!
Now what? The number of times I have asked myself this question. Let me tell you at this age, twins are hard. They have so many needs but they are also so independent or codependent on each other. Hollie has their routine down to a science (at least I think so) and I’m left trying to simultaneously stick to the plan and figure it out. I mean how could I know? I’m gone for at least 8 hours Monday to Friday & I miss the morning routine Saturday to maintain my sanity by getting a workout in (thanks babe). I’m left with trying to establish a meaningful relationship with my boys, a semblance of the relationship I had with Hollie and provide for the people who truly mean the most to me. Most of the time I ask what is best to do. I mean I ask Hollie because I think she knows what is best, but does she really know any more than me? I mean we’ve been parents for the same amount of time but she’s around them more. So I guess what I’ll touch on is the beginning to dad life before we really have a significant role in the development of our kids.
Now don’t kid yourself (dad joke intended) we have a significant role all the time in our kid’s lives. We not only provide for the family while mom is off work busy keeping them alive, but, we also come home and try to keep mom together. No joke. Most of my time spent with the boys is to give Hollie a much needed “break”. She spends all day with them and no matter how tired I am after a day at work I spend at least an hour with them solo to give her a chance to do the things she wanted to get done that day. Plus side to this is she makes me dinner (key to my heart let me tell ya!). In that hour I lose my mind without fail. These two are absolutely full of beans. I thought I could hang but my goodness they make me feel old. A full test of patience and partner that with the fact I am still getting used to humans that I can’t reason with (the dog was better than they are now!). I wouldn’t trade it for anything because being able to watch them have fun with a table makes me look at the simple things in my life and wonder how I can make it fun (I’m looking at you endless amounts of laundry).
As new dads I think our role shifts to provider when we are away and support system when we are around. Now a popular/unpopular opinion depending on who you ask is that mom knows best (please don’t think that I always remember this). Hollie knows these boys much better than I do. The little tricks to get them to stop climbing the table, the gate, the door frame, the door, anything really is remarkable. So I just keep pulling them down and moving them, pulling them down and moving them, pull- you get the point. I spin my tires and then this voice from above says that I should get on the floor with them and pull out some different toys (thank you baby Jesus..I mean Hollie). What I think we forget most as dads is that the moms lean on us just as much if not more than we lean on them. We provide them with outside information as well as a fresh perspective on what may or may not work.
One of my biggest complaints to Hollie in the early stages of figuring out these two monkeys was that she parented me too much and didn’t let me figure it out for myself- I mean how hard could it be?- and she was always telling me to this or that with them. Don’t get me wrong I need some direction but what is the harm in getting in the thick of it and figuring something else out? I think that is what is going to set apart the dads and the great dads. A great dad figures it out for themselves (but don’t forget to ask for help once you realize you’re up shits creek – sometimes literally.) I pride myself on being able to get the boys to sleep when the usual mom tricks aren’t working. I am in no means thinking I am doing anything ground breaking. I could always be a better dad but I am learning as much about being a dad as my boys are about having one. I try to be involved as much as I can or if I can’t directly be involved I try to help indirectly (starting a load of wash, prepping bottles, prepping the night routine etc.). To me these things come naturally because the competitor in me wants to do more than mom (fat f***ing chance of that eh?).
My role used to be to support Hollie in her endeavours and help elevate her to be the best version of herself. Now it’s to play a support role in her becoming a mom and to keep these boys breathing (we’re not at the hard parenting stage just yet). My role is to pick up the pieces that she drops or if she hasn’t dropped anything to keep them in harmony. The boys are happy and I take that as a success, not of my own but of hers. If there was any advice I would give to new dads is to leave work at work and be present when you get home, be involved in whatever routine you can be as often as possible and, lastly, to change the stinkin’ diapers.
Hope this is the slightest bit helpful and no, seriously, change the diapers.