… a bartender in a college town, trying hard not to graduate or grow up. I stayed up late, drank too much, and did whatever the hell I wanted, whenever the hell I wanted to.
I thought I had it all: no future, because the present was so awesome!
And then… it all changed.
My wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Her royal highness, princess of the house, Valentina Ivette. Now I’m a stay-at-home dad with plenty of future and many, many reasons to be better. No longer can I do anything, whenever I want. It takes meticulous planning to move a baby more than one mile away from the house and usually, it’s just not worth it. Oh, and I’m probably too tired.
Having Valentina has been the strangest, most stressful, rewarding, exhausting, confusing, best thing that has ever happened to me. Everything I thought I knew about myself was wrong and the way I look at people around me has changed. We all start out as a blank slate; simple pee and poo machines that also cry, eat and sometimes sleep. Like the computers I work with, we need to be taught everything. That’s where everything gets crazy. I’m responsible for the education and upbringing of this mini-human. What do I know about anything (see above)?
Not only am I now a parent, I’m also the primary parent. In an exciting reverse of rolls, my wife makes all of the money as a Veterinarian while I work for a medical software company from home – not making all that much money. The adventure of being the Mr. Mom is incredible. For a while, I had no idea what I was doing and neither did Valentina. We learn as we go and experiment until we have have a system that works for both of us (if it works for the baby, it works for me).
That’s what this is all about. So many times I’ve said to myself or my wife, “why has nobody mentioned this before,” or “that would probably be interesting to someone in my situation.” So I’m writing it all down. Not in any order or organization, just as it comes to me. My hope is that another new father finds this on the internet and it strikes a chord with him. That they can recover from one of the bad days and say, “We made it through that one, I did the best I could, we’re both still healthy, I deserve a beer.”
Let me tell you: even though my wife works a lot, she still has no problems with Valentina. It’s like she is never gone and the baby responds to her all of the time. I am here all of the time and I still have to work at it. I don’t think men are made for this kind of stuff and we need to let each other know that we’re doing okay.