Every new parent expects their world to change when their child arrives – I was no different. The prospect of staying at home only broadened my expectation. It only took until Day 2 for me to realize the paradigm shift when my daily focus went from “doing” to “being”.
I used my first day home to get as much done around the house as I could. I was up and freshly shaved and showered, I cleaned the floors, did some laundry, cooked dinner, all while caring for Sweetie. I was used to making task lists and trying to accomplish as much as possible between 6AM and 7PM. Meet the dealines and fulfill the metrics and push for results. At the end of Day 1 I felt accomplished… until Day 2.
On my second day home I did not get anything done – nothing crossed off of my “to-do” list. Sweetie took a bottle slowly, she played too long, took naps out of schedule. I felt like I was hands-on all day taking care of her “to-do” list. I sat with her while she played on her back on her mat, read to her, rocked with her. I spent the day being with her as opposed to doing house work.
Wife had warned me about trying to get too much done during the day. The idea was to take out the tasks and instead take in the experience. Day 2 showed me what she meant and what change was needed. I would need to just be with my daughter and learn how her needs would change my “to-do” list.
If I rate the productivity of our days in the traditional sense, they are all across the spectrum. Some days I get more done than others. But every day is productive in the parenting sense. Each day brings with it some new aspect of this adventure that my family and I are on. And I learn something new about caring for Sweetie every day. I find that when these revelations occur I hear a little voice in my head say, “welcome to parenthood.” And I quietly answer, “what a great place to be”.