Today marks three months since my son was born. It sounds like a cliche, but the time really does fly. I had ideas of accomplishing so much with the Millennial Dad project, and having a new born baby was going to be the icing on the topical cake. Or so I thought.

Instead of being a dad blogger who capitalised on the arrival of a new baby, I did the complete opposite and withdrew from blogging almost entirely.

I’ve barely had any time to write a post, read other bloggers, or follow and contribute on Twitter. If you look at my profile, you would think I’ve gone off the grid.

I’ve failed at blogging… but that’s ok!

Despite becoming a dad for the second time, I’ve realised I definitely don’t know it all. This baby is different from the first one. And I’m different, too. It’s been a big adjustment going from 3 to 4 of us. And just as the oldest one was beginning to play by the rules: social graces, sleeping through the night, that kind of thing, along comes a new one with its own agenda that we have to fit around. Three hour sleep stints, anyone?

So, I may have failed to blog very much, if at all, but here’s three reasons why it’s ok not to do all those extra activities.

 

1. Family.

The arrival of a new baby takes every ounce of effort. From waking up every three hours to rocking to sleep, it’s not easy to get things done with a newborn. Accept help when it’s offered and try to get things done around the house. It’s never going to be perfectly tidy or clean for a while, but that doesn’t matter. Don’t forget to spend time with the other one so she doesn’t feel left out. And try to make time for each other as a couple. Yes, a newborn truly throws family life upside down and inside out.

In the idle moments when you’re not trying to catch up on sleep, you could try to be creative, if you have any capacity left. So, yes, blogging may have to take a back seat for a while.

 

2. Work.

The term “do you live to work, or work to live” may be a conundrum for some people, but those with families should know which side of the fence to sit on. Work should exist to support your family. Yes, do something that fulfils and excites you if you can. Actually this is a must. But don’t confuse work as a substitute for spending time with your family. Especially as man, it’s easy to get sucked back into the world of work after the standard two week paternity leave.

Work is important. It pays the bills. Work hard, go home, be with your family. For however long you’re working, blogging can’t really take precedence. Unless, of course, your job is blogging and social media. And you earn enough to make a significant difference in supporting your family.

 

3. Self-preservation.

Dads and mums can spend a lot of time together in the first few weeks of a new baby’s life. However, it’s not always time spent together in the normal sense of being a couple. You’re both employees, no, you’re unpaid labour solely to care for and grow a baby. Time for yourselves is pretty much non-existent. The time that you do get for yourselves quickly becomes sleep. Not deep, regenerative sleep, but only the light kind that you might snatch on an 8 hour coach journey in a stuffy old coach with sweaty leather seats.

Your body treats any free time that you do have as some form of self-preservation. Given half a minute it will shut down and convince you to rest. This doesn’t lend itself well to the creative arts of blogging. Sometimes you’re just too damned tired to blog. And that’s ok.

I enjoy reading and writing parent blogs. It’s a fun community and I’ve gained a lot of useful tips. I like to contribute when I can and I’ve still got some bigger plans for my blog. Right now is not necessarily the time to execute them. I know when to fight my battles and there’s no point trying to enforce something that’s not absolutely essential.

The key word in all of this is BALANCE.

Each new parent should try to find the right balance of what they want to do in their lives. Those crucial early weeks and months of a baby’s life are so special, you deserve to be at your best to enjoy them.

It seems like an eternity since 2012 when we welcomed a baby daughter into the world.

It was two weeks after I turned 30, and what a way to begin the next decade of my life. We knew absolutely nothing about babies and so signed up to NCT classes, bought books, prepared the nursery, stocked up on nappies and anything else people told us to get.

Somehow the birth all worked out.

Waters broke, we got to hospital on time, it was a textbook birth in the middle of the night. It was quite an experience for my girlfriend and (shh, don’t tell anyone) but I actually found it quite tiring, too. After all, it’s not natural to be stood up all night whispering words of encouragement! Such is there plight of the modern millennial dad. Our fathers and grandfathers were way out of sight and didn’t have to go through any of this. It may have been easier for them in one way but they missed out on taking part in such a miraculous event.

Fast forward four years and many of our fellow NCT friends have gone on to have second children.

We didn’t go in for it to begin with, didn’t want to rush into a second baby straight away. Then we thought we should try, and then it took a bit longer than we expected with a couple of bumps along the road. Now we’re looking forward to welcoming a new addition to the family in late March.

As our impending baby arrival approaches I’m even more terrified than before!

The first time around I knew nothing and prepared for everything. This time I kind of know what to do having been through it before but the closer it gets the more I realise I’ve forgotten. The advice has changed, too. Like how can it be that only four years later it’s now wrong to swaddle a baby?!

Right now, my top three concerns are:

  1. Getting the baby out.

I kind of remember the birthing process from last time but just like women seem to have a selective memory when it comes to the pain of childbirth, I think men also blank out a lot of the experience. The end result is great but the planning of the hospital bag, the preparations in those key early hours when anything can happen, how useful I’ll actually be in supporting my wife, it’s all a bit daunting. I should know this, right? Maybe the pressure of having done it once before means it’s harder the second time because I’ve got a track record now.

  1. Getting the right support.

Our daughter was born with a tongue tie, which made breast feeding difficult and painful for my wife. We struggled to get it diagnosed and it took many weeks before it was resolved. We did get support from midwives, health visitors and other experts, but it was sometimes difficult to access and confusing what to ask for. Being the first time we had a child meant we didn’t feel like the experts but we knew something wasn’t right. We got help in the end and I praise the health services for their support, but there’s no denying that the NHS is stretched and it’s sometimes hard to get the right support we need. I hope we manage to navigate it ok this time.

  1. Juggling two children.

When the contractions started back in 2012 we only had to worry about getting ourselves to the hospital. Now we’ve got a four-year-old and need to make provisions for grandparents to come around. We’ve got to coordinate getting the new baby back home, getting our eldest to nursery, getting me to work and making sure my wife has everything she needs in those first few days and weeks to be with the baby. We’ve left it four years between children so it can’t be as bad as a one or two-year age gap, surely? It’ll be interesting to see how it all fits together.

I’m really excited about our new arrival.

It’s going to be great to have another member of the family. I think our daughter’s turned out ok so far and I’m sure we can do it all again. One big change since last time is I’ve discovered this wonderful world of parent bloggers. There’s so much wisdom and humour amongst this group, I think it will be a pretty good source of support. So if you find a random question on your blog about something you’ve posted, please look kindly on it and help me out!