Being A New Dad

Time to switch it up a little from all the financial talk. I wanted to share some of what I went through when I found out I was going to be a daddy.

The wife and I were not actively trying to have a child, but we were not taking measures to prevent a pregnancy. We had a long discussion and decided that we were ready and willing to start a family, if it happened. Once I heard those words, "I'm late", I ran to the drug store and picked up a home pregnancy test and almost ran my ass all the way home after work. The test came out positive. It was like Christmas came early for both of us, we were happy to be taking this next step in our lives together. I was one of the few men (maybe the first) in my family who actually wanted a child and did not curse the world when my girlfriend told me she was pregnant. This was all a very new experience for me.

After a few days, a serious case of anxiety set in. Seriously, I felt like everything would fall apart if I missed 1 day of work. I was still living with my mother, trying to save as much as I could by working 3 jobs. My debt was down to a reasonable amount and I was managing pretty well. My girl was still living with her parents and going to school. For me, living separately or with her parents was not really an option. Not for any egotistical reasons like, "ain't no woman and child of mine living with somebody else" or anything like that. I didn't want to be a burden on anyone else. We decided that we wanted to travel this road, we didn't ask anyone else to come with us so we shouldn't hijack any one's personal space. Even though I've seen some of the fam cram about 7 people in a 2 bedroom, and I like a challenge as much anyone, I couldn't let it happen.

This really made me nervous to the point where all I could think about was money. Do we make enough to afford everything, can I still save money, where are we going to live, should we really move out, is it too soon, what if I lose my job, what if something is wrong with the baby. All of these plus 1,000 other crazy thoughts were running through my mind almost daily. Lucky for me, my wife is great at making to do lists and prioritizing. We sat together and figured out what needed to be done and in what order. To all the new daddies out there, this should be step 1 if you have not already done so. There is no substitute for a good wife, I'm a lucky man and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

This calmed down a lot of the anxiety and nausea I was feeling, yes we get nauseous too mommies :) The living situation was step 1. Once we decided that yes we had to move out, it was time to work on a new budget. We figured out what we could afford in rent, and then factored in utilities, cable, and possible baby expenses. My mom and her mom helped with the baby shower and they made sure people got us stuff we would actually use, I can't thank them enough. Savings was step 2 after we worked out all the furniture and what not. Emergency fund (rebuild), college account, everyday savings were next, in that order. The money was going to be tight once I factored in my remaining debt payments and my OK salary. I decided this was not going to work, so I put all extra money towards debt and started hustling more at work to get a promotion. I kept my 2nd job until 6-7 months into the pregnancy. It was bartending, so being at work til 4 in the morning was not ideal with a pregnant wife at home. After I quit, the crazy pain in my neck came right back. Going from three checks to 2 seems small, but I was hording money for so long after being deep in debt before that, it was culture shock. Making time for the family was becoming more important even at this early stage. The other job was real estate photography and it was only once a week. I kept this job for a while and it did help a lot, but still only 2 checks.

I got word that I would be promoted about 1 month before my wife's due date. WOOOOHOOOOO, "Friday night, just got paid". Still not rich but it relieved a lot of my financial worries. We were already moved into the apartment and were just waiting for the little angel.

I witnessed the entire birth...THE WHOLE THING!! Craziest, weirdest, coolest, most wonderful experience I ever had. I appreciated my wife in a whole new way once I saw her push this huge baby (she had her daddy's big head) through that little tiny...well you get the picture. Once she was finally out and they placed her on the little baby table to clean her up and make sure she was ok....it was like an out-of-body experience. She was so perfect, I couldn't believe I helped create this baby. I'm not ready for this, who do I think I am trying to be a father, oh this poor child.....

Because I was so focused on money, I didn't have time to get worked up about the parenting side of fatherhood. Fellas, your never ready. There's no spring training, no exhibition games, no warm-up, nothing. You just jump into the fire and take your licks. My wife took a while to recover from the birth (20+ hours in labor, GOOD LORD) and I was more than happy to let her relax and recuperate after watching what she went through. I thought everything that everyone told me was an exaggeration "your not going to sleep", "she'll cry for no reason", "you never smelled such things coming out of a person"...it's all true. There was no sleeping, plenty of crying (the piglet was Colic for the first 4-5 months), and days that just seem like diaper and formula filled blurs. For those of you who are religious, remember that God never gives you more than you can handle, and you owe it to your wife/girlfriend and baby to be the best man and father you can be.

I sucked it up and picked up a serious coffee habit to keep myself awake. I don't know how babies do it, they must come pre-filled with red bull or Jolt cola or something. It seemed like all she needed was 10 minutes naps every 4 hours to keep her energy up. I learned to cook, somewhat, so my wife would have some decent food to eat, and we read books about parenting together. Just make sure you learn as go along, and ask doctors all the question that your not sure about, even if they get annoyed. I didn't give a damn, this is my baby we're talking about.

It was all worth it, hard as it was. All the planing we did beforehand took care of most of the financial stresses. Doctors, books, our parents and research took care of most of the parenting issues. Babies are people too, and they have their own personalities. Remember that when your trying to figure out what your supposed to do and why she doesn't like you. They don't act the same way everyday and you are as strange to them as they are to you.

I know none of this will help with any anxiety any new dads are feeling out there. The feelings will pass once the baby comes. And that first day she comes to you or calls you "Dada" will bring out the little woman inside every man. Let the tear out, it's been in there for a while :)Everything else will seem small in comparison to your new munchkin.

Thanks for reading

I love you baby

1 comments:

  1. Moneymonk said...

    Awwwwwwww what a story

    Bravo to rad !! Your new little munkins will love you more if one day you read her this article.

    Im glad you broke the family tree and actually wanted a child. Most men have children at the wrong time and as always blame the women. As if she got pregnant on her on. You step up to the plate and handle your responsibilities. Your women should be happy to have you in her life. Some women are not that lucky.

    We planned to have a child and we tried for a year. I was soooo happy when I became pregnant. I have the emergency fund and a decent income and manageble debt. When you have your money organize and in control it makes the journey of fatherhood so much smoother.

    Good story.  


 

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