Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dads, How Do You Do It

Experienced dads, how do you do it? I have one child and no full-time
job; many of you have multiple children and a full-time job – some of
you with a job that is more than full-time, with long hours and lots
of travel. My kid is a good kid – she's got a sweet disposition, she
goes down at night relatively easily, and she plays with me to her
heart's content. I know there are kids that are harder to parent than
Jada, in terms of their temperament and their sleeping habits. My
wife is a wonderful mom and homemaker, tending to our daughter so well
and doing 99.9% of the cleaning and laundry -- OK, really 100% -- and
she doesn't work more than a handful of shifts a month. I know some
dads who do all this without a partner or with a spouse who works
full-time, some even more than full-time with their own travel.

And yet I've been sick twice now in the two months I've been a dad,
and both times have lasted much longer than I'm used to being sick.
Jada's now had three nights in a row of not sleeping well, so the lack
of a full night's sleep certainly doesn't help my chances of getting
over this cold.

And yet in the grand scheme of things, even these blips have been
relatively easy. I can think of much worse things dads have to go
through than waking up for an hour in the middle of the night. I'm
still getting three or four hours of sleep before and after. I know
dads who haven't gotten more than two hours sleep in a row for weeks,
others who have had to rush their kids to the emergency room, and
still others who have had to agonize over their child in a hospital
room or surgical unit.

And yet with all that I have going for me, my body is still falling
apart. So again I ask you experienced dads, who have had to deal with
a lot harder stuff with a lot more kids and a lot less time – how do
you do it?

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