Saturday, 13 September 2014

Here's to The Daddies!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I recently returned to work. This has largely resulted in two things: an increase in breast-pumping frequency has left me with alarmingly stretched nipples, and I suddenly have an enormous amount of respect for baby daddies.

After nine glorious months off work, I have dutifully agreed to honour my full time hours for the next month before switching to a part-time contract in October. The result? I'm absolutely bloody exhausted. Blake isn't a particularly difficult baby, and yet getting us both organised in the mornings, delivering him to various family members/child minders, working, coming home, dinner, bath and bedtime has somewhat taken its toll on my energy levels. This got me thinking about my husband. Wait! No! Come back! I'm not about to get all doe eyed (again), but I was suddenly very aware that he went through all of this when Blake was less than a month old and waking at all times of the night. Naturally, due to breastfeeding, Mr Meaney was unable to actually give any night feeds himself, but he would nearly always get up before me and change the baby's nappy and get everything set up for me to come and nurse. Let us not forget that a father's sleep is broken by a crying baby too, even if they're not actually waking fully. While we can often spend the next day in a halfway catatonic state, more often than not the men have to go to work and function as full human beings. 

Mr Meaney, in particular, would then come home to nothing short of chaos and find himself tidying up an ocean of toys and making dinner for the wife that was now more or less constantly plugged into a baby. It puts what I'm doing now into perspective, that's for sure. Don't get me wrong, I'm bloody proud of what I'm managing to achieve - not least the fact that my baby is still on breast milk despite my loathing of expressing - but I do have to give my husband the recognition that he deserves; the man's a bloody machine. He does all of this and still finds the energy to stay up until the early hours on a school night watching WWE.

Resulting in this.

Then I got to thinking about dads in general; not just the live-in daddies of small babies - changing nappies and giving bottles - but the dads of older children, the dads who don't live with their children and the step- and foster dads of the World. Every single dad who makes the effort to be there for a child deserves a little recognition; so often they are forgotten about as the mother is showered with love and attention. I know dads who don't see their little ones as much as they'd like, but for whom that tiny person is their entire universe. I know dads who work away a lot and for whom every night spent in a lonely hotel room causes fresh heartbreak. And I know step-dads who would move heaven and earth to make life just a tiny bit easier for a child that doesn't share their DNA - mine included.

I know that to raise, love and support a child is a basic requirement of being a father, but there are many out there - and mothers, too - who do none of these things. On a blog that so often celebrates what it means to be a woman with a baby, I just wanted to say to the ever present and loving fathers: you guys absolutely rock and I love every single bloody one of you.

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