No one can prepare you for life after having a child. Everyone tells you that sleep will be pretty much nonexistent after the baby arrives, but it’s hard to imagine the exhaustion if you haven’t been through the experience yourself.
My son’s arrival has been the greatest gift I could have ever imagined, but it has taken some adjustment. As a father, I know my challenges are different than my wife’s, but we face them together and we support each other through sleepless nights, professional changes and a brand new purpose.
I used to think I knew what sleep deprivation was, staying up into the early morning to finish up a project to meet a deadline. Those bouts of insomnia with the television blaring. Endless cups of coffee.
Yet truthfully, I had no idea.
I know that everyone feels this way with a newborn in the house, and now I feel like I’m part of a special club only new parents belong to. We see each other in the aisles of CVS, buying diapers and caffeine pills and wordlessly exchange sympathy. I never knew this kind of chronic exhaustion existed, and while my son is totally worth it, some days there isn’t enough coffee in the world.
Back before the baby arrived, I used to work up to 18 hours a day as a tech-business consultant. My career is still important to me, but the relationship with my son has changed my relationship to my career. Now, my priorities have less to do with professional growth, promotions, recognition and more to do with providing for my son and being there for him. Of course, I’d still like to have an engaging career, raises, and more responsibility, but that takes a back seat to the responsibilities I now have to my family.
A New Schedule
On top of working so much, my wife and I used to love going out with friends. We’d check out a new winery or spring for a fancy dinner, enjoying each other’s company and recharging. Now, I just can’t wait to get home to the baby and my wife so we can be a family together. I know as he gets older, we’ll be able to make time for date night again, but for now, I can’t imagine leaving him in the evenings.
Shifting Priorities: A Purpose in Life
Sure, my schedule has changed. I work less, I’m up almost all night caring for the baby and I’ve lost time to myself. But the biggest changes have been in my purpose and priorities. For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a purpose. My son may not be able to talk, walk, or even hold up his head yet, but he has made me realize what is most important in life. My life finally feels complete.