Big City Mom recently wrote on being a mother who does nothing.
There is no greater task than the nothing you did yesterday, the nothing you are doing today, and the nothing you will do tomorrow. Caring for a baby is all about the immediate experience, yet the first two years are all about investment. It’s give, give, give, and give some more. These are hard-fought, rough-and-tumble years that can cut us down to our core and take us soaring high above the clouds, all in the space of 5 minutes. And yes, as you do the hardest work of your life, it will seem like you’re not getting anything done at all. Crazy, huh?
Our daughter was born 18 months ago and I've loved every minute of being a father. I was fortunate to take one week off prior to her birth and followed it with another 4 months. Both my wife and I were home for those crucial months and I wish everyone this opportunity. Furthermore, I wish that our society put these initial months of nurturing as a number one priority - but that's another topic. Leaving for the first time was difficult but each time after that has been equally just as hard, if not harder.
I'm blessed that my occupation enables me to dedicate 100% of my time off with our daughter. I couldn't have asked for it any other way. There are times where I would rather enjoy a stress free shower without the worry of her crying, a little gaming here and there, but singing along with her during the intro to Sofia the First, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood or even Dr. McStuffins, brings me joys that I can't even speak of. Watching her feet wiggle with happiness when I feed her or teaching her baby sign language trumps mashing buttons, reading technology news and yes, even flying.
My day usually entails changing her nighttime diaper, changing her into "outdoor" clothes, playing with her, feeding her, changing her diaper, playing some more, followed by a delicious 1.5 hour (or more!) nap, then doing the same that afternoon until my wife comes home.
I'm able to get a few things done around the house, but it's even more amazing how much my wife is able to accomplish. She cooks, cleans, does laundry and washes the dishes. She even plans big parties including writing and mailing her mother's invitations for her upcoming 60th birthday party. All this with our daughter still nursing and sometimes throwing small temper tantrums. Not to mention, the previous month where our daughter was sick almost the entire time proved to the hardest yet, but we got through it together. Compared to me, I'm beat from hanging out and literally doing nothing. I like to call it playing hard.
At the end of the day, I sometimes find myself still in pajamas! After we lay her to bed, my wife and I cuddle on the couch and reflect on the past months. Sometimes we think that we haven't done anything barely remembering the first couple of months, but we come to the realization how amazing life truly is. There's no need or want to do anything else but hold her, hang out with her and play. Sometimes I have to resist the urge to wake her up and play more!
Yes, my wife and I joyfully co-sleep with our daughter on the floor of her room. I really don't understand the need to ever sleep in separate beds, or rooms for that matter, especially during these first two years. Maybe it's me being away for days at a time that I rather be with my entire family. I have friends, some with and others without kids, that look at us like we must be in a living hell, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Our setup makes it rather lonely when I leave and stay in the bed of a hotel in a distant city. I love my family so much and the happiness from being together is truly wonderful.
Sometimes we're able to get things together and venture outside the house. When we do, the beach is usually our go to. There are a few times that I look back and really have to think about what I've done, but then my daughter gives the biggest smile and I know exactly, right there, that what I'm doing is all I need to do. Did I mention, I love my family!
Ultimately, the days go by too fast. She's growing up too quickly but I always cherish every day and every minute I get with her.