My approach to life can be summed up by the immortal knowledge bomb dropped by Doc. Emmett L. Brown:
“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
Side note: someone really needs to put this saying to work and invent my damn hoverboard. It’s been 20-plus years now. Make this happen already.
Anywho, I never needed 1.21 Gigawatts to power my determination for success. But whenever I have used my willpower to charge my goal setting, I’ve been able to dominate: from graduating college to getting that job as a Sports Anchor to moving to New York City to starting my own business. I did it all like a boss. And now, well … I am a boss. Okay, it may be a company of just me. But, whatever.
So, as this new role as a first-time dad bears down on me like a colossal rogue meteor ready to impact the surface of my unsuspecting world, I prepare to conquer this assignment like everything else I’ve dominated so far in life.
I mean, it can’t be that tough, right? If Kanye freakin’ West can father a baby, I can certainly handle this daddy thing.
It’s pretty much sunshine and roses with some shitty diapers mixed in between. Or so I think that’s how this is gonna down.
I’m calling in Ben Affleck and his team of renegade miners to blast my meteoric expectations out of the sky. We are pleased to introduce our good friend Rachel Sobel from Whine and Cheez (Its) who is going to set the record straight on how this whole parenting thing really works.
I’ll set up some of my expectations and she’ll knock ‘em down (or even build ‘em up) with the reality of it all.
No. 1 – I’m never going to sleep again.
Rachel’s Take: NEVER! And when you do it will be with one eye slightly ajar like you are waiting to defend yourself against Tony Montana’s henchman (hoping they actually leave the Cannoli because you also don’t have time to sit and have real meals anymore).
No. 2 – Sleep training works like a breeze and lil’ baby Cataldo will be sleeping through the night in about 8-12 weeks after birth.
Rachel’s Take: BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. In the interest of full disclosure, I did do sleep training and it did work. However, babies always have some problem arise that fucks everything up. Teething, gas, and about a million other things rear their head and make you start from square one. Let me put it to you this way – there came a fork in the road for me, more than once where I had to choose between being a sleep training Nazi and sacrifice my own or just let her climb in my bed where she magically passed out every time and mama got a few hours herself. Now she’s 6 and in her bed but wakes me up at least 2-3 times a night to come lay with her. I’m currently looking into building a custom bed that will fit my husband and I, as well as her and her future husband – that’s the road I’m on. FML
No. 3 – She’s never leaving the house. Papa Bear ain’t messin’ around with those punk kids trying to date my daughter.
Rachel’s Take: I’m with you 100%. I often consider putting her in a burka when I see the tweens trolling the local mall in jean shorts so short that I can see vagina. I’ve also contemplated locking her in a room like Sloth from the Goonies but I’m pretty sure it counts as false imprisonment.
No. 4 – I will not be at the business end of my wife’s labor.
I will not be at the business end of my wife’s labor.
I will not be at the business end of my wife’s labor.
Rachel’s Take: Yes. Good plan. Because it looks like a murder scene. There’s a reason the bathroom in the hospital room is stocked with maxi pads that look like they were made for Andre the Giant (may he rest in peace), ice packs and Preparation H. Look away. You can’t unsee this.
No. 5 – So there’s no instruction booklet for this stuff, huh?
Rachel’s Take: Nope and I urge you to do a spring cleaning on Facebook because you are going to get so much unsolicited advice from asshole parents who think they they know everything and will swear their kids are reading at 8 weeks old, sleeping like perfect angels from the day they got home, prefer kale and broccoli over M&M’s and fart rainbows. In the throes of parenthood you really learn who your real friends are.
No. 6 – Good thing I have a full-stocked bar at home, because I’ll never have a social life again. That said, I will be able to keep up with my addiction, um, AFFECTION for wine and bourbon.
Rachel’s Take: This is mostly true. Your social life will basically turn into adult play dates that coincide with kid play dates. When you are ready, you will totally take advantage of getting a sitter and venturing out, but for the love of god, pace yourself. Because it’s all fun and games throwing em’ back at a bar reliving your pre-child days…..but you know what’s NOT fun? When your child is prying your hungover eyes open at 6:30 am to get them a sippy cup with milk.
No. 7 – Shit just got real. Like, this diaper situation … is this really gonna be like an all-hands on deck kinda thing?
Rachel’s Take: If you EVER want to have sex again, then yes, it’s most certainly an all hands on deck kinda thing. And do NOT wait for her to ask. Just get your ass up off the couch – no matter how many seconds are left in double OT, and change the baby you helped make. Oh, and also, BTDubs….nothing, and I mean nothing, can fully prepare you for the first diaper blow out. You’ve been warned.
No. 8 – Will I ever be able to look at the boob the same way again?
Rachel’s Take: Yes. The National Geographic-sized nipples will go back to normal, she’ll let you touch them again because they’ll stop being so sore, and all will be right in the world. And if they don’t snap back, and she wants a boob job, say yes. She grew your child in her body. That’s like super hero shit and you are basically never allowed to say no again.
No. 9 – Cute daughter means cute outfits, right? My little girl is gonna be on fleek seven days a week. (I’m told “on fleek” is what the kids are saying these days). Or maybe I just need to stick with the onesie uniform.
Rachel’s Take: I mean, I know this is coming from a woman who has a daughter. And she IS super girly, just like me. But you’re damn straight! Not taking advantage of all the ridiculously cute outfits and accessories for little girls is like getting a salad at the world’s top steakhouse.
No. 10 – Sex? Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat. Seriously: has this completely left the building? Or does it make an appearance every once in a while, like a Tupac hologram?
Rachel’s Take: It will totally happen just don’t be an asshole about it. Let a sister heal! And be realistic. In the beginning especially, sleep deprivation and the desperation to just have your pre-baby body back, is enough to make you want to be celibate. When your wife is between feedings, diaper blowouts, laundry, and everything else on the list of tending to a newborn, your penis is not always a priority. Accept it gracefully and you will be rewarded.
Rachel’s (Final) Take: I love that the Daddies from DaddyMindTricks included me in this one. Nothing and nobody can prepare you for what parenthood really is. It’s the most rewarding, exhausting, unpredictable, scary, insanely messy journey of your life. I am equal parts tired and amazed every damn day. My body is not exactly where I’d like it to be, I could stand to dress a little cuter sometimes, wear my hair in a ponytail less and I am basically a human purse for my daughter, shlepping everything from snacks to dolls to sippy cups, and everything in between. I could KILL it on “Let’s Make a Deal.” If I had a shekel for every time I heard, “Mom can you hold this?” I’d have a shitload of shekels. But I wouldn’t trade any of it. Not a single iota. And when I’m old and can’t walk so well, I’ll make her push me in a blinged-out adult stroller (read: wheelchair) just like I carted her around in her fancy stroller. I’ll make her do my hair 100 times because there are still “too many bumps in my ponytail” and I’ll make her carry ALL my shit. And I know she’ll do it because we love each other fiercely.
A huge shout out to Rachel for keeping it 100 on this post and hooking it up with the first of many mash ups between Whine and Cheez (Its) and DaddyMindTricks. It’s always intriguing and frankly a nice change of pace to get a fresh perspective from a member of the opposite sex – especially one that has been front and center in the trenches of this ongoing battle we call parenting.