Guest Blogger: My Baby Doesn’t Care if I Get My Work Done

Noah fat face

Last March, my friend, Justin Cox, wrote a post for mamawolfe just as he and his wife found out they were having a baby.  Ten months later, he’s back with a reflection about parenting-from the dad’s point of view.

I wake up early all week long and spend the bulk of my day hovering over a laptop in my apartment. Sometimes I don’t go outdoors until my “shift” ends, which is usually between 4 and 7 p.m., depending on the weight of the news day.

I used to regularly do the bulk of my writing in downtown Davis coffee shops (I’m a news editor), but five months ago, my wife and I had a baby (His name is Noah). Two weeks ago, my wife went back to work as an afterschool program coordinator. She works from 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

During the first few days after my wife went back to work, I found myself bouncing Noah on my knee while scanning local news and attempting to plow right on through my workday. Half of my attention on the job and half of my attention on the baby.

During those three hours, I’m Noah’s sole caretaker. My work production lightens significantly, unless he gifts me a long, deep nap – which very really happens. (Only in the cozy-comfort of my dreams).

As the week unfolded, I learned a lesson. A crying baby can do plenty of teaching, it turns out.

With this in mind, I had to rethink my schedule and alter my approach.Not only was a producing second-rate work during those three distracting hours per day, but I was also acting like a second-rate dad. I was pretty much squandering away this block of high-quality time with my son, who will be bigger tomorrow than he is today. And even bigger than that the next day, because that’s how it works.

I’m really lucky to have a job that allows me to be home, and to bend my hours to accommodate my new family without having to shell out all kinds of money for daycare. Those three hours are something I should be taking advantage of. They’re a very legitimate reason for me to snap my laptop shut for a few hours everyday and get outside, or just lay a blanket across the floor and play with Noah.

Noah outside

Or just keep him from crying, or rock him to sleep, etc.

By the end of last week, I had exchanged my half-assed combo of working and babysitting simultaneously for long walks in the park with Noah strapped to my chest. We stop along the way so Noah can contemplate the skateboarders and the dogs we see along the way. This gets me outside, and it lets Noah have my full attention.

But here’s the ironic part of this new approach: At some point during that walk, he conks out, at which point I walk back home, lay him down in his crib, and go back to my computer to get some work done.

Noah

 To see what Justin does when Noah is sleeping, head over to DavisPatch.com, one of the Patch sites he edits.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Another Day

Her face is turned toward the window, nestled on a deep feather pillow.  Long dark lashes flutter as I kiss her cheek, brushing back soft strands of hair from her forehead.  It is dark out, yet she will rise and greet another day.

His face is face up, eyes closed, arms thrown back over his head in the same position as when he slept as an infant.  I reach down to kiss the sweet spot between his jaw and neck, and he groans and pulls the covers tighter.  It is dark out, yet he will rise and greet another day.

Sleepily she pads downstairs, honey colored hair still in a messy braid.  Too early to eat, she sips cold orange juice as she pulls on long underwear and ski socks.  It is dark out, yet she will go and meet another day.

Groggily he pulls on his fuzzy black and white skull patterned bathrobe and gulps down fresh water.  He trods down the stairs, too full of chatter for such an early start.  It is dark out, yet he will go and meet another day.

She dresses quickly yet deliberately.  No worries about appearances, she thinks only of the snow that awaits her.  It is cold out, yet she will be brave and face another day.

He pulls on his layers, sweet grapefruit juice dribbling down his chin.  Thinking only of the countdown to Christmas, he hugs me in anticipation.  It is cold out, yet he will be brave and face another day.

Methodically she unscrews her ski helmet face bar in the dark lodge, preparing for the morning workout ahead of her.  Layer upon layer upon layer she bundles up and heads towards the lift, tousled braid whipping in the wind.  It is dawn out, and she gets to have another day.

Slowly he prepares for the snow, insisting on doing it alone.  His fuzzy brown head disappears beneath a royal blue helmet and goggles, contrasting the lime green and black of his jacket.  We kiss goodbye, my assurance I will be waiting for him when he returns.  It is dawn out, and he gets to have another day.

Yet as I sit by the window watching the sun crest the snow-covered hills, I cry for the mother and child who are apart, who will never feel their arms around each other again, and who cannot brush away each other’s tears.

It is bright out, and I get to have another day.

 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Friday Blog Hop: Parenting

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This week’s question is:
“What’s the one thing that surprised you most
about being a parent?”
Please read my post ‘I Remember Sleep’ to see my response!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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I Remember Sleep

I remember when I used to sleep.  It was really a wonderful time. I would actually sleep until my body woke me up, not the alarm. Not a child screaming from a nightmare, nor sleepwalking down the hall.  Not the ding of an incoming text nor the toot of car horns outside my window.  I could sleep through our barking dog, blaring sirens, and our screeching burglar alarm.
I remember slipping softly into crisp high thread count sheets on my soft, pillow top mattress.  I remember the feeling of the cool breeze floating down on my face from the window open just above me.  Sleep came easily, quickly, silently, lasting 10, 11, sometimes 12 hours.  Bliss.

I remember sleep.  She would come almost anywhere-on a boat, in a plane, on the floor of the train station, on a bench, or in a car.  She didn’t need just the right place, nor any special stuff.  Upright, laid out, or curled up she descended.

I remember waking up peacefully to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the chirping of sparrows in my garden.  I remember the swoosh of the sprinklers soaking my lawn.  Not an alarm, not the thud of footsteps down the hall, nor the thwack of the newspaper hitting my front door.
I remember sleep.  I used to think maybe I slept too much, that I was ‘wasting the day’.  What I know now was that I was storing up, notching the hours for the deprivation yet to come.  Not dozens, not tens, but hours that can be counted on one hand each night.

I remember sleep.  Maybe someday she will return.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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