A Father’s Work

I’m tired. I stare absently at my phone, only partially absorbing the news article, or whatever it is, that shines back at me. She lays on my lap staring at me wide eyed, wondering what this dummy I am testing out on her is. I’m catching an artificial break from her evening fussing after the experimental bottle feed hasn’t soothed her off to sleep like my wife’s, much more effective, feeding method seems to. Since going back to work the end of the week is the hardest.

How am I sleeping?, I’m asked by literally everyone I talk to. In truth, I am sleeping well. Maybe a bit less each night than I used to, but I sleep heavily because I am so exhausted after a long day at work which is book-ended by doing those things that my wife and I used to share. The cooking, cleaning, washing up, tidying, errands to shop. Add to that the additional support I give my wife, bringing her what she needs, and offering those precious breaks from feeding or bouncing or singing. I’m glad to do this of course. It’s harder for her, as her time is entirely consumed by attending to our daughter all throughout the day and night, feeding on demand.

Before she came I wondered what my role in the pregnancy was. Now I reflect on my role as parent; as her dad. Things will inevitably change, they already have so much, but it feels a bit deflating at this point as it dawns on me that really my daughter has no dependency on me at all. At least for now. At less than one month old her primary requirement is food, and I can only give that to her indirectly by making dinner for my wife, or by being eyed suspiciously as I administer expressed milk through a rubber teat. In the meantime I’ll just keep fighting the tiredness, helping how I can, waiting until that glimmer of a moment where my daughter looks to me to be there for her.

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