Parenthood Is Pretty Much Nothing Like I Thought It Would Be

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Expect the unexpected — that should seriously be the theme of parenthood.

I anticipated having a close bond with my daughter, but nowhere near this strong.

I figured there would be tough times as a dad, but not to this extreme.

I assumed that I wouldn’t get as much sleep, but my goodness.

I had a feeling life would change, but I didn’t expect a whole new life.

The expectations I had about fatherhood were pretty much way off the mark.

You know when you’re playing darts at a bar and you’re shooting for that bullseye, but your dart misses the board all together, hits the wall and falls on the ground? The bullseye is what I thought parenthood would be and, yup, my dart is laying on the ground.

Becoming a dad has opened up my eyes to an entirely new world—a world that frankly I don’t even think I really knew existed.

I guess I can take solace in the fact that there is a good chance I am not the only new dad who’s been completely blindsided.

I also can’t say I wasn’t warned, because, well, I definitely was warned.

Another thing I didn’t expect? The extent of the challenges you’re faced with in your relationship with your partner.

I can absolutely see why kids can end up being a large contributing factor to the downfall of a relationship between a child’s mother and father.

I realize that’s a bold statement, but I think it has some truth to it.

You better be ready to communicate. You better be ready to become teammates. And you better be willing to avoid sweating the small stuff, because those not-so-important things will eat you alive if you let them.

Elly is about seven weeks old as I write this, but in a dramatic kind of way it feels like we’ve been through 7 years of turmoil.

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She’s a lot to handle, but she’s worth every bit of it.

I’ve come to realize and accept that almost every baby experiences some issues (or maybe not and it just seems like this could be the case). For Elly, it’s been severe stomach and gas problems.

You hear about how hard it is to see your child in pain—and holy crap—it’s freakin’ hard to see your child in pain. Watching her squirm and cry and just be downright uncomfortable and unhappy? It’s very difficult and leaves you feeling totally helpless.

We’ve tried a number of remedies, and we are still working to get the issue resolved.

It’s such an interesting dilemma because while doctors can make strong assumptions on what they think is the problem, it’s tough to always be totally accurate when it comes to internal issues with a newborn.

Furthermore, the troubles of an unhappy baby naturally bleed into the mental state of a child’s mother too.

Aralyn has struggled with seeing Elly so unhappy.

Aralyn’s personality is one that involves a deep concern for the well-being of those in her life she considers close to her (something I love about her!). Obviously, Elly is at the very top of that list and so if Elly is unhappy—yes, you guessed it—Aralyn is unhappy too.

As you can imagine, two unhappy ladies in one household makes for one new dad that isn’t really sure what the heck he got himself into!

I hate to make this whole blog post about the unexpected tougher challenges of parenthood and would like to conclude with the unexpected positives of being a new dad.

When Elly is happy? When she is smiling and staring up at me with what I think are going to be her big beautiful blue eyes? Fahgettaboudit! There is literally nothing like it. And I do mean nothing.

I didn’t expect the extent of the challenges, but I also didn’t expect the fullness I feel inside my heart and my body that Elly has brought to me.

Truthfully, I didn’t know it was possible to love this deeply. I love Aralyn with all my heart, but the love of a child is a different kind of love (and I’m sure Aralyn feels that same love for Elly so I am not worried she is going to read this and be disappointed).

My advice for new dads and new parents (yes, apparently I’m qualified to give parental advice now because I’ve been a dad for almost two months!)?

Expect the unexpected—and I hope you like roller coasters, because you’re about to ride the most intense one of your life.

Oh, and don’t feel bad when your dart drops on the ground.

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