Roughly three weeks from tomorrow, Sarah and I are going to have our first child. Hooray! It’s an understatement to say that our lives are about to change forever.
Human beings often experience memory distortion as a facet of hindsight bias. In other words, when something surprises us, we tend to weave the surprise into our current belief system, thinking “I knew this was going to happen.” It’s hard for us to remember past predictions and feelings, and it’s especially hard for me.
I thought it would be interesting, therefore, to write down my predictions for early fatherhood before the journey begins. I realize that some of these ideas are naive, and those of you who know better should feel free to chuckle knowingly when appropriate. I will be doing the same when I reread this post in a few months.
Here, in no particular order, are my thoughts and predictions about becoming a father.
1. My Day Will Become Less Predictable
Sarah is eight months pregnant, so I’ve been doing more than usual around the house. I’m pretty routine-driven, but I’ve grown used to frequently stopping what I’m doing to help her. This is a big change from a year ago, when I had near-total control over my time. Today, I have less control. When the kid arrives, I will have way, way, way less.
Diapers will need to be changed, bottles warmed, babies burped and played with. Caring for this kid will rocket to the top of my priority list and bump everything else down a notch (or several). I will still practice trumpet every day and blog twice a week, but I won’t have as much control over every minute.
2. The First Few Weeks Won’t Be So Bad
Okay, here’s the deal. Sarah and I are both taking two weeks off work when the baby arrives. Sarah is then taking seven more weeks off while I go back to work. When she returns to work after nine total weeks of leave, I’m taking another six weeks.
Here’s my boldest prediction: the first few weeks won’t be so bad. The first few days will be overwhelming, of course. We won’t know how to do anything, and even changing a diaper will be a challenge. But after that, um, it seems like we’re going to have plenty of time on our hands (especially during the first two weeks when we’re both home with the kid). We’ll be sleep-deprived, but there are going to be two of us and only one baby. And the baby’s going to nap a lot (hopefully). I predict a lot of downtime during parental leave, just broken into tiny chunks. I’m even planning some minor projects for this period (nothing too cognitively demanding, though).
Am I insanely wrong? Well, I’m doubling down! Two more predictions coming Friday.