Two weeks ago, I did something that I had been avoiding for over two months. It was something that I had hoped I wouldn’t have to face for a while longer.
I went back to work.
I decided to write down how I was feeling throughout the day:
0645: I would definitely rather be at home feeding the baby at this time.
0930: I feel the same as earlier but at least I’m starting to re-acclimate to my work environment.
1200: I’m glad my work day is going well but a single text or picture from my wife makes me miss being home again.
1500: I’m getting more comfortable with work, but again, the messages from home… 😥
1900: I’m so happy to wrap up at work and start heading home.
Eventually, I got through my first set of shifts but I was most surprised about how I felt after a couple of weeks of work.
I felt… disconnected.
I would come home from a long work day to a crying baby that I couldn’t get a read on anymore. I used to just hold my baby while he was crying to get a decent idea of what he needed. Instead I was filled with confusion and frustration.
So what now?
My wonderful wife told me to spend more time with my baby.
It’s simple but it worked. Just being with baby throughout the day, during my days off, helped me feel much more connected. When I worked, I only had, approximately, an hour to and hour and a half to spend with baby, leaving my experience completely up to his mood. In the evening, more often than not, he wasn’t in a good mood. I envy those who work from home. Unfortunately, that’s not a possibility for me. My option is to continue working as I am and to try and spend meaningful time with my baby on my days off. I’m sure the connection with my baby will continue to strengthen but it was very disheartening to feel so disconnected.
I’m not sure if any other dads share or have shared my experience. I can’t speak for anyone else but it seems like the solution (at least my solution) is to simply spend time with your baby. Spend time with him or her and mean it.