Most people may say that being a parent to a 3 month old is easy. Your in the good stage now where you can just put them one place and they'll be there when you return, but wait until they start walking. Since having a child there has always been a comparison of how a baby acts compared to how a toddler may act. To me they are both great stages because you enjoy them in their infancy because they are cute and cuddly but you look forward to them growing up, no matter how busy they are, because it shows signs of them advancing. I would say that although my 3 month old does well staying in the place that I put him, there are times when I'm not able to be productive in making sure the house is clean.
Lately being a college student and a stay at home parent has been a bit difficult. As soon as I get the energy or motivation to start being productive he tends to wake up. For instance, every week I try to set a goal for myself of getting as much homework done before the weekend arrives so I can have more time to focus on family activities. I wouldn't say that I blame it on my son because he obviously doesn't understand that daddy has things to get done for the house, including his homework, but it can become quite discouraging when I make it to the weekend and I haven't done what I've needed to do. Today was a great example of wanting to be productive with doing homework, blogging and household duties. While I was able to do it later in the day it would have been nice to have had it done much earlier. My son became extremely active today, not wanting to take a nap, and at one point forcing me to call my wife to ask her what was in his milk because he was so full of energy.
As a stay at home parent I've learned that my first dedication is to ensure that my son is taken care of. If I have to stay up until midnight writing a blog or getting homework done all that matters is that his needs were met first. It never dawned on me until this week how important it was to use my time as wisely as possible while he was napping or while we were just having down time. I have come to the conclusion that there will even be times that I will need to nap with him because I can't function properly on lack of sleep. I'm not the type of parent who wants to stress about things that I have no control over getting completed. My desire is to be the parent who makes sure his son has all the attention and care that he needs, not the parent who stresses about making sure the house is in order and the chores are completed.
I never thought that having a child would be such a major adjustment for my wife and and I. Before his arrival it was easy for my wife and I to jump up and go without having to pack a diaper bag or make sure we have enough bottles for whatever adventure we had planned for the day. It was easy for us to go on our weekly two or three night out on the town dinner and movies without having to worry about who's going to babysit the little one. It's been a major adjustment but we haven't regretted it one bit. Also, I would say staying in Michigan and having a child in the winter was quite difficult. There are many moments when we have to clearly say there's no way that we'll be going out due to the freezing temperatures. That sometimes can make it more difficult for me since I'm in the house all day and I was always the one who wanted to be on the go. My wife enjoys being in the house relaxing. The adjustments don't just stop there. We've had even more adjustment and balancing lately financially simply because with one income we've had a $20,000 plus decrease in finances. This isn't something that has affected us greatly because we've had many struggles before our little one came that we've made it through together. But we've come to the understanding that we know we've made the right decision simply based on our trust in God. The thought of having to work just to pay someone else to care for our son became very unrealistic to us knowing that if one of us wasn't to work we would save money with not having to pay someone else. This is making us even more financially savvy.
Overall, during these last three weeks with my little one I've learned that the adjusting and balancing is well worth it. In time things will get easier, especially the more my wife and I lean on God's understanding, he will continue to guide us.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6
Matthew Gamble Sr. is a father, husband, friend, and blogger. He writes about what it's like to raise Matthew Gamble II also known as M2 as a stay at home father. Join him on his journey into fatherhood with Mr. Daddy Duties!!!