No, I’m not talking about hanging out with The Offspring, I’m talking about your offspring. Working full time during the week and the occasional long days at work limit the time I get to spend with my son. Most of that time in the evenings is spent tag-teaming baby duties with my wife, so his attention is usually split between us until he goes to sleep. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, at times I am envious of the one-on-one time my wife gets to spend with him during the week while I’m at work (at least when he’s not hangry or tired, she can have that time).
On the weekends however, I try and get in some solo time with my little man every chance that I get. Are there a million other things I’d like to do on the weekends in my off time like marathon a TV show I want to get caught up on, or watch a good horror flick since my wife refuses to watch scary movies? Definitely. Would I like to spend time working on promoting my new blog, writing new articles, or working on the site coding on the back end? You bet. But all that takes second fiddle to getting to spend time alone with my son for a little while.
Work Up to It
Like any new venture though, I’d caution new dad’s to work their way into solo missions gradually.When it comes to dealing with 50 Shades of Baby, mom’s definitely get the short end of the stick, as for them it’s truly sink-or-swim in learning how to deal with their various moods throughout the day and night. When I’m not home and he gets cranky, she doesn’t have anyone she can turn to and hand him off, she has to figure out a way to deal with it. Unless you’re a stay at home dad and get tossed into the deep end as well, you at least get a chance to ease into dealing with the minion in their different emotional states. I’ve got it down pretty good now, but for a while I had to turn to her with that sort of “I don’t know what I’m doing” look on my face. As far as taking the minion outside the house, that will probably be something both of you stumble through and figure out together.
I’ve always been more of a ‘wing-it’ kind of guy when it comes to packing. I’ve done a good bit of traveling for short stints for the Army throughout the years, but inevitably I’d always forget SOMETHING. Phone charger, a pair of shoes, some random bath item, never failed. One trip I even forget the charging cable for my laptop, that was a fun trip. Luckily, my wife is much more detail oriented when it comes to packing, and after enough trips and listening to me complain about forgetting something she started making me write out a list of what I needed to pack for my trip. As simple as it sounds, it worked. I haven’t forgotten anything when I travel since. The same goes for the baby field survival kit (aka the diaper bag). Of course, you’ll learn what you need and don’t need with experience (except for the mandatory items: Diapers, Wipes, and Bottle. Don’t worry, just think of the phrase ‘Dads With Blogs’ before you leave the house).
Once you’ve mastered going out into the wild with the minion and the help of mom, you’ll be ready to start venturing beyond the wire solo with your little helper. But even if you don’t leave the house, spending some solo time at home is always great too. Now, as in many things I do, there is an ulterior, or as I like to think about it, a secondary motive to getting some one on one time with the fruit of your loins.
For me, going out on my own with bubba was something that was bound to happen eventually whether I meant it to or not. I want to say it was right after we’d gotten back from Las Vegas, and we were still fairly jetlagged Sunday morning. In true baby fashion, he’d woken up fresh and ready for the day around 6am. I don’t know if it’s just because he’s still a little fledgling or if he just got it from his mother but i never fails.
Anyways, this particular Sunday morning my wife had been nice enough to let me sleep in for a little bit to recuperate. I think she was giving me a pass since we’d taken the red eye back from Vegas and after landing at 5am I drove the two hours from the airport back to the house while they both napped. Then they napped some more while I cleaned up the whirlwind of destruction that is a 7mo german shepherd with too much unsupervised time on its hands.
So I’d gotten lucky and she’d waited to start nudging me to get up until around 9 or 10 that morning, at which point we performed shift changeover. I took the minion and she went back to bed for awhile. An hour turned into two, minion even took another nap with me while I watched TV. Two hours turned into three, and by this point it was getting into the early afternoon and I knew we still needed to hit up the grocery store and Babies R Us for to replenish supplies for the coming week. From previous experience however, I knew waking her up to get dressed to go shopping would not have met with much enthusiasm. Instead I looked down at bubba as he bounced up and down rapidly like he’d just mainlined some meth and told him “Saddle up Goose, it’s just you and me on this one.”
From all the other trips we’d taken out with him before now I knew what I needed to stock in the diaper bag, and once that was ready and everything was in the car I loaded the minion into his seat and got him cinched down. I said a quick prayer to the patron saint of dads and pulled out of the driveway.
Once again we circle back to the payoff, because as a dad you always have to have this in mind. I got lucky on that trip and the minion was content to chill in his seat without screaming his head off the entire time. Well, at least until we started heading home. But between the time we got into the car until we left Babies R Us he was a trooper. Every other trip we’d taken shopping with him before this one had mainly consisted of me lugging him around in the carrier as I pushed the cart behind mom. Not this time. No, he got to ride in the cart, free to kick his legs and attempt to reach out and grab whatever he could as we navigated the aisles. Sure, eventually he got bored and had to amuse himself with my sunglasses, but for the most part he was having a blast, and so was I.
So what was the payoff here you ask? I’ll tell you, my young apprentice. The payoff was not only did I get a good half a day out and about with my son all by my lonesome, but mom got some much needed rest. Had I woken her up to go out with us I probably would’ve been dealing with cranky mommy all evening, but instead I removed the little earsplitter from the house entirely and gave her a couple hours of peace and quiet to rest.
And as you will quickly learn my young padawans, a well rested mom is a happy mom, and one that’s more willing to take that cranky little tot back off your hands as soon as you get home.
Sound off in the comments below! What was the first place you took your little recruit to by yourself, and how much of a disaster was it?