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Monday, June 27, 2011

Motherhood Mondays: 8 confessions of a new dad

For today's second Motherhood Monday post, I'd love to talk about new fatherhood. On the three-hour drive home from the beach this weekend, Alex and I started talking about parenthood, and he revealed a few funny and surprising thoughts on our first year with a baby. Here were his eight confessions, in his own words, below...

1. "I didn't bond with the baby right away."
The experience of fatherhood is thrilling, but so hard at the same time. I loved Toby from the second I saw him. But the first few months, to be honest, were pure adjustment. The baby is so helpless, and you're so clueless, and you don’t have that strong chemical, hormonal and emotional bond with the child, in the same way the mother does.

You spend the first six months of your baby's life cramming this giant rule book. You have to learn everything—how to hold the baby, how to swaddle, how to change a diaper. I had never played with dolls or even babysat, so it was totally, totally new.

I did enjoy it--it was a fascinating odyssey and deeply satisfying--but, secretly, at the same time, if Joanna had walked in and said, "My mom's going to take over for the next month," I would have been thrilled.

2. "Time alone with the baby was surprisingly profound."
Even though I felt so lost overall, I was surprised by how spending time alone with Toby felt natural and surprisingly not scary. I remember the very first night we had Toby at home. Joanna was in bed, and I had four hours alone with him. He was sleeping in the bassinet next to me, and started to stir. I realized that he had never heard music before and that I got to pick out the first song he'd ever hear. I felt like I had a hand in shaping his destiny. Choosing a song on iTunes suddenly felt profound! I decided on "Penny Lane" by The Beatles. It was bright and optimistic, like the first day of spring. It was a magical moment.

3. “My wife acted like she was on drugs.”
Up until you have a baby, whatever happens, you and your wife pretty much respond the same way. You're on the same wavelength. But once the baby arrives, every thing that happens, your wife has a 90-degree different take.

Joanna's highs were higher, and her lows were lower. Her general joyfulness was so high; she was starry-eyed and blissed out. On the flip side, she was more anxious. She was more inclined to take any negative thing to heart—such as Toby fussing while we changed his diaper. I figured his fussing was a small, unfortunate but inevitable thing, but it felt incredibly urgent to Joanna. She got really upset by his crying—for her, it was like an alarm clock was going off inside her. She had an extreme surge of anxiety at any possible sign of disturbance to Toby, whereas I would address his crying but it wouldn't bother me on an emotional level. I just thought, Oh, all babies cry, he'll be ok.

It's like being with someone on drugs. You're on a different plane. You look at your wife, and you have to imagine, 'What exactly are you feeling? How does the world look to you right now?' Then you have to figure out how to respond the way she would want.

Everything does come back down to earth again. Your wife no longer feels those extreme surges at both ends of the emotional spectrum and becomes more like her old self (which is a relief to her, too), and you get more acclimated and feel like your old self. By about month nine, we found ourselves settling back into our old rhythms and feeling like ourselves again (see below:).

4. "I was nervous that my wife would like the baby better."
Maybe it sounds crazy, but a great fear I always had about having children was that my future wife might like them better. In many of my friends’ families growing up, the husband was basically replaced by the kids. There's nothing more primal than the love between mother and infant. I was absolutely worried about being dropped a notch.

Once Joanna was putting Toby to bed and I heard her tell him, "You're my favorite person in the whole world, do you know that?" and I was thinking, 'Really? What about me?' It sounds ridiculous, but it was an adjustment not to be the only man in her life. But in the end, I saw that our marriage could never be replaced by a baby—it's such a different thing. That realization was a huge relief.

5. “Children's books are boring.”
I love spending time with Toby, especially when we go on walks or play the guitar. But some baby activities are s-l-o-w. Many women seem to have a tremendous capacity to step outside themselves and see things through the baby's eyes, like reading children's books. But to me, children's books are fundamentally boring. Like, mind-numbing. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is tough sledding.

6. “Everything turned a corner at nine months."
I once heard a theory that babies are inside the womb for nine months, but that they're remain in the gestational period outside the womb for the next nine months.

Everything changed when Toby was nine months old. One day, Toby didn't seem to know who I was (or care!). But the next evening, I got home from work, and Toby was eating dinner in the high chair, and he looked up at me and smiled and shrieked and did jazz hands. He recognized me! It was amazing. I felt like we had truly connected. Honestly, for the first time, he didn't only feel like my baby, but like my son.

7. “I daydream about the future with Toby.”
I often daydream about Toby growing up: listening to music, taking him on boats, teaching him how to cook a great omelet, telling stories about "the old days." I always picture us on hikes for some reason—even though I don't really go on many hikes. My father and I used to sit around for hours some nights and plan my future, and I love the idea of being on the other side of that conversation. I also look forward to imparting lessons that my dad didn't give me—like how to ask out women.

8. “I'm ready for another.”
With your first baby, it's really tough. Every day is a surprise. But now I know that I can do it. Raising a child for the first 12 months of their life is a skill I now have. Having a second baby? Believe it or not, I can't wait. :)

Thank you, Alex! Fellow mamas, did your husbands immediately take to new parenthood, or did they find the transition tricky? Have they said anything about the experience? If you're a guy, what are your thoughts on fatherhood? I would love to hear... xoxo

283 comments:

1 – 200 of 283   Newer›   Newest»
abby said...

such a sweet post. i loved it! and i know my husband would agree with everything!

The Hidden List said...

This is precious! Totally touches my heart!

Jaymee said...

Joanna and Alex -- this was the sweetest thing to read ever! Thanks for sharing-- You guys make me look forward to parenting!

Dotty dot dot said...

Alex, thank you so much for sharing your perspective! My husband and I are in that "maybe we should make a baby" stage, and I just know that he will be so comforted to hear your perspective on early fatherhood.

O'Melly said...

Oh my gosh, I really needed to read this! I

It's great to hear a man's perspective on something that is more discussed by women.. especially in the blog world!

This was a great idea.. and I will have to save this for my hunnie to read. I'm sure he will feel much the same way when the day of fatherhood comes.

tamara said...

This is so sweet--a funny note, when Alex talked about picking out Toby's first song, he wrote "... destiny. Choosing..." and I totally read Destiny's Child and was like... whaaaat?!?! hahaha : ] penny lane was a great choice, though. y'all are such sweet parents.

Joanna Goddard said...

haha, tamara, that's so funny! :)

Shannon said...

That was awesome, and so real of you guys to put that out there! I love hearing from other new parents, we are all in the same crazy boat. Funny enough, I had a baby book when I was pregnant that I dutifully filled out every month and took very seriously and my husband never filled out his portion! And now our son is fifteen months old! Oh well, I know it was a really hard transition for my husband. But it gets easier after a year. My husband keeps mentioning how he can't wait till our son is old enough to play video games with, and do things that my husband liked to do as a kid (and still does). I'll have to show him this post and ask him how he has felt though it all though. I don't really know for sure...

Thanks for keeping up the Motherhood Monday posts, they have been enlightening and I love hearing from other new mommas out there!

Shannon

11thandshannon.blogspot.com

Carol said...

My favourite ever cupofjo. You are a very lucky girl. My kids are 19 and 22 this year. It's been a long time, but I really enjoyed your husband's point of view - very honest and touching.

Michelle said...

Wonderful entry, thank you for posting it! Husband and I are expecting our first baby in December, and it's already clear that we are experiencing this on two entirely different dimensions. Thanks, Alex, for sharing your honest thoughts (and humor). I always wondered what the fathers feel amidst all the chaos and adaptation that comes with newborns.

KateK said...

This was such a sweet and honest post! Thanks so much Alex!

Judi said...

"Children's books are boring." hilarious and so honest!

the lil bee said...

Oh, I loved this...LOVED hearing a guy's perspective, especially one as articulate as Alex. He should be happy to know that Paul would WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with point #3! And I, too, felt like things turned a corner with Devon at month 9. Month 8 was very tough, for some reason.

And, OH!, the jazz hands!! So cute:)

MJ said...

Love this post. Thanks for sharing. I recently watched a Ted Talks story with the founders of babble.com, where a father describes very similar experiences and even makes a graph describing his increasing love for his baby.

As a new mama, I often feel so out of control of my body and emotions...it is exactly like being on drugs - so good and so bad. I'm gonna send this post over to my baby daddy so he can know that he's not alone ;).

Marty J. Christopher said...

This was the sweetest thing ever. I loved every bit of it! Alex was so refreshingly honest about being a father. I imagine a lot of men feel like #4, which is why I think some of them cheat during that first 6 mos./1 yr. I also love that he said children's books are boring! Hilarious! Great post (and worth the wait)! : O )

LMM said...

this should be required reading for all first time dads. sending to my husband so he can be ahead of the curve when our time comes :)

Corrie Anne said...

Totally precious and definitely sums up some of my fears about having a baby someday soon-ish. Thanks for sharing, Alex!

A Sunday Kind Of Love said...

i'm in the same boat as tamara and first read "destiny. Choosing" as Destiny's Child!!
other than that brief moment of confusion (and astonishment!) i loved this!!

Joanna Goddard said...

MJ, fascinating!! i'm going to look that Ted talk up right now!

Jovana M. said...

That's sweet and honest. I found myself agreeing with some of his points and I don't even have kids yet. Hah. :)

cozette said...

Joanna - you are rockin motherhood mondays! I hope you're working on a book because each week I learn something I never knew, or never had thought about or something revealed so honestly. I'm not a mom yet - but hope to be heading that direction soon. Keep these posts coming!

Joanna Goddard said...

thank you for all these amazing comments, alex will be so chuffed! :)

Emily said...

great list :-)

and in all seriousness - there's an AMAZING book called "The Black Book of Colors" - it's written for blind children, but has the most fascinating illustrations. I rave and rave and rave and will buy it for every baby shower from here on out. Trust me. Check it out.

nickandnoragettingmarried said...

Aw, what a sweet and thoughtful post! It's so great to get a dad's honest perspective on all the love and stress and pressure and excitement that goes into raising a child. I especially like the "first song" moment--it's so small yet so meaningful.

Cheryl said...

What an awesome dad!

DENISE. said...

This is truly touching. And totally funny! Even though I'm not a mom (yet), I really love your Motherhood Mondays. :) Thank you!

Heba said...

great post, I was playing Penny Lane in the background during reading the post.. Alex has been talking about having another baby, do you think a year between 2 kids is a good or a bad thing?

http://girlynote.blogspot.com/

Claire Gibson King said...

wow, what a wonderful post, such a darling, loving, sensitive, insightful husband you have. you both seem like such amazing parents. Toby is one lucky kid. you both have done and are doing such a good job raising your son.

missmehoneybee said...

All of it is so right on. I totally agree with the 9mos and turning the corner. Love the honesty and Toby has such wonderful parents, He going to turn out to be such a cool little guy! Thanks for sharing. XO

Colleen said...

Aw...that's so cute! I love what he said. I am not a parent, but I know babies can be tough. For me, babies turn a corner at four months. They begin to really develop personalities, and they're not as fussy as they were as newborns.

Sweet post about first-time fatherhood. I hope to read more guest posts from Alex in the future.

Caroline {treat yourself well} said...

What an awesome post! Must have been so awesome when you realize you are recognized by your baby :)

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

Wow, this was great! Sometimes I read your MM posts and I feel like I really screwed it up as a mom - I think I relate to Alex as a parent more! :-) Hmmm... It was really, really hard for me with my first kid. The second one came just a little more than a year later and was a completely different experience. Weird how even though it's the same parents, same family, etc., each pregnancy and child can bring completely different feelings and reactions. Thanks for another great post!

Carley Georged said...

JO! I've been feeling like a new baby goddard/williams is in the making for a month now!

don't let me down ;)

Lisa said...

Such a lovely post, thanks Joanna and Alex.
I'm still young, I'm actually a teenager, but my married sister has a 2 and a half year old, and is nine months pregnant, and from my perspective as being the baby of my family, the birth of my nephew was such a positive eye-opener. These babies are quite a fantastic thing, aren't they?!
Number Two should be on it's way in three days!
So once again, thanks Alex for giving me another way to look at how lives are changed through babies. It's almost magical!

Kate said...

I teared up at the end! My fiancée and I are a little way off having children yet but when we do I hope his experience is just as special as Alexei described! x

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is a great post. I am sure Alex is not alone in finding the first nine months a crazy adjustment. He is so cute and honest about it all. Toby is a lucky little guy. I love that the Very Hungry Caterpillar is "tough sledding." Hilarious!

Hollie said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and I laughed out loud at the hiking thing. Alex seems like such a cool dad!

Anonymous said...

Cute pics as always. Would love to see pictures of your trip this weekend, too.

Casie Haley Photography said...

This is by far my fav post! Oh Joanna, we have three boys... & my husband was in all honesty "meant" to be a father. He took to it in the most natural way. Right away, the first night in the hospital after our oldest was born, my hubby was swaddling like a pro. He was ready & willing to help with feedings, would check on him if he fussed, & was so incredibly gentle. Holding the baby while watching tv. was his favorite thing to do! Shorlty after birth we found out that the baby had milk protein intolerance & severe reflux. Although it was a challenging first 6 months, my husband was always ready to walk the baby to sleep or take him on a drive! Now okay, our youngest is 10months old, & recently my husband told me that he really doesn't care for giving baby's their bath or clipping their tiny toe nails. So I asked him what he does like, & he said that everything else is great! It's all a part of life! Wise man he is!!!

emily said...

this is so sweet! i adore your blog!

Cheryl said...

great post. I want my husband to read. Would love to get his thoughts. We just finished year 1 with our second. Going from 1 to 2 kiddos is definitely a change up too. LOVE that Penny Lane was his first song. I'm a Bealtes fanatic! And as a children's librarian laughed as I always prefer to read picture books over anything else and always tell my Eleanor she is never too old to read them to :)

Kate said...

This is SO cute! I laughed out loud about the children's books- I usually like them but I never thought about how boring they probably are to most people!

D2 said...

What a great post Joanna. I love your new Motherhood Mondays - such a fab idea and all of them have been so spot on. WOW - love all of Alex's very honest and well thought out comments. I forwarded these on to my sister who is due this fall to give her some perspective. You have such a wonderful husband and great father (to Toby) in Alex. ADORE your blog!

Anonymous said...

Joanna, my husband and I have a 4 month old baby and he definetely can relate to Alex...
Watching my husband's bond with baby Milo grow through the past months has made my love for him grow as well.

Regards from Buenos Aires,
Agustina

Patricia said...

what a nice and real post, good take on the realities of fatherhood!! :)

http://www.pinkpeonieswithlove.blogspot.com

Natalie said...

I love this post. Thank you for writing it and sharing your life with all of us!

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

What a neat post! My little guy's daddy was a natural. It was kind of funny, since he isn't my son's biological father. But after the first moment that he held that little boy in the delivery room, that was it. I honestly felt (and sometimes still feel) that he is better at bonding and connecting with our son. Then again, at bedtime, all he wants is mommy. :)

The How To Mommy said...

I think your hubby and mine would get along really well after reading this post! His favorite thing to do is make up his own words to the kids books. Have him try it some time. ;)

KkatMpls said...

Fabulous post, I am sure that my husband would agree with most of this. We are seven days into being a family of four and this is a nice reminder to make sure my husband doesn't get overlooked. Although everything is old hat this time around!

Funny that you mention teaching Toby how to make an omelet -
I am pretty sure my 2.5-year old son taught my husband how to make them via a Julia Child video he found by himself on YouTube on the iPad and then watched a hundred times.

Caroline T. said...

This is so sweet and lovely :) While I don't have children of my own, my parents did have a fourth child my freshman year of high school and it was definitely an adjustment for all of us. One of the best parts was watching my dad go through the whole baby process again (twenty years after his first son!), and seeing how he was with my little brother gave me lots of insight into how he treated me as a baby many moons ago. Now my little brother is almost four and it's always a treat when I come home and he rushes in to give me a big hug. Little boys are the best :)

Maiz Connolly said...

I loved this post! I'm going to have to show it to my husband later, and ask him how similar his experience was... I'm guessing it was very similar.

But, I have to tell Alex something: PLEASE don't read boring books to Toby! There are so many beautifully written children's books out there (I made a list of my personal favorites here: Some Great Little Books ) but even if no picture books appeal to you, you should just read him something that you enjoy. Trust me, he will love it if you set him on your lap and read to him from the Times, especially if you point out pictures and stop to tell him what you think!

Manda said...

This post was so great! Loved hearing the dad's point of view.

This line: "and he looked up at me and smiled and shrieked and did jazz hands" amazing!!!! I can't stop laughing at this mental picture!!

Mother Minion said...

I am pretty sure my husband thought that I was totally INSANE when our daughter was born. I can totally relate to the feeling of having an alarm clock inside of you. When my daughter cried, or showed any signs of being upset..it pained me. It really broke my heart..and I would feel like my throat was closing and I couldn't breathe.

This post was SO wonderful, and I am sure that my husband could easily relate to it.


I love Motherhood Mondays :)

Danhiskka said...

Oh, dear... This is the sweetest thing I've ever read, we´re still sobbing over here. You've got such a lovely family!

Aya said...

So honest and sweet. I'm not a mother yet but I love motherhood mondays and feel like I should remember all these insights and ideas for later. I think my guy could one day benefit from this quote. It's kind of a relief to hear that even great dads are scared, bored, overwhelmed...

Sarah Morgan said...

That was so beautiful -- and so beautifully honest. Thank you so much for sharing.

Fenny Setiawan said...

I love today post. I can understand the perspective of fatherhood. It give me an idea may be I should ask my hubby to list down too hehe... thanks for sharing.

Jo said...

Our son, Dashiell, is four months old and my partner Luke has voiced so many of these thoughts. Its good for us as mothers to understand what the fathers are going through as well. Thanks for such a great post. Love the "motherhood mondays!"

Claggie said...

This is truly heart warming! I love the line "for the first time he didn't only feel like my baby, but like my son." it brought tears to my eyes! <3

Elizabeth said...

Very insightful. I love it when dad's share their experience. I feel like there is so much talk from a women perceptive - very good and needed too, but it is really great to get inside a guys head and realize having a new baby is just as big to them as it is to us, just in a different way.

Ms.S said...

such a lovely post! my fav was number (6.) I can picture it in my mind. beautiful moment!!

Jennifer @ Belclaire House said...

What a great post! I'm going to send it to my husband. I know we had two very different experiences with our first born. It's so true how everything changes at 9 months. Mine just turned 9 months and he's suddenly obsessed with his dad. I love the way he looks at his dad like he's movie star and the way my husband beams with pride that the baby prefers him now ;)

Heather said...

Such a thoughtful, touching post. Very emotional for me to read.

Claire M. said...

What a lovely photos! having baby at home makes you always smile.

April said...

I totally teared up when he said he got to pick out the first song Toby would ever hear, and then when he said "Penny Lane..." definitely got some chin quivers there ; )

mie said...

wonderful post! feature alex more! i sent it to all the new daddy's i know. so nice to hear the man's perspective; they usually keep all their secret thoughts buttoned up...

Kirsten @ Triple Max Tons said...

I really appreciate Alex's honestly...children's books are super boring, and the whole instant connection thing takes guts to say (especially to 27000+ people). You both seem like such wonderful and caring parents....Toby is a lucky lil' guy.

Robin said...

I loved reading this and can't wait to show it to my hubby! I think he will especially relate with #1, 3, 6 & 7

So the big question, Joanna, is are You ready for #2?? You are such a cute pregnant person and wonderful mom, it will be exciting to follow it if you decide to do it again!

Various Projects said...

we don't have kids, but i'd love to have my husband read this whenever we do. super insightful. :) tell alex "thanks for being so honest!" :) xx

bron @ baby space said...

Great post Alex (and Jo)! These sentiments really ring true for me re: what I saw my lovely partner experience when our son was born.

Now with another on the way I think we both feel much more at ease with the process.

I think it's hard to have such different feelings about your very own wee one -- and few people talk about how new dads feel. It's great to get these dad-feelings out there. Yay for dad-honesty :)

John Allen Photography said...

I absolutely LOVE #2! I hope that when I become a dad that I will remember this so that I can be sure to pick out a memorable "first tune" for my kid.

i think therefore i blog. said...

easily my favorite post, ever.

makes me think of the early days of parenthood, when the baby would be lying in her bassinet, just feet from me...

me: "I miss her."

him: "Seriously, honey?! (look of shock and disbelief) She's right there! Wow...you've got it BAD!!"

Joana - this post should be included in every parenting book.

gigiofca said...

Thank gawd I read this. We're expecting in 2 months. I forwarded to my husband & will keep it bookmarked for myself to understand his perspective.

Rachel Joins the Fray said...

I laughed at the books and cried at the future. And I still feel like I'm on drugs 2.5 years later - do you think that's a problem? ; )

Marc and I read a not boring book tonight: 13 Words, illustrated by Maira Kalman.

Sobrina Tung said...

I don't have a baby yet, but just wanted to chime in to say Alex's answers are so cute! I like the jazz hands and hiking parts :)

Emily said...

So maybe there were a few tears, sweet wonderful tears. We are on month six, and am looking forward to the next six months with my daughter and her dad!
Thank you so much!

Cath said...

This was pure love and sweet authenticity.

thrillofthechaise.com said...

A lovely post...and lovely for him to be so candid. That's probably what a lot of dads (and moms!) need to hear :)

Kate

www.thrillofthechaise.com

Nomadic D. said...

So sweet, it brought a little tear to my eye. We don't have children yet but are starting to try actively, and to think of my husband going through all that just moved me so much. Thanks for your candor!

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

The Fab Miss B said...

I wonder if you know how amazing these posts are- so few people are this honest about parenting. They can only acknowledge that it's stressful but great. Following along on your journey has been a great gift to my husband and I as we consider having kids ourselves someday.

Marcella Alyssa said...

This was wonderful to read! So honest and so interesting to hear the other perspective.

hearttypat said...

this is a really sweet post! I feel like sharing this with all the daddies-to-be in my life!

kpriss said...

That took a lot of guts to talk about. I believe. And it's truly a unique perspective, a father's perspective. You don't get to see a lot of those around! We have four kids and each time it's the same story. I sit and watch my Husband playing around with the kids and it's so magical! I think the fundamental principle which makes a father - son / daughter relationship work is the level of responsiveness. The reciprocity. Although, father - daughter relationships are pure magic from the very first second. We have three boys and a girl. And it shows ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh Wow! Just woke up and read this post. As a first-time mother of a 5 week old boy this could not be more apt. I have just forwarded it my husband. I hope it helps him understand his own feelings and why I'm all over the place emotionally right now! Thank you for this!

Anonymous said...

As a mother I find children's books totally boring too and with my first child it took me about 6 weeks to bond with him. People would say "don't you just love him to bits isn't life just complete now" and I would think he's alright - life was pretty good before he was born" then I spent a week away with him alone when he was 6 weeks old introducing him to interstate family and I feel in love. I must say I have two children now and they are 10 and 7 and I love them but I put my husband first and because we love each other the love for our children is vast and we parent together.

Love your honest posts about family life. My philosophy is happy parents/happy children and that children should fit in to your life and not the other way around.

India

Bronwyn said...

Alex (Mr Williams?) - This just seems really brave. I'm very impressed with how honest you are about this - I have no experience with this, but it seems hard.
As for mind-numbingly boring children's books, can I suggest "Let's Go Home, Little Bear" for now and maybe the Swallows & Amazons books for when Toby is older? Those are books that my father read to us when I was young and I still adore.

windeater.blogspot.com

MoKa said...

Joanna, this is so honest and interesting. Thank you!!! I have been married for almost a year now and we're now thinking of having children, this is so thrilling. Talking about mother and fatherhood makes us feel we are preparing ourselves for that. I'm surprised how important this is for my husband. It's usually a woman who imagines what it'd look like when the baby comes, or thinking of the baby's name, designing the baby's room, etc., but it's a bit different (or maybe not) with my husband, he likes to sit with me on the sofa and talk about all that stuff. I tend to think my husband is one of a kind, really :) Well, I always thought men mature to have a child the moment they see it, or even later but that's not the rule. I'm happy to have a husband like this...how was it with Alex? Did you both imagine how it'd be when you have a baby one day?

Thank you for your wonderful blog!!!

Anonymous said...

Very cute! I like the honesty! But also a bit sad that he feared to be replaced by the baby.. after all, it´s something you do together. It makes it sound like men regard a baby to be the mother´s project. Do men think like that today?

danishbird said...

So sweet! I hear you about the books! If I have to read 'Dig Dig Digging' one more time....I can however recommend 'Vegetable Glue' and 'Beware of the Frog'

bianca stella cash said...

not a parent yet.
but i have to say i love how honest your blog is. it's very refreshing :-)

JanyH said...

Bravo Alex, a great post, with thoughts and feeling which might have not been easy to admit (like the first point ).

Coach boots said...

So sweet!

Ivana said...

:-D!!!!!!
My husband would totally agree with Alex (as he wrote it :-D)!!!

Maria C said...

How sweet! Toby is so lucky to have a dad like Alex!

Maria xx
www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

jessica quadra photography said...

this was the BEST post!!! i don't have kids yet, but i'm sharing this with my husband. he was so candid and sincere - what great insight. thank you both for sharing!

Emy said...

This was really lovely to read!! Although I won't be having children soon I'll remember this for when I do:) Enjoy Toby, he's adorable!
xx
Emy

http:emykoster.com

Carol said...

Love it. Thanks a lot for sharing. Toby is such a lucky baby ♥

Emily said...

This is interesting insight. Your post reminded me of a talk from the founders of Babble.com about 4 facts that parents never want to admit, and why they should:

http://www.ted.com/talks/rufus_griscom_alisa_volkman_let_s_talk_parenting_taboos.html

Enjoy!

Tracey said...

Brilliant...

Though Alex...the books get way better, especially if you pick the ones to buy them and insist at least one of your choice at bedtime. Some even become my own favourites too.

Now we have two, the little one just stays and listens to the bigger ones books and now no. 3 is about to hatch i can't wait until i get to read an actual chapter to three wide eyed awe inspired children...well hopefully!

I reckon Toby is the perfect age to start on 'Tabby McTat' and 'A squash and a Squeeze' by Julia Donaldson. Way more entertaining than the hungry caterpillar!

Jessie said...

This is a really sweet post!

My husband and I both had some difficulty transitioning into the new "parent" identity, though I think for him, it was a little more difficult. As much as we loved this tiny, beautiful little girl we were blessed with (and we love her so so much!), there is a feeling that you're leaving behind an old part of yourself. The new self is so much better, but it took some time for me to get to know her, if that makes any sense.

My husband didn't really want to let go of his old self at first, because that's what he'd know all his life. But at around month three, when she really started to respond to him, it seemed to really capture his heart and he hasn't looked back. :)

Bird (Queer Skies Ahead) said...

I'm not a mom or dad, but I did want to chime in and say that my dad read us some of the best stories growing up. My mom did the children's books, but my dad picked some child-friendly novels, like the original Mary Poppins or Mrs. Piggle Wiggle or Narnia. He read Harry Potter to my brother... we would read a chapter a night, or even a portion of a chapter, which is similar to a children's book length. It was wonderful to read "real" books, and I'm sure my dad was grateful to not have to read the kids' books.

superhappyjohi said...

i loved this post so much! had to share it with the father of our futre kids :)

Nikkie said...

Oh that was such a sweet post and it touched exactely the fears my hubby has with regard to our future kids. I am so glad it all turned out perfect for you both as a couple. Loved reading this!

Anne Mette Lie said...

Oh, this was a beautiful post! Loved to read it!

Jenni Austria Germany said...

this is amazing. i loved hearing from him! #5 is funny and #2 gave me chills (though i did see the word 'destiny' and hope he had chosen a destiny's child song but, whatever).

Sara said...

This is a wonderful, sweet and honest post. Thank you for sharing this.

mirella said...

Awesome post, thanks for sharing! I'm forwarding this to my husband who I'm sure would agree on many points. It's so great to talk about this stuff. I can totally relate to the highs and lows - I remember feeling completely panicked when my baby cried, but have since mellowed out (she's almost 2 now). Anyway, thanks again!! :)

Tara said...

Thanks for sharing Alex :) My husband and I don't have children and he is very nervous about the idea of fatherhood. I think this might be a good read for him as we think about expanding our family.

antique engagement rings said...

This post was really wonderful!

London Hotels said...

Good stuff, I anticipate reading even more.

Clare Priest said...

That was wonderful, thank you! With regards to #1, about a month after our baby was born, my husband and I went out for our wedding anniversary; the first time we'd been on our own since the birth. We'd both had a small drink and a lovely meal and felt confident to say to each other that we hadn't bonded instantly.

This is not to say we didn't love her and adore her, which we did, but that the whole situation was so surreal and strange that we couldn't get our heads around it.

In fact, I didn't start to 'bond' with her until about 6 weeks after she was born and then it was like tumbling down a rabbit hole of love; once I'd started falling, I couldn't stop and every day my heart heaves heavier with my feelings for her.

Designology Interiors said...

I adore this post! It's great to hear about the first crazy year with a baby from dad's point of view. I'm going to share this with my husband tonight.:)

Victoria said...

wow, love his take on fatherhood. He seems like such a great hands-on dad/partner which is essential, right? I find it so sad to see dads(like my own) who aren't able to or choose not to spend a lot of time with their little ones. Also, thanks for posting more pics of sweet little Toby. I love his big blue eyes and milky complexion---angel baby!

Jenna said...

What a lovely post. My husband is experiencing first time fatherhood as well to our 5 month old son, Ollie. I find it all together humbling, sweet and funny how thier relationship is developing. I will be sharing this post with him. Love to your gorgeous family!

Janelle said...

What a sweet, genuine and honest post. A lot of people are scared to admit these things... Thanks for sharing :)

Lisa said...

Very sweet. Good to hear the Dad's voice, I think we women are sometimes so enveloped by motherhood, it's hard to create the space to see fatherhood. Thank you.

Chelsea Earnhardt Plax said...

this is lovely. and what a wonderful thing to have for Toby to have if he decides to become a father. thanks for sharing :0)

lady lyles said...

I have... so much to learn about men. Alex is such a pleasure. #2 Made me a little teary... and I, also, am glad he didn't pick a Destiny's Child song.

Yvonne said...

Hi, I am new to your blog and love it! Great post today and I'll be showing it to my husband when we reach that stage (hopefully in the not-too-distant future!).

Re: books, there are some brilliant ones out there but you need to find the right style - there's nothing worse than reading a book that you find boring to a child, because if you're not enjoying it you'll never be able to pass on the joy of reading! I particuarly like Nick Sharratt books (Shark in the Park, Dear Mother Goose, Pants), and also Giles Andreae (Giraffes Can't Dance). It's just a matter of finding something you'll both enjoy!

Sarah @ Knit York City said...

This post really made me tear up. Fatherhood must be such an amazing experience! It's definitely distinctly different than Motherhood. :)

Lauren Morgan said...

I truly loved reading this post. IT was both funny and sincerely sweet. I made my husband read it and he agreed on every point - haha. Great.

Mandi said...

This may be one of my favorite blog posts of all time! It is so sweet and totally made me giggle. My husband and I are on our first, he will be 11 months in a week. I love reading about the dad side of things.
FYI totally had to listen to "Penny Lane" while reading this after the mention. haha

Chapstick Fanatic said...

i am not a mommy but i am forwarding this to my husband. ya know, just so he is prepared.

http://lachapstickfanatique.blogspot.com

Ashley said...

This was wonderful to read!

Susan said...

He chose Penny Lane!

I loved this...thanks to Alex.

Sal said...

I love this post! Kinda wish I could save it somewhere for when we have a family. I wonder how my husband will handle it... :-)

Sal x


http://danielandi.blogspot.com/

Leslie said...

This is such a wonderfully sincere and honest (and heart-melting) post.

FreelanceMuses said...

by far, one of the sweetest things i've ever read. thanks for sharing a man's perspective - looking forward to sharing with my husband.

aquiemnewyork said...

This is so amazing that made me cry!

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

Two children's books that are definitely NOT boring: "Put it On the List" and "I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean" (especially if you make funny voices when you read it). Check them out!

Heather said...

This was really touching and sweet. I can't wait to show this to my husband.
xx-Heather
preciselymrsp.blogpspot.com

Courtney said...

I loved this post, so I forward it to my husband. He responded: "my thoughts exactly." (our baby is now three!!)

Swedish In Atlanta said...

A great post! As I was in a bit of chock for the first six months of motherhood, my husband was a true rock. And it came so naturally. Amazing. Ten years later he is still a rock and great role model for our three kids. Dad's are the best:)
Petra

Ashlee Dearie said...

This post was amazing. I'm not a mother nor am anywhere close to becoming one, but I found this post so enjoyable for some reason. I liked hearing a man's PoV and how refreshingly honest it was. I loved when he talked about choosing the first song Toby would listen to. I wonder if my parents did any of that. Also, the part about imagining the future almost made me tear up. It was touching. Thanks for sharing such amazingness! <3

Holly said...

This was such a great post! I'm not a mommy yet, but I think this post will help my hubby prepare for fatherhood when the time comes! I'm printing this post for him to read. :)

Ve from Ottawa said...

Penny Lane? Excellent choice, dad :)

jenny said...

HILARIOUS that he doesn't like children's book. When I used to babysit, they weren't my favorite either.

Loved hearing the man's point of view!

victoria / cats dreaming in keylime said...

I am a children's book SNOB, very very particular (especially if I'm going to be reading them exhausted at the end of a long day.) You just haven't found the gems yet! : )

emily said...

i love this very much. i just shared it with my husband even though we don't plan to be parents for a while. i love hearing a father's point of view. just as valuable as a mother's!

Joanna Goddard said...

i love these comments! so sweet and honest!! thank you so much for sharing your thoughts xoxo

Joanna Goddard said...

oh, anonymous, thanks for your question--alex definitely doesn't consider a baby to be a woman's project; he takes care of toby equally and gets up with him in the mornings, feeds him, bathes him, etc. he just meant that he was afraid that i would love toby more, and that his #1 spot on my heart would go to toby instead of him. :) i think men today are game, for the most part, to share the childrearing. i'd be curious to hear other mothers' thoughts on this! xo

Joanna Goddard said...

victoria, i'd love to hear your picks!! :) maybe we should do a children's book post soon. xo

Joanna Goddard said...

India, i love love love your comment -- LOVE! thank you for sharing and being so honest and open. my aunt told me that she didn't connect with her son right away at all -- she felt like he was this pooping, crying, cranky stranger in her house! :) i think that's very natural at first! :)

yk841 said...

Hi Joanna and Alex, thank you so much for sharing with us. this was so special and made me cry ~ happy cry of course~ my husband and I are thinking about having one soon and reading Alex's thoughts were very special. i am going to ask my husband to read it tonight. thank you so much guys, this post is just beautiful <3

Joanna Goddard said...

MoKa, good question--your husband sounds so sweet!!! we didn't really talk about the day-to-day of having a baby before toby arrived, or at least before i got pregnant. alex read baby books and watched videos (like The Happiest Baby on the Block) but it's hard to prepare until you're actually living it, you know? :) he has been amazing and really adores toby. i think it takes a while for some (most?) men to connect with their babies because they aren't getting that hormonal rush, like women, and they aren't breastfeeding, etc etc. many dads that i've talked to said they really bonded with their children when they could communicate with them.

Happenstance said...

Loved this so much. What great reflections. I laughed, aww'd and shared with my husband.

Joanna Goddard said...

Carley, haha, i don't think so, but i wish! :)

jean goddard said...

I actually read "The Way Things Work" to my son night after night. But that was because HE didn't like regular children's books that much. If you are the parent of a future engineer/ mechanic or a dad who is looking for something you will enjoy, too, I highly recommend it. Also, the David MacCauley books, such as Pyramid. You will learn tons!

Joanna Goddard said...

tracey, "three wide-eyed awe-inspired children" = what a sweet image!

Joanna Goddard said...

the how to mommy -- that is hilarious! :) and kkatmpls, four! congratulations! and WOW, i am impressed with your son's cooking; maybe he could learn to make you breakfast in bed :) and maiz, that is great advice about reading him the Times! :) and HAHA, ithinkthereforeiblog, i know exactly what you mean about missing the baby while he/she sleeps--it's crazy! :) so funny.

Joanna Goddard said...

clare, i love your comment. and robin, haha, not sure we're quite ready for #2, we'll see! :)

Anonymous said...

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar is tough sledding"!!!!!! I think I will send that one to Eric Carle for a blurb on the back cover of the next edition, signed Dads of the World! Loved this heart-outpouring post. Thanks, Joanna and Alex.

Erin said...

I don't even have kids but as a newly married woman who would like to have them one day this made me feel so comforted. Thank you for sharing Alex's personal feelings with all of us.

Amanda Blair said...

This is the best "motherhood monday" post you've had. I love hearing an honest account of new parenthood from the Dad. Dad's are always pushed into the background and all that is focused on is the Mother's connection/experience with the baby. I am so happy that you changed that perspective and shared Alex's insights.

Also, did you just melt when he got a little jealous when you Toby was your favorite person? I find that weirdly romantic

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. that was such a beautifully expressed list. i HAVE to fwd it to my hubby. it instantly helped me (as a wife) see the other side of parenthood... i got goosebumps - i DID.
thanks - another thing to love about your blog... fab variety.

Giselle said...

hi joanna, love reading your blog! just discovered this tumblr and thought you might like it: http://dearphotograph.com/


can't wait for today's post,
giselle

gisellemarie.tumblr.com

Michelle Kendrick Hartney said...

Thank you so much for this post! My husband and I just had a baby and I'm going to have him read this. I think it will really hit home with him. You don't get a lot of dad's perspective on having a new baby. It's so important and Alex was so honest about it. Toby is one lucky kiddo!

BA said...

Great post! I love hearing from the dads, especially when they are so candid. Over at 4mothers1blog the 4fathers posted letters to their sons for the week of Father's Day. Check it out: http://4mothers1blog.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/reliving-my-childhood/

My husband wrote this and reading it brought a tear to my eye and reminded me what a gift our simple life truly is.

I hope we get to read more from Alex!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this was my favorite monday post so far. Thank you, Alex, for being so candid. Esp. in the blog world, it is rare to see this much honesty!

Jo said...

Oh, that was such a lovely post! Our first baby is due in 7 weeks, I sent forwarded straight to my husband! He has recently admitted his biggest impending-baby fear is feeling helpless while I am in pain...did Alex struggle with this too?

Bethany said...

Thanks for this post! I've always wondered what it's like for a new father to make the transition. I know that my husband will be a good father when we decide to have kids in a few years, but this gives me a premise for understanding the kind of frustrations he may face, and give me peace about allowing the process to flow naturally. Love it!

Bird said...

Alex's candid 8 gave me tingly goosebumps; it was touching. Children's books ARE boring, I think it is the joy in the child's discovery that makes the time exciting. When I was 6 my parents read to me as part of a school reading log and my mom worked nights. After bringing my dad one little kid book after another he asked to choose the reading. Thereafter, he read "The Hobbit" to me a chapter at a time. I LOVED that time with Dad, and remembered bits of the book even when I grew up!

macaca grava por cima said...

God bless you guys for sharing these sweet moments, memories, and lives with us. I guess you must imagine how important it is to read these kind of experiences when you're a recent parent... You feel you're not alone... I promise to ask my husband what he feels about being a dad. I guess he shares a lot of these eight toughts that Alex so generously shared with us. I know it! Although my husband is not a men of words, I can know how he feels by his actions... I can see his adapting to Manuel every day. Manuel is now 6 months old. E plays a lot with his dad and they laugh a lot together! My husband was 3 weeks at home (in the beggining of June), in vacation, and in the first day of work he was texting me all day, saying he couldn't stand being apart from is soon, that he missed him a lot... So cute... I can «really feel the bond between them and my eyes get wet ;-)

Collins said...

so...i'm a daddy's girl. big time. and my father just passed away a month ago so this post was really sweet for me to read.

Tressabelism said...

And he's ready for the another one :)How cute..xx for Toby

lori said...

love this post! i am not a mother yet, but i may have a tiny bit of baby fever ;) this post gives a good perspective... i appreciate him being so real and candid. love it.

Flora A. said...

Joanna!! this is just a wonderful post!! we hear so much about how the moms feel throughout, but very rarely we hear about how the dads feel! and I loved reading about it!! Thank for sharing!

stephanie said...

Great post. I love how honest it is. Thanks for sharing!

Meggie said...

This was great reading during my 3 week olds middle of the night feeding! I told my husband about it first thing this morning and am sure that much of it resonates with him. Thanks for being so honest Alex!

Mighty Burns said...

ohh I loved reading this. i think so much of what he said has got to be true for many others too. always good to hear everyones take and experiance!

Audrey said...

I really loved reading Alex's thoughts and I'm sure my husband would relate to many, if not all, of these points. #3 ~ I relate to this. I couldn't understand why my husband wasn't more upset when our daughter would cry, etc. It's amazing how different men & women are in this respect. Also, the books ~ I laughed because I feel this so strongly. Eric Carle books ~ well, I can't read them ~ they seriously bore me to tears (how awful!). I spend a good deal of time at the library in the kids section (sans the daughter!) reading books to find ones that I will also love. And it's working. My daughter LOVES to read and I think it's because I enjoy the books as much as she does. One great book is FLOTSAM...you make up your own story to some amazing illustrations and an incredible potential story. Check it out if you can!!!

kelly : pinetothepacific said...

joanna (& alex!), this is one of my favorite posts you've ever done! it is so great to read the honest truth from dad's point of you, which a lot of blogs don't usually show. alex sounds like an awesome dad. :)

a said...

thank you for sharing!!! This is a wonderful post...

Anonymous said...

What valuable information! We're expecting our first baby in February. I grew up with a big family and new cousins being born every few years. I've babysat since I was 14 and I know what to do with a baby. Babies are completely foreign to my husband and I wonder how he'll adjust. I'm going to show him this post because I'm sure he'll have similar feelings as Alex.

Thank you for sharing this! (I also don't like children's books.)

Caitlin said...

I love this post so much, thank you for sharing Alex. I am forwarding this to my husband, so refreshing to hear this side of things as I know as much as he wants children, there are things that worry him about the beginnings. Thank you!

Nems said...

wow, I'm so happy I read this. I'm about to have a baby in 2 months! It's hard to believe, but I'm going to be a mom. And my husband is going to be a dad. Thanks for sharing this. Thank your husband. can't wait for my husband, collin, to read this. it got me crying!

Anonymous said...

Rad rad post Alex and Joe. Love your candor and am touched that your put your experience as a father Alex (and your experience as a Mom Joe) out there in such an honest way. Saludos!

Lomagirl said...

That was a great perspective- thanks for sharing.
I want to comment on one point, though. Mother's do not necessarily have the ability to step out of themselves and look through a baby's eyes. Although I like some children's books, reading them over and over again is boring! And having to go slow is boring, too. Some women, and some men, too, may be able to do that whole childlike thing. But it's unfair to just assume that "women" are like that. We aren't all like that, and it puts unfair expectations on those of us who aren't. It tags us as "unnatural" or "bad mothers." And that's not true.
Okay, I just had to say all that. Adrienne Rich would be proud of me.

Cat said...

Wowza ... this post is so genuine and heartfelt and oozing with honesty. What a great idea and I am sure it will be helpful to a ton of new daddies out there :)

♥ Cat brideblu

Miss Amy said...

One of my favorite posts ever. Really. It was so incredibly honest, but so tender and loving at the same time. Thank you to your husband for not giving "canned" answers. They were real "I've been there, let me share my knowledge" insights. I've shared this post with many of my soon to be first-time parent friends. :)

leathergal said...

Thanks so much for sharing this post, Alex and Jo! My husband and I are also preparing ourselves for (hopefully!) becoming parents in the next year or so. I'll show my husband this post, I'm sure he'll love it and keep it in mind for when our first little one comes along:) So nice to see a dad's perspective!

stephanie j said...

truly enlightening and heartwarming :)

Julie said...

This is so great...I was between chuckling and tearing up while reading. Very, very sweet.

Anonymous said...

i agree with some of the other mamas out there...some children's books are more entertaining, have beautiful illustrations + can even carry more complex themes...

check out some books by mo willems, allen say, shel silverstein, maurice sendak, lane smith or try chris van allsburg, robert munsch or jon scienszka. books don't have to be boring, you just have to be more discriminate! ;)

Mary said...

I was so excited to tell you about Mo Willems, only to see I was just beat out! Yes, I agree that Mo Willems is amazing and Jon Scieszka is one of my favorites ever!! Hilarious!
Great post!

Amber said...

Love this post....with my husband, when we had our first (a son), he had a major learning curve to all things baby in the first few weeks. He'd never even really held a newborn before and it was tough (on us both) because he was soooo nervous that he would do something wrong or somehow accidentally hurt this fragile little being that he instantly tensed every muscle each time he held him in some strange protective gesture to make sure he was extra careful with him. The problem with this was, of course, that our son could sense his tension and so he would get worked up and cry instead of being able to be calmed by my husband, which just made my husband more afraid that he was hurting him somehow or doing something wrong, which made him even more tense and led to even more crying. Vicious cycle! So, I would have to take the baby, who would instantly calm down because nothing was really wrong, but it made it impossible for me to get rest. Even though my husband really, really wanted to help me out and let me sleep, it just wasn't working. Fortunately, after the first few weeks my husband became more confident, which made him and the baby both more relaxed and they found their daddy-son bonding groove. He's the best dad in the world and I actually think it was really cute that he was so protective and worried (even if it made things a hassle at the time) And, of course, with our second (also a son) he was a total pro from day one!

Natalie said...

Love this honest post by your hubby! We don't have kids yet, but when we do (hopefully soon!) I am going to come back and share this with my husband. Love your blog!

La chica said...

Wow, he's an excellent writer!

Nancy said...

I had to link this on FB page because it is just the sweetest thing ever. Thanks to your wonderful husband for sharing!

Patricia Villamil said...

Joanna this is a great post, I just had a baby she is 2 months old and it is life changing. I can't wait for my husband to read this post. So sweet and profound at the same time. Thanks!

Courtney said...

This is so sweet and truthful! Loved reading it.

Raquelita said...

Joanna, I very seldom comment but really wanted to tell you and Alex how much I have appreciated the Motherhood Monday posts. My husband and I are trying for a baby and I have to admit I am very apprehensive about starting a family. The thing I love so much about your series is its perspective. I've never heard anything like it, despite having been around plenty of parents - both new and old. Please know your honesty is so treasured. We've all heard the trite generalizations - "You'll be fine!" "Once you see the baby, you'll forget all the pain!" "Once you have a baby, you'll feel differently!" Despite the truths they no doubt contain, their oversimplification of a complex reality tires and frightens me. I love that you describe it like it is - you don't shirk from the glory and the beauty but neither do you ignore the adjustments and the hard bits. Thank you.

alishalouise.com said...

So sweet! Thanks to Alex for posting his 1-year-in thoughts. You two are a great couple.

I've always been a bit nervous about the early baby phase and what it means for my marriage too. My husband and I are lucky enough to have some practice with my twin nieces. He used to be scared of even holding them, but now plays and helps out all the time. His little realizations are touching to me and have helped us address how we want to parent and what issues we see arising when our time comes. It's been invaluable!

nadia said...

I absolutely love that you and Alex did a post from his perspective as well. I am due in 2.5 months and my husband and I are filled with anticipation! I'm going to forward him this link right now.. I know he will really appreciate it.
What makes Cup of Jo my favorite blog is how honest you are Joanna. And it's wonderful to see the same in Alex. That is why people relate to you both so much.

Lots of love,

Nadia

Shalini said...

What a sweet post. Toby is looking more and more like you as he's growing.

Natalie said...

loved reading this, very true and honest through & through.

Point 3. Very amusing, but true!

;)

MaviDeniz said...

you have such a beautiful baby :) i loved reading this, it was so honest and heartwarming.

Natalie said...

I also think they should clone guys like Alex, so understanding & loving. Joane u are so blessed! :)

heather said...

I so enjoyed this. We don't have kiddos yet, but my husband isn't quite there yet -- for a lot of the reasons that your husband confessed. That makes me happy :)

Anonymous said...

refreshing and honest!

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