Sunday, 15 September 2013

Hats off to all parents

I have so much renewed respect for all parents. Not that I've never had respect for parents, my own are two of the best you'll come across. However, since my first child came into the world a little over five weeks ago, I've come to truly realise the meaning of terms such as teamwork, sacrifice, love, patience (which I seriously lack but am learning fast!) and  persistence, to name but a few.

To the parents out there reading this, I may come across as naive. In fact, I am. Actually, I'll correct that by saying; I was. When my wife and I found out we were pregnant, we were naturally excited. As the month's went on and my wife grew considerably larger, people began to ask me: "Are you nervous? Are you ready?" Naively, I used to wonder why they'd always ask that. "It's just having a baby, I'll be right".

This attitude probably helped in the lead up but I have fast learnt "I won't always be right!"

Less than 48 hours after my little man was born, we were sent packing from the hospital and began our life at home as a family. At this stage, my wife's milk had not come in and the midwives had told us to expect a rough night. A rough night?! What an understatement. He screamed at the top of his tiny lungs almost completely from 10pm-5am. What a wakeup call!

We rang the hospital at 3am to ask what we could do. After initially being advised not to feed him formula, the midwife on the phone told us to go and get some formula! I rang several 7-11 stores to be told they had either sold out or didn't have any. Meanwhile the screaming continued and I thought I was going to have a hernia. My wife then remembered a 24/7 Kmart not too far from us. So at 3.30am we loaded the car and took off. At 5am my head finally hit the pillow. The second night ended up being a similar story.

Even now at 5 weeks old, he is still learning how to settle himself. My weekends used to involve going out for dinners, playing golf, going to the footy etc. My weekends are now all about the baby. My wife and I have completely given up our weekends (as we should - don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining) to look after him.

It is not uncommon to change his nappy only to finally get that last button done up on those incredibly difficult onesies to hear the thunder in the undies. It's like  being kicked when you're down.

Or spending 20 minutes settling him, taking a punt that he's properly asleep, and putting him back down in bed, only to hear him start screaming again. If only I'd waited the extra two minutes for him to be properly asleep. The 20 minute process starts all over again.

While my wife endured a couple of painful breastfeeding complications, I'd love a dollar for each time we claimed this is the one and only kid we're having. "Seriously, this is it! We can adopt kids from 5 months of age". But when he's down and asleep, or when he's happy and looking directly into your eyes and smiling, it's all worth it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for sympathy. I know how lucky we are to have received the gift of our child and to have a healthy baby with no colic, no illness or no health problems. I also realise that we are at the beginning of the road and there will be plenty of hard times still to come.

Yet, even in these early days, I now truly understand the sacrifice all parents go through for their children. I can see the sacrifices ahead for my wife and I. They are sacrifices of love and nurturing. They bring pain and the need for great patience and perseverance. However, these sacrifices also bring an inner strength and resolve and arm us with greater virtues. They ultimately enhance our character.

Since becoming a parent I have renewed admiration for all parents but especially those that have multiple children, twins, or children with illnesses or disabilities. All parents give up their lives for their kids and learn to deal with things they may have previously thought not possible. I asked my wife earlier, "How do you do it every night?" to which she responded with: "I just have to". I admire her greatly for that.

To all the parents out there, your guidance and teaching is invaluable. Family is the cornerstone of our society and parents are the cornerstone of the family. 
Our kids need you and our society need you. 

All the best,
Dom Meese


  1. Truly is a life changing event .. .and I ask myself almost daily, what was my mum thinking ( and probably your mum more so ) in having 6 children?
    How on earth did they manage it?
    I also ask myself, what I used to do with my spare time before becoming a parent.
    The settling, feeding and ground hog day of a young baby is over before you know it ... so enjoy it whilst it lasts. You will be kicking the footy around with little Adam before you know it!

  2. Ps - All your posts are written late at night I am noticing ... from one novice parent to another, go to bed earlier!! haha

    1. You're not wrong re life changing event! And yes, I feel like I wasted a lot of time before he came along!

      Can't wait to kick the footy with him. Actually, really looking forward to getting him custom made golf clubs as soon as he is big enough to swing one!

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Love your honesty Dom. It's refreshing to hear someone in the throes of the tumultuous first few months of 'first time parenting' who isn't afraid to say it's hard but worth it. So often (too often!) we hear from the guys who are too scared to admit its difficult, or the guys who complain about sacrificing their previous social life for a bit, selfishly implying kids are not worth it. As a parent of three little monsters/treasures (depending on the time of day!), I can assure you that you are right, and that nothing will give you more joy in your marriage than to watch each other be 'Mum' and 'Dad' to your precious little ones. Well done.

  4. Great comment! Thanks. You'll probably notice from this blog I am fairly honest, maybe too much so! I hope I don't come across as blatant. Just trying to tell my stories and maybe help a few people along the way.
    You're right with your last point. I really admire my wife when she's battling through the night or changing another nappy or settling him yet again. It's tough at the time but I feel like it is enhancing our marriage.

  5. Onya Dom; I don't think its naivity, which smacks of a simpleton's approach, but just in-experience about what 'family' is, from the perspective of a different role.

    Your stories made me smile - this is what our "earthly life's" plan is all about (almost all..) We're hard-wired for these changes, to become better people - that's why the natural family unit has been so successful through the millenia (and law-makers should be very careful before tampering with it!) There is a natural order to all of it and it is good, even if the discovery of it may confuse at times ...

    Thank God for it I say! All will be well; all is as it should be. Enjoy the ride - I know you will.

    As for the crying of the newborn, your grandfather used to say, the louder the cries, the healthier the baby - the time to worry is when they're too weak to cry .. or later when you haven't got the tantrums out of the way at age 3 and your're in the supermarket!!

  6. Thanks! The natural family unit is an institution in itself that is tried and tested throughout the ages of humanity. It works towards the common good of our society and is the nucleus of a wholesome society... This is getting into a completely different topic, one I am passionate about and will write about when the time is right!

    Any tantrums in the supermarket and I'll be ordering them to go and pick me out 10 kilos of brussel sprouts for that night's dinner!

  7. Thats child abuse ... I'll take the smacks over brussel sprouts anyday.

  8. I just came across your blog Dom and its great! Congratulations to you and Suzanne on the arrival of your little boy. We've got two children, a twenty month old and a three month old and can identify with all the sentiments in your piece! I think those first few weeks are the hardest, it definitely gets easier (as you've probably found out by now!) All the best!

  9. Thanks Henrietta. Appreciate it!