Cabin Fever

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

It’s been nearly a week since we’ve been home from the hospital and I’m starting to feel a little antsy.

I should start out by saying I’ve never been one to just sit at home. In fact, I hate that. I like to be up and about whether it’s taking a walk along the Cape Cod Canal or driving to meet up with friends for a few beers. While MJ is a homebody, I’m more inclined to get out of the house as much as possible. So needless to say, I’m starting to feel the walls close in a little bit lately.

The first few days I didn’t feel it at all. We were still trying to adjust to a baby in the house and get into a routine. And with a brand new baby around, we were wide-eyed and mesmerized by his every movement. But while we’re still in constant amazement with Will, we’re also starting to get on each other’s nerves. I’m constantly suggesting that we go for walks or put Will in the car and visit friends and family. I even suggested a day trip to the Berkshires. Anything to escape this claustrophobic feeling.

But MJ just isn’t ready for all that. She just wants to nest in the house and protect Will from nearly everything and everyone in the outside world. We’ve been invited to a gathering on Saturday night that I really want to go to with her and Will. But MJ breaks down into tears at the mere thought of it. I try to be patient with her but I’ll be honest…it’s driving me a little nuts. And that must show because she’s getting snippy with me too. Honestly, we’re not used to spending this much time with each other all at once. We love each other but we might need a few hours to ourselves if we’re going to survive the next week we have together.

At first I felt awful about this because on the surface, it seems like my wife and I can’t stand each other. But when two independent people are used to working all the time and pretty much having their own lives, it’s a big adjustment when work disappears and your whole way of life abruptly changes.

And I know it’s normal but I’m getting a little tired of the unprovoked crying fits. Hell, my mother-in-law watched Will for two hours today so we could have lunch and go grocery shopping and she broke down in tears twice in that time frame. Again, this is not her fault. I know this. She knows this. But I can’t help being slightly irritated. I also can’t help thinking of my friends as they crack a few beers, watch the game and tell bad jokes. I miss it a little. I love Will and I wouldn’t want anything to change, but it’s a tough adjustment to all of a sudden devote everything in your life to one person. In fact, it’s a little tougher than I thought it was going to be.

I feel like an awful Dad for even thinking that way, but I know it’s probably normal. And when I do go back to work I’ll probably be craving the time I once had with Will. It’s going to be an interesting tightrope walk to make sure everything is balanced in life from now on.

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One thought on “Cabin Fever

  1. In one week your wife went from a vessel of life to a woman with little purpose other than to breastfeed and sleepless nights.

    Give her some time. I was very protective of David too and was watching every little movemnet everyone made and was hypervigilant over everything! This may not change for her for a LONNNG time. Just be patient. It pays off in the end. Remember, a week ago she didn’t need to protect him, he was safe in her womb, and she IS his protector by nature. Breastfeeding also has this effect on you. Let her and force her to have a few minutes to relax and be confident with the baby. TEll her to take a bath if she’s allowed or go out with a friend. If she resists, tell her that you’re willing when she’s ready and that Will will be fine with you or her mom or your mom. And most ogf all be understanding:) IT’s a ROLLER coaster for her right now…and I remember this like yesterday and I am looking forward to NOT dealing with this a second time…I wore myself out!:)

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