OK, I admit…I fake it

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

It’s true, I’m a fraud.

All you parents out there can imagine this scenario I’m sure. The baby’s been awake for hours, crying off and on. Mom is dog tired from having to deal with him by herself all day. You’re tired because you didn’t get much sleep at night and then had to work all day, just to come back home and do it all over again. Some of you are probably doing this with other children in the house, which I can’t even fathom right now.

So you finally get to bed and he’s been quiet for a little while. Then you hear him gearing up again for another scream fest and you have to make a decision. A good father would grudgingly get up, pick up the baby, calm him down and let Mom sleep. Well, I guess I’m not a very good father because I pretended to be asleep.

Yup. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. The thought of dealing with 9 lbs of screaming infant got the best of me. So I took the cowardly route and pretended not to hear him. Father of the Year I am not. And MJ, bless her heart, she actually was sleeping. The woman could slumber through a stampeding herd of rhinos just outside the bedroom. And more than that, she’s a good and honest person. She would never do something underhanded such as fake sleep just to get out of getting up to take care of the kid. That’s why I felt bad as I listened to her finally wake up and drag herself out of bed to take care of Will. Not bad enough to actually get up myself though.

It all goes back to the battle silently being waged in our house right now. It’s a philosophical debate I’m sure most couples go through, and to be honest I can see both sides.

First you have the mom who stays home with the kid all day. Even if she wants to go somewhere it’s a hassle because she has to dress him, change him, package him up in the carseat and lug him around. All day she listens to him cry and has to deal with him when he’s fussy. Sure she’d like to be at work. Of course she wouldn’t mind having a few adult conversations instead of constantly talking in high-pitched baby speak. But she is making the sacrifice to take care of our son, and she believes it should just be assumed her husband will take over and give her a break when he comes home from work.

But then there’s me. While MJ is definitely more sleep deprived than I am, I still wake up when Will is screaming whether I take care of him or not. And once 7:30 a.m. rolls around, I don’t have the luxury of taking a nap later in the day when he falls asleep. I have to go straight from Daddy Duty to work. And not to whine, but this job is an extremely difficult one to perform if you’re not thinking clearly or you’re exhausted. I have to be constantly alert and thinking whether it’s asking the right question during an interview or running out to cover a breaking news story. And then I have to write and make sure everything is in the right order and all my facts are checked. I know, I know…it’s not like I’m a doctor performing surgery, but after a sleepless night and a busy work day I’m dead-tired.

So when I get home, I just want to relax a little bit. I want to watch some TV and play with the dogs. I want to play Guitar Hero to unwind. I want just a few minutes to kick my feet up on the coffee table and not think about anything. But there’s dinner to be made, dishes to be done, dogs to be walked and of course a child to attend to. Not to mention an equally exhausted wife who is expecting a little help from her husband.

Although we haven’t had the “I TAKE CARE OF THE BABY ALL DAY” vs. “I WORK HARD ALL DAY WHILE YOU’RE AT HOME” fight yet, I can almost see it looming in the distance. The problem is we’re both right, there’s no clear-cut winner in that debate. I’m not sure what the solution is but we just have to work out some sort of routine.

Because I’m not that good an actor and she’s going to catch on to my faking eventually, if she hasn’t already.

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7 thoughts on “OK, I admit…I fake it

  1. I was up with David all until he was about 3…which was two months ago. As soon as I found out I was pregnant Bobby took over, because not only do I have a hard enough time sleeping from the baby kicking me, the heart burn, leg cramps etc. He gets up…but when he has a long day ahead and I’ve had a few days of good sleep, I’ll get up.
    I am pretty sure he faked it all three years, but don’t feel bad. I did it because he’s the bread winner now and I feel that guilt already. You’re entitled to a few nights of sleep. I would sit down and talk about who does what and when so no one is holding a grudge. Agreement beforehand is much better than an overtired blow out:)

    But don’t feel guilty, we all have our desperate moments. And I think a lot of Moms reading this would agree you’ve been a great husband and Dad so far:) You’re entitled to a few screw ups!

  2. I agree with Meri. Talk first!!! Ask MJ if there are specific things that she would like you to take charge of even if it like agreeing to always be the one to empty the dishwasher or something. Also ask her if she would like to do something. Like honestly a completley peacful shower sometimes is like heaven. And don’t just leave her alone for it, take Will for a drive so she can shower as long as she wants with out hearing him cry and then take as long as she wants puting lotion and stuff on. I always like to go grocery shopping by myself too. To know that I could get in my car without a child, stop and get a cup of coffee and leisurley browse down the aisle of the grocery store. Sounds silly but these are major things!!!

  3. Well I have to tell you that when I had both my kids, my husband took no time off at all except for the delievery, and I NEVER made him get u

  4. I pulled the fake sleep routine before and I’m the Mom, lol. There is nothing quite so overwhelming as having your life completely taken over by the arrival of an infant. Your emotions and conscience go into a tail spin and you find yourself thinking and doing things out of character. No matter how bad it seems now, it really will even itself out. The best thing to do is keep everything aired out. Pent of feelings have a way of turning volatile quickly with new parents. It’s hard to come to terms with not being able to do what you want when you want to. Especially when it manifests itself in the little things you may not have taken into consideration when you both talked about how a baby would effect your lives.

  5. Oh my…are you sure you’re not writing this from our house in CA?! Our almost month old son was sleeping in nice stretches and then he realized that crying wakes up the dog, who wakes us up. We’ve solved the problem by building a pillow fort in the spare room. The person seeking uninterrupted sleep heads there. And often it’s the newborn and I who do. 🙂 That way we don’t hear the dog/snores of the peacefully sleeping.
    You’re doing great, keep writing. I love reading!


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