The New Dad's Guide to Not Getting Bludgeoned

by Jessica Moorhouse
Originally Published: 
A new dad wearing a brown and white striped t-shirt holding his baby who’s wearing a striped hat and...

I like to consider myself a fairly upbeat kind of a fruitloop. Jovial, self-deprecating, laid back even. With one teeny-tiny exception:

If I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep, I become a grouchy, snappy, short-tempered, emotional hot MESS with whom there is no reasoning. Needless to say, at said times, I am always, ALWAYS right. Except when I am wrong. In which case I am very, very wrong and can’t get anything right …

Are you still with me?

The trouble is, I haven’t actually had a decent night’s sleep since my son was born in the summer of 2014. So I’m way beyond being a grouchy, snappy, short-tempered, emotional hot mess these days. In fact, sometimes now I think my husband looks back fondly on the days when I was just a grouchy, snappy, short-tempered, emotional hot mess.

Aah, good times.

Babies are awesome. AWESOME I tell you! From their little wisps of cotton-candy hair to their wrinkly crinkly little toes, they absolutely, totally and utterly KICK LIFE’S ASS. And those first few precious weeks with your newborn are beyond magical. Sort of.

They are also beyond exhausting. Which is why I’ve put together a little survival guide for any working new dads (or moms) out there who have a wife like me (I can only apologize) and a newborn baby:

It’s probably best to avoid telling your wife she looks rougher than a badger’s ass.

Chiseled cheekbones, a plump pout and perky bosoms aren’t high up on her list of priorities right now. If she’s made it through the day without accidentally killing herself or the baby, then MARRY HER. AGAIN.

If you’re really lucky, tomorrow – she might shower.

Avoid sentences that begin, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”

Because there is only one way.

If she’s been up several times in the night tending to your little one, then lying face down, ass up in bed mid-morning is NOT an invitation for you to join her in a game of ‘hide the salami.’

She’s probably just slipped into a coma.

Don’t even think about having a quick fumble.

At no point ask, “So, what have you done all day?”

Though for reference, it was probably a little something like this:

1. Feed baby.

2. Burp baby. 3. Change baby. 4. Stare at baby. 5. Question how self and husband could possibly have made something so beautiful. 6. Change baby again because baby has just thrown up all over himself. 7. Feed baby. 8. Burp Baby. 9. Change baby. 10. Put baby down for nap. 11. Wash hands and shudder at self in bathroom mirror. 12. Remove poop from forehead. 13. Check baby is still breathing. 14. Put on wash load. 15. Muster energy to make self peanut butter sandwich. 16. Feed baby. 17. Convince self that baby just smiled for first time and was definitely not gas. 18. Beam with pride. 19. Change mind and decide it actually might be gas. 20. Burp baby. 21. Change baby. 22. Change baby again because baby has just thrown up all over himself. 23. Put baby down for nap. 24. Take out wash load. 25. Realize forgot to eat peanut butter sandwich because too busy tending to baby. 26. Take bite of sandwich. 27. Feed baby. 28. Burp baby. 29. Struggle to remember if it has been 2 or 3 days since last showered. 30. Sniff own armpits. (Definitely 3 days.) 31. Spray deodorant under arms. 32. Contemplate changing own clothes, but baby cries. 33. Spray deodorant over clothes. 34. Feed baby. 35. Burp baby. 36. Change baby. 37. Wonder why baby is still crying. 38. Google “Why won’t my baby stop crying?” 39. Conclude baby has rare congenital brain disease and must be taken to hospital immediately. 40. [Baby stops crying] Hug and kiss baby. Ask baby never to do that again. 41. Feed baby. 42. Burp baby. 43. Take another bite of sandwich. 44. Change baby. 45. Change baby again because baby has just thrown up all over himself. AGAIN. 46. Sigh at new mountain of dirty laundry. 47. Close eyes for nanosecond with sleeping baby on chest – when husband comes home and wakes baby.

When your child evacuates their bowels in your arms, do not turn to your wife expectantly and utter the words, “I think the baby might need changing.”

You know where the diapers are. Don’t be afraid to use them.

If you are going to be late getting home from work by more than seven and a half minutes, then for the love of Peppa Pig – let your partner know.

She has been clock-watching for the last eight and a half hours (in between points 1 to 46, above). If you are late, she may throw the baby at you upon arrival.

Pray your reflexes are better than your time-keeping.

Remember: Looking after your own child is NOT ‘babysitting.’

Don’t expect pocket money.

Though you may help yourself to food in the fridge.

If your wife bursts into tears for reasons unknown to you* – give her a hug immediately.

You can change your soaked t-shirt later. Chances are she has no idea why she’s crying either. It could be nervous exhaustion, the fact she hasn’t been able to pee in 9 hours, or maybe they were showing that appeal for neglected donkeys on TV again.

Don’t question why she is crying. Just offer comfort, tissues – and ideally, a hot bubble bath.

If she tells you something is wrong with the baby – listen. And keep her away from Google.

Although the baby may be fine, NEVER say “he/she is fine.”


Regarding Google – please refer to points 38 and 39, above.

At no point demand that she stops worrying (it’s hardwired). Just keep her away from Google.

Again, please refer to points 38 and 39.

I beg you – keep her away from Google.

Because you won’t be able to keep a straight face when the doctors tell her your child doesn’t have a rare congenital brain disease, smallpox, an overactive snot gland, or hiccupitis.

… at which point, she’ll conk you over the head with a block.

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