Sherpa – An official who makes preparations for or assists a government representative or important delegate at a summit meeting or conference.
Ten days after the birth of Soleil, I’ve got my father role down pretty well. Be the Sherpa. I had some Dads and nurses share that Dad really doesn’t have a role during the first six months of a child’s life other than cheerleader. Fortunately, I had other friends who suggested be as useful as possible, and one book — Armin Brott’s The New Father — suggests that the Dad take on as many house duties as possible to make Mom’s life easier (thanks to Lauren Vargas) for the book.
And so I have taken on that sherpa-esque role, and it’s been quite awesome. While I obviously cannot be the Mom and feed the baby, I can help ease her recovery from child birth (which is serious biz, all new respect for Moms) and also be present for my child. As a result, I feel very involved in Soleil’s early days as opposed to the disconnected cheerleader.
Some of the sherpa activities include:
- Armed with bottles, taking the midnight shift caring for and feeding the baby (and getting mom a few hours of sleep)
- Changing the diapers
- Caring for the baby between feedings during up time
- Shopping, from diapers and baby needs to food and household supplies
- Cooking meals
- Taking care of the pets
- Drive Mom and baby to doctor appointments
- Try to manage the frequency of household visits
Now to be fair, some of these I did beforehand like laundry and the pets. And about five days ago Grandma Auld came for a two week visit, and she provides some day watch, dish and laundry support now.
But the point is that the Mom has got 1) a baby demanding a feeding every hour or two and 2) has a major physical change to adjust to, namely not being pregnant and recovering from child birth. It’s nice to be a partner and show up. Caitlin has said it’s made a big difference and has hastened her recovery.
Also, it’s AWESOME holding and taking care of my little daughter. I remember when her umbilical chord fell off two days ago, it was a big a-ha moment. She is so incredible and growing already!
Just last night during the midnight shift, Soleil fell asleep on my chest (note hairy guys like me need to wear a T-shirt!). Feeling her little rapid breaths on my rib cage was just amazing.
So, if you’re an expecting Dad, my one experience so far to pass on to you: Being the sherpa was a meaningful experience for me! There’s no reason not to be a part of your child’s early life.