Dad’s Job: Be the Sherpa

Soleil in the Car Seat

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
  • Laundry
  • Cooking meals
  • Taking care of the pets
  • Drive Mom and baby to doctor appointments
  • Try to manage the frequency of household visits

Grandma Auld, Soleil and Caitlin

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.

5144724022_81ddf628da_m.jpgBut 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.


  • Very nice Geoff. It’s so essential for the entire family that the dad shows up. And you are clearly doing that in spades. Kudos to you! Caitlin and Soleil are very lucky to have you!

  • There is absolutely no feeling like having a little baby fall asleep on your chest. I used to love that – watching football on the couch while a little one napped in my arms…

  • Geoff: From Ducati to Daughtee, the dad’s life is ever changing! Great take on the new job. I enjoyed reading it, and you are officially getting to be a softie! PS – take off the hat so she’ll get to know you when she starts focusing. Otherwise, she’ll think she dropped inrto a Mad Man episode!

  • No reason at all. She knows you are there. Also, this a bonding experience between you and your wife. There will be tough moments…rough nights…but how you work together is what your daughter will see and learn.

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