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Bad Dad: All in the name of a little sleep

June 17, 2011|By Matt Murray

Everyone tells me I'm a good dad. They are all wrong.

I never took a test to become a father, I never cracked a book about parenting nor did I take any classes on what to expect on raising kids. I knew I wanted to be a dad, but really didn't anticipate what it takes to be a good one.

So when people mention to me how good I am doing as a parent, I just smile and say thank you. Little do they know I'm making it all up as I go along.

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I got married later than many of my friends, I was about 30. We had been together for four years when we decided to take the "goalie off the ice." Several months later, we were on our way toward baby bliss.

My wife is a remarkable woman, which was once again verified when our daughter was born. Her maternal instincts kicked in and she took to mothering very easily, now that her world view had shifted drastically.

I was excited about being a dad, but my world view didn't really change as much as my wife's. That is, until she went back to work. That's when I started to sweat.

Like many couples these days, we are a two-income family. That fact was completely foreign to me because I came from a family where my mom stayed home to raise the kids while my dad worked. Sharing the bills allows us to live a comfortable lifestyle, but that also means we share raising the kids.

I work nights at the newspaper, and my wife works days. When we first started our journey as parents, we worked in the same building. She would get off work about the time I would start, and we'd pass our daughter off in the parking lot. That meant I had a lot of time during the day to spend with my baby girl.

When she was little, it was a breeze. I could set her someplace and she wouldn't move. I never really had a problem changing diapers either, so I thought this parenting stuff was a breeze. Then she learned how to crawl, and messed that all up.

When she became mobile, I had to be mobile, too. Gone were the days of playing video games while she slept. She required interaction, and not of the killing zombies kind. So we took walks, lots of walks. We took our dog for walks. We walked to the store. We walked around the park. When I got tired of the same scenery, we drove to different malls in the area to walk. Bottom line, we walked. A lot. People saw us around, and commented what I good dad I was. Little did they know my motivation. The benefit of walking so much was she'd fall asleep, which meant I could sneak off and kill more zombies.

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