As I've found out over these last 15-plus weeks, the joys of fatherhood are pretty much neverending.

I love coming home at night and seeing that beautiful, smiling face. Even if she's not smiling, she still fills my heart with warmth.

Hanging out with her at nights and on weekends while we're not working is a thrill I'm not sure I ever knew that I would feel. Nights and weekends up until this point have pretty much consisted of much different activities, which were also fun. But, nothing beats sitting with her on my lap, watching a game.

She loves sports, by the way, which absolutely confirms paternity.

However, I mostly want to focus here on the role of the mother. Specifically my wife, Tabitha, a working mom who is also breastfeeding.

Of course, there are many moms who fall into that category. Admittedly, it's a group that I don't know I ever had the proper amount of respect for.

To be clear, it's not as if there were disrespect, but you really can't understand that life and what it entails until you see it up close, every single day.

Monday through Friday, my wife's day is, well, crazy. She'll wake up throughout the night as necessary to feed our little peanut. Now, CeCe is a good sleeper, so many nights, that part might not be quite as bad as we thought, but there are definitely nights when she gives us — Tabitha, specifically — a run for our money.

She wakes up, goes through her morning routine, and pumps milk. She'll then do any last-minute things needed for her or the baby before heading off to work. While at work, she'll need to pump, as well, usually three times or more — all to make sure we always have enough milk to send for whoever is watching her the next day — all while performing the tasks of a demanding job.

She gets home, feeds some more, pumps some more, feeds some more, pumps some more, etc., until it's time to go to bed. Rinse and repeat all over again.

We made the decision to breastfeed because of the remarkable benefits breastmilk has for the baby. We hear a lot of, "Look at all the money you're saving!" That's true, but it's far from the primary concern. We feel fortunate that Tabitha has been able to do this as we're aware many moms can not for one reason or another.

But, make no mistake, it takes its toll on the mother. Breastfeeding — particularly while maintaining a demanding, full-time job — is tough work, but I strongly admire her for doing it. Also, kudos to any other moms — working or non-working — who manage to breastfeed.

Of course, I do whatever I can to help her get through all this, but as far as the feeding goes, there's only so much I can do. So, I try to pick up other tasks here and there to even it out, but there's no doubt that, on our marital scorecard for the last few months, she's way ahead on points. She gets nightly foot rubs, though, so don't feel too bad for her.

This past week, we marked 14 years of marriage. Never during that time have I doubted that I married the right woman. But, also, never during that time have I been more proud of her than I am today.

Thank you, Tabitha, for being the best wife and mother anyone could ask for.

Contact Managing Editor Adam Parkhouse at aparkhouse@thenewsdispatch.com or 1-219-214-4170.

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