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I am 100% Committed to Being a Dad 24 Minutes a Day

Before our son was born, I couldn’t quite comprehend how my life would irrevocably change. There’s just so much to do as a new parent – there’s furniture to baby-proof, organic ointments and balms to purchase, tweets to send – my priorities have been turned totally upside down. But that’s ok, because I know our little family must always come first. That’s why, babe, I am pledging to you that I will be dedicating literally every moment of every day to being the best father ever. Watch out Ken from High school – you won’t have anything on this new dad!

Hold on a sec. Maybe not every moment. How many hours are in a day now? Twenty four!? That’s a lot! For one, I need to work. Can’t raise the little bambino without money! So let’s trim away… 8 hours plus travel both ways right now.

But you can rest easy knowing that with the remaining fifteen hours a day, I am here for you and the little rugrat. Our bundle of joy! For those fifteen hours I am 100% committed to being the most patient, loving, and caring father alive. I’m so dedicated I even read Fatherhood by Bill Cosby. Say what you will about the guy but his fatherly advice still holds true. Plus, you can get that book for dirt cheap now.

Those 15 hours are going to be so jam-packed with love and affection, and a gratuitous amount of baby photos posted to Facebook, and –

Wait a second, totally forgot about sleep. I am a bear if I don’t get a solid 10 hours of zzz’s. So you’ll have to tend to the baby at night. Science shows a lack of sleep can have a dramatic impact on work performance. Yeah, I know you work full-time too, but the little dude wants to nurse, so why should I wake up? Besides, you women are much more capable of running on no sleep than men, even for days on end. You’re just way stronger than us. And please know that during your many, many sleepless nights I will be so in awe of your strength, even if it looks like I’m unsympathetically rolling over and falling back asleep.

Alright, let me grab my calculator – 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep, plus 9 hours of hard work earning money, money for this family…mostly for the family, and my math is showing 5 hours of cherished family memories. Heartwarming moments like….diaper changes and, whaydda call it… bottle feedings, and…kid’s still like bedtime stories, right?

And if you want my two cents, I think that just being present for 4.5 hours each day (I’m lopping off a half hour for bathroom breaks) can make a huge difference in a child’s life. Being present, like, literally just being in the same room is enough.

I am so head over heels in love with this little shaver! Boy, is my life going to change. For the better, right? Of course. The better.

Ok, so I’m penciling in father-son bonding for 4 hours and 30 minutes. That is, 4 hours and 30 minutes just as soon as I’m done training for the Color Run next fall (FYI, I signed up for the Blake County 5K Color Run). So for the next few months I’ll be jogging 1 hour a night for 5 days a week. Plus I’ll need a 90 minute cool down alone in front of the TV. But then after the Color Run it’ll be 4 hours and 30 minutes of parenting. You can set your watch by it!

Say no to “dad bod” right? Did you see Ken’s love handles on Instagram? Gross!

For the record, I was thinking about signing up for the Zombie Run in 2018, but I don’t have to. I’m willing to make that sacrifice for this family. Because I’m a dad now. I’m a dad. A dad. Sometimes I just like to repeat it a bunch of times and let it really sink in. I. am. a. dad.

This is my life now.

And that’s it! We’ve got 2 hours of me and the little child. As soon as I come home from work. And just after I put down my bag, hop in the shower, grab a snack, return work emails that came in while I was on the train, obliterate some Nazi zombies in Call of Duty, post unsolicited parental advice on Ken’s FB wall…

Ok, I can squeeze the kid in for 24 minutes. Final tally. No phone, no emails, no talk about “perfect” dad Ken, just me and our little person who I love more than life itself from 10:30 to 10:54pm every single night. For roughly the running time of an episode of Seinfeld, I am going to be the best damn father social media has ever seen!

Honestly, that’s all I need to be a great dad. I’m not one of these inefficient fathers like somebody I won’t mention that needs all day to bond with his child.

Wait, our son’s bedtime is at 9:30? Well, how was I supposed to know the guy’s bedtime? I wish I could move some things around, but, you know…..my schedule. Which is a shame as I was really, really, sincerely looking forward to spending time with our son.

Written by Patrick Coyne

Patrick Coyne

Patrick Coyne is a writer from Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Mcsweeney’s, Splitsider, The Higgs Weldon, and Cracked.com

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