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A Yawner: New Dads Are Tired

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Because of interrupted sleep, 75 percent of working fathers with new infants at home report that they feel tired at work, according to two researchers in Australia. And if that's not a scientific finding right up there with the eradication of smallpox, hang on to your hats: These researchers also cautioned that overtired dads pose possible safety concerns in the workplace because of their sleepiness.

Now, I understand that being published is to a scientific researcher what getting comments are to a blogger: It's the currency we trade in. But dare I call this a "no shit, Sherlock" moment? And please don't attempt to argue with me because, you see, I am extremely overtired myself.

While I don't have a new baby at home at the moment, I am Mom to two kids; I work full time, commute an hour in each direction; plus I grocery shop, do laundry, help with homework, prepare meals, clean the house, watch endless hours of soccer every weekend and on some days even manage to shower. Heck, I'm so perpetually tired that I dozed off in the chair when I was getting my hair cut recently.

So, to hear that scientific research has determined that new dads are tired reminds me of the scientific team that studied navel fluff. Poor sleepy dears. Babies are keeping them awake at night? Welcome to our world, papas. For decades, women have been coming to work exhausted and nobody needed to study it. One look at the dark circles under our eyes would quickly identify who among us was a new mom. And frankly, few companies even acknowledged our role as parents, let alone tried to ease the balancing act between work and family.

I don't recall an exemption on the career ladder for those with babies cutting teeth or second-graders who climbed into your bed and kick-boxed your rib cage every night. What I do recall is calling up the boss and in my best nasal voice saying I had 102 fever when it was really my daughter with the thermometer stuck under her tongue.

Policies, of course, have become more enlightened through the years. Many companies, including this one, now allow parents to stay home with a sick child. They also enable us to telecommute when we need to. We even get paid time to volunteer in our children's classrooms. All that is great stuff. And so is the fact that today's dads are more fully involved in their children's lives, starting at infancy.

But as for the "Fatigue and Work Safety Behavior in Men During Early Fatherhood
study
" by Gary Mellor of Southern Cross University and Winsome St. John of Griffith University that appears in the American Journal of Men's Health, pardon me for not being impressed. I can only say, welcome to the club boys and please pass the espresso pot when you're done.

But while you're here, would you mind posting a comment?