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10 Simple Things Made Difficult by Having a Baby

03/16/2015 01:01 pm ET | Updated May 16, 2015
Jon Helmkamp

I remember what it was like when I was responsible for nobody except myself. Leftover cake for breakfast? Sure. Stay up entirely too late binge watching Netflix? Of course. 401K? ....huh? When I only had to take care of myself, there was all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted or needed. There is one painfully stark observation I have made as a parent: What used to be a no-brainer now takes military-like tactics to complete. Here are 10 tasks that seem nearly impossible as a father.

1. Eating.
Something as simple as putting food in your mouth becomes a drastic challenge when you have a baby. If you think you will have the time to actually sit down and enjoy a relaxed meal, think again. You shovel whatever is edible into your mouth whenever you can.

2. Laundry.
How can something so tiny generate so much laundry? Oh, and try folding a onesie and storing it in a way that is remotely organized. Her clothes typically end up in a drawer, jumbled like a tossed salad, even though I swear I put them all away (when I actually put them away) in an orderly fashion.

3. Sleeping.
This one is obvious, but it bears repeating. You will not sleep for eight consecutive hours for the rest of your life. Oh, and fathers, keep in mind -- this one impacts you, but it impacts your spouse 10 times more. Pro tip: don't complain about lack of sleep. Yikes.

4. Sitting.
It's pretty much a good idea not to make yourself comfortable on the couch, because you will not stay in that position for long. Between things needing to get done and watching your baby, you will need to be in a position to respond at all times. You'll get used to sitting on the edge of the couch. It's not that bad, really.

5. Watching movies.
Watching a movie uninterrupted from beginning to end is a luxury reserved for those who are baby-free. On the off chance that your child goes down for a two and a half hour nap at a point of the day where you still have enough focus to watch a movie and nothing else needs to be done, then you are one of the extremely fortunate ones, and I am entirely envious of you.

6. Driving.
Driving is no longer about moving from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Instead, it is now a tactical maneuver of protecting the package (your baby) from any and all threats. I have never been more terrified of driving than I was on the drive home from the hospital with our newborn. Scary.

7. Cooking.
Cooking anything that takes precision and/or multiple steps is clearly your enemy when you have a baby. Crock pot soup? Perfect. Throw everything in, cook, serve. Risotto? Absolutely not. Pro tip: go for simple.

8. Drinking.
I've learned that, as my baby has grown, so has her reach. I used to be able to drink from a glass in one hand while holding her in the other. However, with her growing reach and equally growing curiosity, I have taken a glass to the teeth one too many times. Never again, tiny child. Never again.

9. Socializing.
"Hey guys! Want to catch the game on Friday night? Since we can't go to the bar with my 9-month-old, you can come over and watch it on my TV while she bangs on a tiny toy piano." This does not tend to go over very well. I watch a lot of games alone.

10. Leaving.
Leaving the house has become a production. Shoes. Diaper bag. Diapers and wipes in the diaper bag. Blanket. Toys if needed. Jacket. Baby food. Wallet. Keys. Phone. My brain. There was once a time where I could just grab my keys and go. Those days are no more.

Having a baby has made life significantly more complicated. Wonderful, but complicated. I never thought these tasks would take coordination. Are there any daily occurrences made more challenging by a baby that take place in your life? Let me know in the comments below!

You can find more from Jon Helmkamp at Finding Fatherhood, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

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