Three months ago, my life changed forever.
March 25, 2019 will always be a great day in my life, but it will also be a day that I said goodbye to who I was for 29 years.
On March 25, my wife and I welcomed our first child, a beautiful baby girl that we named Caroline Lily Womble, who came into this world a healthy 8 pounds, 10 ounces and whopping 22.5 inches long.
I had nine months to prepare for this moment, but somehow it didn’t feel like enough.
I knew I wanted kids, I knew I wanted to grow my family and I knew that I would be a good dad.
After all, I had two great parents, Tracey and Chad, that showed me how to be a good parent.
Following a week’s long stay at Hendersonville’s Tri-Star hospital because my wife had to go through a C-section, it was time to bring home our bundle of joy.
During the first 48 hours, I handled all the duties that my wife simply couldn’t do because of surgery. I changed diapers, I fed our daughter, I consoled her when she cried and I thought to myself… This isn’t so bad, maybe I am cut out to be a dad.
Due to my wife’s C-section, she was granted 10 weeks of paid leave to recover, and during that time, the balance shifted to her being the primary caretaker of our child.
After all, I’m not sure Caroline could have been born at a worse time: spring sports season.
As you know, there are baseball, softball, soccer, track and field and tennis games that all need to be covered. As I’ve learned, the world doesn’t stop just because you need to. You always have to find a way to get your work done.
Well time slowly but surely passed and the time had come for my wife to go back to work.
Before I dive into the meat of this column let me be the first person to say I am truly blessed.
I have a beautiful home, a beautiful marriage, a beautiful, happy and healthy baby girl, a wonderful job and a dog we named Neyland but often goes by many, many different names such as Panini, Bubba, Handsome, Neyland Panini Handsome Bubba Wentworth Junior III that loves it all - ridiculous, we know.
I’d say I’m living the American Dream.
But back to that wonderful job that I am so, so blessed to have.
I’m not sure how many company owners let you work from home and trust you that when you’re clocking in you are actually working without breathing down your neck asking for proof of what you are doing.
Well, my company owner does that. He trusts me. Now, this trust didn’t just happen overnight. It is something I have worked for since I joined Gould Enterprises in the spring of 2015. Anyways, back to the real story here.
As a Tuesday in June rolled around and Mandy went back to work, it was up to me to shift roles and play Mr. Mom. It was something that scared the heck out of me.
I mean, I was used to having her with us at all times so that I could get my work done, or I wanted to leave to go to the store, or leave for work but now she wasn’t here anymore. Don’t get me wrong she comes home after work but from 7 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. I am alone with our daughter. Every. Day.
I learned very, very quickly that caring for a child is a full-time commitment.
You may plan for one thing but as sure as the sun rises in the East, those plans will go astray and you will find yourself on a whole new path.
The first week was more than I could have ever imagined.
Whether it was trying to get her to sleep, or tying to get her on a feeding schedule, to changing diapers, there wasn’t enough time during the day to get it all done.
On top of all that I still had pages in the Gallatin News and Hendersonville Standard that needed to be filled.
All that said everything got done despite many days of me thinking there is no way I can do this.
Here we are, one month into me being Mr. Mom and something magical has happened.
I’ve developed this strong, close-knit bond with my daughter I didn’t know was possible. I didn’t know the feeling of seeing her smile, or seeing her wake up from a nap would brighten my day more so than any time running around free ever could.
I’ve become Mr. Mom and I love every single minute of it.
So to all the Mr. Mom’s out there that are just starting out continue to embrace it, because your old life can’t even begin to compete with your new normal.
And to my parents, Tracey and Chad - thank you.
Thank you for the coming to my games, thank you for being there when I needed you, thank you for letting me slip and fall and thank you for being there to wipe the dirt off. Thank you for teaching me how to be the best parent I can possibly be to my little girl. Your hard work may have gone unnoticed during my teenage years, but it isn’t going unnoticed now.
All that I am is because of you.
- Mr. Mom
(*Zach Womble is the Sumner County sports editor for the Hendersonville Standard and Gallatin news)