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What to Expect When You’re Expecting … the Arrival of Another Little One

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

A month ago we welcomed another child into our family.

One would think that after having seven children this would all be old hat.

And yet ... it wasn't.

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that children are the common good of the family. And this is a truth that we perceive with each new child.

We spent a few weeks getting ourselves organized for the big day.

Daddy was taking vacation days as soon as the baby was born.

Mommy made twenty freezer supper meals so the children wouldn’t have to suffer with daddy’s cooking for two weeks.

We ordered the baptismal gown and had it embroidered.

We prepped the children and set up chore schedules.

We even arranged for grandma to spend a week helping out.

But despite our experience and diligent preparation, the transition was so frustrating!

First off, I think we forgot how difficult it was to add a new baby to the regular schedule and then to take mommy out of the picture as she recovered and established a nursing schedule. The simple act of taking mommy out of the regular routine of life was enough to throw us all into barely sustained chaos. All of a sudden, dad was in charge of managing the chores, laundry, cleaning, residual homeschooling assignments, toddler squabbles, and feeding the maddening herd three times per day! To top it off, we were in a heat wave and all the children wanted to do was go to the beach. We went to the beach almost every day and almost every day I forgot the sunscreen and sometimes the little ones just had to swim naked because swimsuits were forgotten at home. I was so exhausted that I purposefully chose to not bring a chair as I knew that if I so much as sat down, I would doze off.

Secondly, as most fathers I think, I figured I’d get a lot of things done during this time. So I tried to potty train the two year old ... with disastrous results.. I tried working on outdoor projects, but was continuously interrupted by requests for freezies, snacks, lunch, supper, teeth brushing, and so forth.

Thirdly, I was responsible for getting the kids ready for Sunday Mass. This generally isn’t a problem, but my wife’s standard of what is acceptable clothing for Mass is different than my own. She expects the socks to match, while I contend that nobody sees them anyway.

But … there is a light to all this!

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that children are the common good of the family. And this is a truth that we perceive with each new child.

With the advent of a new baby, every member of the family changes in some way. My oldest son becomes gentler. My oldest daughter becomes more responsible. The younger ones learn to play quieter or spend more time outdoors. All the children treat their mother with more awe and respect. In other words, all of us, including dad, grow in virtue in some way.

We grow in our relationships with each other.

The stress, the irregular schedule, the frustrated dad, the poor lunches – all of these can help us to grow closer together if we allow them to. If each of us can behold the common good of the family over our personal desire for free time and to do what we want to do (and this applies especially to me), then the journey through these rough waters will, as conflict and hardship are prone to do, bind us tighter together as a family.

We are stronger now that baby Athanasius has arrived. As for him, the little guy has already surpassed my expectations.

Semper Fidelis,

Kenton E. Biffert

N.b. For all dads out there expecting another little one, here is my tip for feeding the other children lunches (the bane of my day): make a simple schedule and rotate the meals.

Here’s what mine looked like:

Day 1: Brown beans and toast

Day 2: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Day 3: Ichiban noodles

Day 4: Kraft Dinner

Day 5: Brown beans and toast

etc ...


Kenton is a writer and speaker, and works at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College as an adjunct professor and the Dean of Students. Together with his wife, they homeschool their 8 children, explore the wilds of Ontario in the canoe, and read voraciously. To learn more about the art of fatherhood, visit Kenton's personal page.

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