New Dad Diaries – Week 21: Feed, poop, clean, repeat




Chronicling life as a new father to his beautiful firstborn child – daughter Thea – Chris Kerr’s goal is to provide all men experiencing fatherhood for the first time with some invaluable tips and tricks as they are learned – the hard way. This week, Chris tries to find purpose in the day-to-day drudgery of parenting.  

Today, I found out that I had won a major contract at work. It was a big deal, and so for the rest of that day, compliments flowed my way. I was a king, a champion, a success story. And it was all going to my head.    

Fortunately, I have a 21-week-old at home to keep me humble. A role she clearly takes very seriously, as when I walked through the door and picked her up, she threw up on me. She then followed it up with not one but two spectacular nappies for me to change. It was like one of those inspirational rags-to-riches movies in reverse – From Happy to Nappy, From Hyper to Diaper, Mary Poopins, Forrest Dump, Poop Fiction, Die Hard Poo. I will spare you the rest of my film puns, suffice to say, it is a script all dads know well.  

Parenting is definitely a leveller. If you don’t feel hopelessly out of your depth, the drudgery of the everyday tasks will bring you back down to earth. Feed, change, bathe, rock, clean, repeat. There’s no popping champagne when you do a good job of it either. It’s a long, slow, uncelebrated walk in the same direction from the moment they are born to, apparently, the day they leave home.   

In fact, one survey (, laid out the numbers behind the monotony for all new fathers. Before your child turns four, you will change their nappy 3,738 times, help them navigate 28 colds and deal with 1,092 tantrums (‘No, you can’t throw your food at the waiter’).   

That’s a slog and a half. And unfortunately, there is no rest from it. The same study says your sleep will be interrupted 728 times in that first four years, and if you have any grand ideas about hiding in the toilet for a quick break, be aware that you will be interrupted on 192 occasions.     

So, what’s the payoff? Negative £202,660 according to The Times, but that’s not what I mean. There is a far greater reward for persevering with the parenting monotony. It’s in the tedious tasks – feeding them, bathing them, rocking them back to sleep at 3:37am – that we learn what comforts them, what makes them smile and what makes them laugh. It’s in these moments that our kids learn to trust us, to need us and to love us. The result is an unbreakable father-son/daughter bond, that no amount of money, fame and or success at work will ever buy.   

To my mind, that makes it all worth it.   

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you don’t find that motivating, try the ‘it could be worse’ approach. Imagine what it would be like if you had triplets. By my calculations, that’s 11,214 nappy changes… 

Chris Kerr

Chris is a husband to Alicia and father to Thea, who is the subject of his columns on Fatherhood for Sorted.  In his spare time he works for a national law firm in an executive capacity and provides crisis leadership consultancy support for non-profits across the UK.  He attends Urban Crofters Church in Cardiff.  A keen weekend adventurer, Chris is regularly spotted in the sea or on mountains.

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