When my wife told me we were expecting, I was happier than ever (and terrified).
We had a lot going on, and no money was saved in advance. My only worry, at that point, was pursuing another degree. That changed in an instant.
I knew what it took to be a father; I just didn’t feel prepared for it. Before my wife told me we were expecting, our life consisted of school, work, and partying. Nevertheless, it took about a week for the terrifying feeling to go away. It was now time for a boy to become a man.
There are at least four essential things to know as a father, especially a young, first-time dad. After I adopted these traits and adapted to how they governed my life, I quickly saw fatherhood’s beauty:
1. Growing Up and Sacrificing
There is no coincidence why this is first. Once you get the news that you’re going to be a father, these words should become a part of your everyday life: it’s time to “Grow up” and “Sacrifice.” Schedule changes, canceling events, and creating more time to map out your family’s future are now the things that matter most.
With doctor visits, financial planning, and taking care of baby mama during the pregnancy, there will be a lot less time for your personal interests. Prioritizing your wants and needs will make you a better father.
Maturity is vital to being a father. Some expectations and responsibilities require a mature mind to make decisions. This doesn’t imply that men make all the decisions. (Never forget: “happy wife, happy life”.)
Maturity grants the ability to weigh out the positives and negatives of a decision, especially one that affects the family. So if mom wants the den to be the baby’s playroom, but you wanted a game room, you’re going to have to grow up and sacrifice. She wants a car with more space, but you planned on getting a two-door coupe? Grow up and sacrifice.
2. Quick Learning Skills
Being a parent, whether a mom or dad, requires quick learning. There is no book to explain your journey through parenthood. Parenting is a lifelong commitment and learning process. As your kid goes through the stages of life, you alter your learning process accordingly.
Learn what’s right for your kid. You’d be surprised to find out the difference between their needs and what you thought was best for them.
I had to learn that our son needed a different size nipple on his bottle because of his constant reflux. He also required a specific pacifier because he had a gap in his teeth, and his tongue was larger than normal. These are things that needed to be learned quickly for the well-being of our baby boy.
So even if you have to ask for professional help, continue to learn your kid’s needs as they develop in life.
Commitment is what every kid needs from a parent; mom needs it too, so give them your all! This could mean 4 a.m. diaper changes, warming bottles, rocking the baby to sleep, whipping up meals, and playtime.
Come on; it’s 2020. Just because your kid has a mom doesn’t mean she is responsible for all the aspects of childcare.
This goes for the co-parents as well. Relationships and marriages may not work. It’s life, and I know things happen, but that shouldn’t dictate the amount of commitment your child deserves.
Unfortunately, men have the reputation of leaving kids behind with just a mother to care for them. Don’t add to the statistic; be the best dad that you can be.
This is the crown jewel of parenting. That goes for parenting of all stages. Patience is what will make you laugh at something your kid did when you usually would be annoyed.
For example, when your kid has the first poop that shoots up their back onto their entire outfit, you put them in the tub and get them cleaned. Ten minutes later, another one! It’s everywhere—again! Without patience, your head might explode, but you’ll find yourself laughing at the mind-boggling things your kid does in due time.
Don’t get upset at the simple things (unless it’s continuous and abnormal); just laugh! It’ll get you a long way.
First-time dads, trust in yourself; understand that you mean the world to your kids. The admiration they have for you will make your heart smile in a way it never has before.
You’re going to do great!