The Meaning of Dad to Be
Earth-shattering. That is one way to describe the initial feeling of when you find out you are going to be a father. One minute you are hanging with your boys, watching the game, grabbing a drink, and then, all of a sudden, without any warning,( well maybe not that surprising), your role changes. You are now responsible for another human being. Yeah, wide range of emotions.
So after the initial shock wears away, you begin to digest what is about to happen. Contrary to what you hear your life is not over, but it will change. It will definitely change.
Life will become more confusing. It will become more challenging and you will experience stresses that you have never seen. All this sounds tough, huh? But wait, there is a positive to this, I promise. Your life now will be filled with joy and laughter. It will be filled with love. Your life will now be worth living.
As a dad to be you have to make sure that you are there to support. That is the most important role you are going to play. The next few months are going to be filled with frequent trips to the bathroom, trips to the Drs. and trips out to quench midnight cravings, without complaining. Let's face it, we as dads have it easy.
As a dad to be you need to be involved in every aspect of the pregnancy. Accompany her to her Drs. appointments. Help put together the registry. Let her know that you are in this with her. That will go along way.
Remember that you are a team, and the next few months, until the baby comes, will be challenging. But on their birthday, all the work that you guys did together will strengthen the bond between you to help raise your child.
*Also dad to be, don't take anything that happens in the delivery room to heart, she really doesn't hate you.
A List of 10 Best Advice for dads-to-be
So here is a list of some things that may get you ready for the next step. They are not in any particular order because they are all important. Please remember to continue to use these suggestions from here on raising your child. Please don't stop after the birth of your child, we will save that topic for another article.
1. Don't Worry
Yes, it is going to happen. The thoughts run through your head:
"Can I afford it?"
"Will I make a good dad?"
"What will I do if she cries?"
" Will I be able to make a sandwich while holding her?"
Well maybe not that last one, but there are a ton of questions that come to you with, unfortunately, no answers.
It will be Ok.
Fathers with no experience are introduced to fatherhood on a daily basis. And guess what? For the most part, they do alright.
Will you make mistakes?
Will you experience moments of self-doubt?
Yes and guess what - it will be fine. Part of learning and growing as a father figure is making those mistakes and experiences. Wait until you have your second child, you will be an expert.
2. Get Back to Normalcy
It is essential to get back into the swing of things especially after having a baby. Yes, you now have a baby you have to plan your day around, but getting back to normalcy is crucial to keeping your sanity and keeping your relationship strong. So go out and run those errands, clean the house, and cook dinner like normal. Even going on a walk will be beneficial.
3. Let Mom Have Time to Herself
So what is a dad's biggest fear?
Being left alone with a baby may be high on that list. But guys, mom needs some time away. Encourage her to go out and have some much-needed me-time. It could be having brunch with friends, going out to see a movie, or even running errands. Time to herself is important. Even though she may think that it is not necessary, you must insist that she gets that time. I challenge all you dad's out there to set up a hair and manicure appointment on your own and see what happens. You'll thank me later.
4. You Need Time to Yourself
Same goes with you. Grab your clubs. Get together with your friends to watch the game. Go back to what you did for fun before you had your baby. If you don't have a hobby, find one. You can even join a gym and work on that "dad-bod". Finding time to your self will allow you to decompress and come back to your parenting role. But, remember guys, it's a two-way way street. If you don't take care of advice number 3 above, then this one is null and void.
5. Just Be There
This has to start at the beginning. There are a number of ways that you can make this happen. Recommend that the two of you join a Lamaze class. Accompany her on her trips to see her OBGYN. Create the baby registry together. These are just a few times that you can be involved. Don't complain once you commit. You will never live to forget that one.
6. Listen to Advice
This one can go a number of different ways. As you approach parenthood people are going to be full of "Well when I...." so much so that everytime you got a dollar, you would not need to worry about that college fund. But be careful. Read the books. Listen to your friends who were fathers before you. Advice is important, but remember every child is different which makes every situation different. Don't ever go against what you feel would work best for you in your current situation, even if the advice is coming straight from your mother. Be open to any advice but be careful on what you follow.
7. Ask For Help
On that note, don't be afraid to ask for help, especially after the baby comes home. If the grandparents want to come to stay with you to help out take advantage of it. An extra set of hands can go a long way. Just because you ask for help doesn't make you a bad parent. It is quite the opposite. Admitting that you can't do it alone is a big step in helping you get adjusted to your new role in parenthood.
8. Date Nights
Most importantly time with each other. So many new parents feel bad if they go out without the baby. Why is that? If you have a trusting individual that can help you with this, take advantage. Those date nights will go a long way to keeping your sanity.
9. Show Affection
To be a good dad, you need to be a good husband or partner. Show affection, especially the days leading up to your baby's birth, when your partner is not feeling very sexy.
10. Enjoy Every Minute
Saved the best for last. This is the most important advice that can be given. Enjoy every minute as they come. Touch mommy's belly to feel kicks. Listen to their heartbeat. After they come into the world, get down on the ground and play with your baby. Poke your head in at night and watch your baby sleep. You will blink and it will be over. So remember those long nights you are "suffering" will turn into short days.
Checklist For Dads - to Be Preparing For A New Baby
There are a few things that you will need to make sure get done before baby comes home:
- Build all baby furniture
- Install the baby seat in the car
- Learn how to change a diaper quickly
- Have some ready-made meals prepared
- Make sure to have plenty of baby essentials on hand to save trips to the store
- Enjoy the ride
Top 3 Books For New Daddies
1. Man vs Baby
2. Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADDA
3. The Reluctant Father
Dads, your world is going to change. But don't worry, a positive outllook will go a long way towards being a great and successful dad. The key is the example that you give to your little one.