“A new mom protects her child from the whole world & from the new father” – Believes every new mom.
Little does she realize becoming a father too is an emotional journey. The first few months with the baby are a mixed bag of emotions – feelings of powerlessness, sleep deprivation, and stress, coupled with moments of joy and sometimes glory (for me, that moment was my first successful diaper change}. Every new dad is bound to feel the change in his life. While some are naturally good with this transition, some take some time and learn to cope with it.
Yes there’s no ‘free time’ for yourself, and you watch your single friends disappear from your inactive social life. You’re also drinking less beer, spending less time on that X box, and basically growing up. Hello new dads! Here are my top 7 observations and learnings to help you deal with this massive change.
Be the cheerleader, but never underestimate your role
Let the new mommy be the MVP. Shower her with compliments & let her know how well she is doing in her new role. Discuss things, but let her feel like she is calling the shots. However, it is important to know your role & realize how important a father is in shaping a child’s life & future. Therefore choose your battles carefully & fight only the ones that matter.
Filter all advice
Unsolicited parenting wisdom is like a leaked diaper, new parents will have to deal with both! There is so much advice you get from everyone – from the hospital nurse, jappa, nanny, your mother, her mother, her friends who have already had kids, & their mothers! It’s easy to feel everything you are planning to do is wrong. Make sense of the noise around you.
Get excited about the baby
All fathers love their babies, however first time moms need to see that. Yes you will be judged! So when you feel love for your baby, say it out loud, so both mummy and baby hear you. It’s her way of feeling loved, because in her mind the baby and her are one.
Learn the basics
There will be times when you will be the only soldier on the battlefield, so be equipped! You need to learn to feed and burp the baby, master the art of changing diapers, learn to massage, bathe and soothe your crying baby. Not only will you make yourself useful, you will also start building a bond with your baby.
You get pooped and peed on, be prepared!
One thing that comes as a surprise to all new parents, is getting pooped or peed on. It happens to the best of us. Get over it. To add to that excitement, new parents love talking about baby’s poo texture, colour, and other exciting characteristics. Be warned, and prepared!
Never complain about how long or tiring your day was
I’am guilty of this myself. But what I have learnt is that it doesn’t matter how long or tiring your day was, odds are her day will beat yours hollow. So the idea is not to make it a competition, but to offer help as often as possible, without excuses.
Lastly, prepare your own fatherhood manual
Once you get past all the gross stuff, all the stress, no privacy, and the numerous ways you can screw up – know that fatherhood is special. One thing that will amaze you is how quickly the days, months and perhaps years fly. The time with your baby is short and precious.
Every father fears not being a good dad; that he may screw up. But life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Since we refer to manuals only when we mess up, it’s important to have that manual to go back to anyways. Fatherhood needs a manual every once in awhile, so get cracking on yours!