To Young Fathers (Part I)
To all young as well as future fathers, this post is for you.
We have a 2.5 year old boy and we’re expecting our first daughter in the next 4 weeks. I am far from being a perfect parent but I have definitely been learning a whole lot over the past couple years. Hope you find this insightful and helpful!
Here is the first half of some things to remember as you approach fatherhood (more later):
1. Your Wife is still Numero Uno
I say this because that fact should remain true throughout your marriage– your wife is priority #1. Some wise friends have warned me that it’s often easy for young couples to lose touch with each other in their first couple years of parenthood. I totally get it now that I have my own kid. It is a whirlwind of change, adjustment, responsibility, and fatigue. Stay in the game, stay focused and make sure that you give it that extra push to love your wife– even when she may be too caught up with baby to love you the way you need to be loved. Which brings me to my next learning…
2. You Don’t Need to Be a Baby, too
It’s easy to complain and feel left out when so much attention is going to your kids. Maybe your wife used to stroke your hair and massage your toes after a long day . . . on the golf course. Maybe she used to brew homemade beer for you and cook you steak every night. Maybe you don’t get any of that anymore because junior is pooping every 5 minutes, requires an exorbitant amount of “organic” milk from mom, and cries for seemingly no reason at the most inopportune times. Well, as a new dad and forever husband your plate is full as well with two roles. You gotta work together with your wife to raise this child and not take on a third role: Big Baby. If there’s anything that the arrival of a child signals in your life, it’s that it is finally time to grow up and start weaning yourself off that big bottle of selfishness.
3. You Are a Student Again
Don’t be a fool and think you’ve figured fatherhood out just because you can change a diaper without your wife’s assistance. You still probably use half a box of baby wipes to do it, rookie. You’re gonna be learning how to be a dad for the rest of your life. I just recently was assigned a reading “assignment” from my wife to learn how to deal with our 2 year-old’s ever-increasing array of tantrums and needs. My initial reaction was “Pshhh! I don’t need to read this! I can figure it out as I go and let my instincts kick in! YOU read it, woman!” which I said to myself in convenient internal monologue form. As I swallowed my pride and let go of my disdain for anything resembling an education, I found the book to be extremely enlightening and it has helped me make incredible in my parenting. Just ask my wife! I am trying to be a good student.
4. Some Things Need to Give
I’m a naturally low-maintenance guy so I don’t have too many strong preferences, which is often a good thing when raising a child. If you’re the type of guy that likes to control and you have an opinion on everything from which brand of diapers you should use to why Yo Gabba Gabba is better than The Wiggles, you may run into a few unnecessary fights with your wife. Let go of your need for control and let your wife take the lead on some of this stuff. Trust me, your manhood will not shrink.
[to be continued tomorrow]
Any thoughts so far?