Mothers light up when they have to talk about their offspring and related joys and sorrows.. But what do men think about becoming a dad? Behind their silence, do they really hide a true hassle for such feminine occupation, or maybe ... ? Is it really that hard for them? If you are a dad, from the "not yet but maybe a day" level to the"Yes several times" one, then this interview is for you. If you're a mom, here's a point of view that could explain many things..
Becoming a dad - the first time
Becoming a dad the first time was.. Well, there was the novelty effect, it was all very exciting. I really enjoyed attending the prenatal classes, and paying attention to the reactions and questions of the other couples; feeling that atmosphere of preoccupied excitement.
Then childbirth.. Watching as your child comes to the world is an indescribable thrill, and at the same time it feels like a normal thing in life. An extraordinarily natural phenomenon.
I am glad to have witnessed and seen everything; that's something you don't want to miss.
Those first days you're as suspended in a time that has stopped; with such a tiny baby, that's yours, you can't just stay indifferent, regardless of how much you're a rational, thick-skinned guy.
Becoming a dad - on time and poop
At first, everything seems to go pianissimo, everything laid-back, easy and under control, and then you're screwed.
Take the poop for example: when your baby poops for the first time, you laugh. It's so small! What's all the fuss about poop?
But give it a few days of milk and it looks like a lion's work!
Luckily you get a lot of practice and end up not thinking about it anymore.
It changes your life
At first you seem to have everything under control. You remember all those dads who'd told you "wait and see, a child changes your life, after you can no longer do certain things..!"
And you think it will be different for you; it's just a matter of enough motivation and organization.
Because at the beginning, the baby eats and sleeps and you don't have to do anything. You carry it almost anywhere.
But then, slowly, and very gradually, you start realizing that more and more things are no longer possible..
They were right. It's not like before. Screwed.
Then, after a phase of rebellion and difficulty, in which you'd like to escape very far away and send just a few postcards, you finish by accepting and integrating the new rhythms.
Just in time: because these then accelerate as the child grows!
Biology has done a good job : whenever you can't see your children, it kills you. But then, as soon as you see them..
In a matter of 20 minutes, you remember why you accepted that job mission in Patagonia, trying to pass it as a truly indispensable step for your career yith your wife.
Becoming a dad - the second time
The difficult aspects are quickly forgotten, it is incredibly amazing. Sleepless nights; colic and all the crying; diarrhea out of the diaper, and the regurgitation on your clean shirt right before you leave for the office..
Swooped, they vanish from your brain. Just like that, you stop thinking about it.
In fact, I remember very well that when my second child was born, the first thing that jumped to my mind was the smell of clean diapers as soon as I opened the new box.
So that made me relive everything. I just blessed the wet wipes and who invented them. How could people have children before?
On mom's milk
Breast milk, all dads secretly want to taste it.. Do it absolutely! An unexpected taste, something so mysterious.
Mystery and tenderness
But the most mysterious thing remains how children can learn things so quickly. How they start to walk for instance!
And those little legs, that from crooked suddenly straighten up! A magic.
The tenderness of their smiles, and the hands that automatically close on your finger..
Another really nice thing, honestly, was holding the baby with a baby carrier.
If you're becoming a dad, forget those expensive and bulky prams, the new-age wraps, and all those accessories that turn out useless.
Reduce to the mere necessary - for example, with a baby carrier. They are easy to wear and use, the children sleep very well inside, and it's great to have your baby so close to you.
Connected: A Guide to prenatal purchases.
Becoming a dad - important notice
1. Beware of moms: they go through a severe hormonal upheaval that completely destabilizes them. Being able to stay close to them will not be easy but essential for survival.
2. When you feel down, like you want to abandon everything and close yourself in a convent for meditation; for example when you want to do something you previously enjoyed but you can't, think that this only lasts for a short period of time.
The difficult phase goes from 6 months to 4 years. Then you're safe.
I think the newborn phase is nice and tender but uninteresting. Instead, from the 5-6 years and up, that's the Golden Age, where you can discuss, talk, play games.. And they make you drawings with written "dad I love you", which is frankly awesome.
Becoming a dad - are you afraid?
I have never been afraid of not being good enough, I always thought "If so many have succeeded, then it must not be so difficult!"
In general, I try not to repeat the same mistakes of my parents, but to make new ones; so at least there's a bit of variety!
Then I think that for children, it is essential that we are their unlimited source of safety, love and affection; that we are a clear reference point. And for that, the rules are fundamental.
To enforce them, just don't let your wife see you!
No comment by the undersigned wife
Connected: a speech on the importance of rules.
What I didn't expect, though, was that I didn't realize how tiring it could be. That constant fatigue that sticks to you, a workload that increases gradually but steadily.
To manage it, it is important to get some help whenever possible, take turns, and take it easy.
To all the women who give you advice, always answer "yes" with the look of someone who just had a profound revelation. She'll be so proud, and you'll look like the cool, open-minded guy. She'll never know you were secretely thinking about last night's match.
And then as soon as you can, go and talk about dad's life with other dads to relax. That's really great.
When your toddler screams laying on the ground, instead of just saying that he wanted the small spoon instead of the big one; remind yourself it only lasts a few more years.
My daughter, now that she's 5, hides so well when we play hide and seek that I can't find her. It's wonderful! A challenge.
Becoming a dad - what if you don't want to?
If you don't feel it, then it's better to wait.
However, I would add: it is wise to think that our desires today do not necessarily match with our future ones. You might regret it.
Resources and references
I share with you some articles that I have taken as a reference, and useful readings as always! Links to Amazon in this page are affiliate links.
But first, I ask you 3 things:
Share this post if you found it useful!
What do you think? I'd really like to hear about your experience 🙂
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The 40 ways-becoming a dad can make you a better person - to take a future perspective!
On the same note, read the best things about fatherhood - ironic and sweet at the same time.
And of course the inverse of the point of view: What you want to know before becaming a dad
- This is a very thorough directory with links to several topics on fatherhood, by Health Direct Australia
- And the same for Family Lives UK
Note : I haven't personally read them, but I spent some time checking customers' reviews of many books and made a selection of those I feel comfortable in suggesting these, as I would if offering them to a friend.
The author is dad and blogger, and his book's having a real success. It has tons of reviews, all positive, about its funny and yet true vision of life with a baby.
I'd start with this one! Laughter is the best medicine 🙂
This is first time dad's guide, where the author details every month of pregnancy until the first 2 months after birth, explaining what happens, what to expect, and practical tips.
I especially liked that reviewers say it doesn't present the stereotyped version of a dad.
If you're a football or soccer lover, than this book's for you. It doesn't have tons of reviews, but they are all positive!
The author metaphorically describes pregnancy, birth and baby's first year as if it was a football season, with all the terminology involved.
- To really complete my carousel of suggestions, I also picked this recite about a gay couple's journey to adoption. As it doesn't only talk about fatherhood, nor about the difficult process of adoption; but also, about the doubts and fears about doing something completely new.