The Top 10 Tips New Dads Won’t Find in a Book
There’s something to be said for a day which celebrates everything ‘dad’. Whether you’re an experienced dad, a new dad or you’re celebrating with your much-loved old man, Father’s Day is the perfect excuse to relax and enjoy time with your nearest and dearest.
With that in mind, we thought we’d compile a need-to-know list of all of the things guys wish they knew when they first became a dad, but could never find out from a book.
#1 You’re going to need to be there when you least feel like it.
Yep, that’s right, we’re going in deep with our first tip for new dads! Being there for your partner really begins the moment you find out they are pregnant. Your lady is going to have needs, wants and cravings that require you to step up your game and put aside what you’re doing to give her comfort and support. This will only increase once your new baby comes along! Sometimes, all you’ll need to do is simply ‘be there’ to hold a hand or dry tears, but at other times it may be a bit more involved than that. Be prepared to get up in the night, make breakfast first thing in the morning, come home from work if things are difficult and take time off if mum or baby are unwell. You may be busy, you may be tired, you may even be hungover - but when your family need you, you need to be prepared to step up to the plate and be there for them, regardless of whether you feel like it or not.
#2 You have never felt tiredness like this before. Trust us.
We all get tired - from work, big sports games and late nights. But nothing - NOTHING - compares to the tiredness felt by new parents. The key thing to remember here is that no matter how tired you feel, your lady is likely feeling 100 times more tired than that. Breastfeeding, hormones and anxiety about sleeping or feeding patterns are no doubt causing your partner a huge amount of stress and sleepless nights. You may find that you’re both running off adrenaline for the first wee while but at some stage the lack of sleep and restless nights will catch up with you and you will crash. Be ready for it - eat healthily, keep your water intake up and get fresh air whenever you can. These little things will help when sleep deprivation kicks in.
#3 Changing a nappy isn’t actually all that bad.
Everyone is full of horror stories about how awful it is having to change nappies. We say - man up! More often than not, it’s not that bad and by helping out with a few nappy changes here and there you’ll get to spend extra bonding time with Junior - not to mention give your lady a well earned break.
#4 Microwave dinners never looked so good.
Sure, you and your better half used to love spending evenings in the kitchen, making Michelin grade dinners and drowning them with a bottle of French red…. But those days are (temporarily!) over. Throwing together a makeshift dinner of last night’s leftovers and pieces of toast, zapping something in the microwave or even ordering takeaways is not a sin - sometimes it’s the only option and that’s OK. Enjoy it while it lasts, you’ll be back in that kitchen soon enough.
#5 Mistakes happen.
A baby doesn’t come with a manual. For the most part, raising a child is trial and error. This means, mistakes happen and as long as we learn from them and move on, then it’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up for something you think you’ve done wrong - chances are, it’s not going to affect your kiddo in the long run and they’ll forgive you for giving them the wrong formula that one time or leaving their onesie on backwards for a whole day. Life happens, own it and move on.
#6 You CAN travel with a baby.
Yep, you read correctly. It’s 2017 - travelling with a baby has never been easier. Older people and naysayers will warn you that travelling with a little one is a “nightmare” and “impossible” but we disagree. In fact, travelling while your baby is still very little is actually easier than when they get slightly older and sitting on a plane for any length of time doesn’t bode well with their high energy levels. Travelling is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a family, so make the most of having a tiny, compact baby who you can pop in a front pack, and start planning your next escape!
#7 Get a good babysitter.
Chances are you and your partner may need a break from your baby LONG before you realise it. Once your baby accepts a bottle or can go for four hours or more without feeding, find yourself a good babysitter, willing grandparent or friend and take a much needed break with your lady. Whether it’s an hour at your local cafe on a Sunday morning or a few hours on a Friday evening so you can go and see a movie - take that break whenever you can. You’ll find tiredness and frustration dissipate after a nice meal, a glass of wine and a good laugh.
#8 You can NEVER have too many baby wipes.
Keep a pack in your car, your laptop bag, your bedroom and even a mini pack in your back pocket if you need to! Baby wipes are like gold dust and you can never have too many packets lying around your house - trust us. Before long, you’ll find you’re using them for everything from wiping banana off sticky baby fingers to cleaning oil off your bike and dirt off your golf clubs.
#9 Make time for your other relationships.
We get it, babies take up A LOT of time and it’s easy to focus everything we’ve got on our new family member. But bringing a new life into the world isn’t an excuse to forget about all of the other relationships in your life - your friends, family, colleagues, and most importantly: your significant other. Make time to see your mates for a coffee, call in to see your parents without your baby in tow and stay behind for a drink with workmates every once in awhile. Keep regular date nights with your lady too. Taking time out to appreciate her will only strengthen your relationship, and there’s nothing more important for a baby than to see his/her parents showing one another love and support.
#10 You’re not the assistant - you’re the father.
You and your partner played equal parts in bringing this beautiful new life into the world, therefore your responsibilities and duties are equal too. Don’t let old fashioned notions or traditional views on parenting trick you into thinking you are anything less than critical in the process of raising of your child. Throw yourself into fatherhood and embrace it wholeheartedly. Be informed, get hands on and most importantly: love with every cell in your body.