When I became a father for the first time there were certain things I really wish someone had told me. At least I could have tried to better prepare myself.
prepare myself a bit better.
Some things I had to learn the hard way, living it and experiencing it for the first time was shocking.
here is my list of the 20 things that I wish I had known before becoming a father. My honest advice from the heart written by a dad of 5.
1. Knowing you’ll be a Dad is Scary
When I first found out I was going to be a dad I was confused. I didn’t know how to be a good dad because mine was 300 miles away by the time I was born.
I only met him when I was 3
feeling somewhat terrified that I was going to be a terrible father, I soon realized It isn’t something that can be mastered by reading a book.
The one thing all expecting fathers need to keep in mind is; that all fathers, myself included, are at least to some extent winging it.
To all dads expecting at the moment Right now, it may be scary. Trust me, there’s no better feeling than being in the room for the entire labor and then seeing your baby being born.
The fear fades away for a little while when your baby is first born, but it comes back for a while after.
2. Parenting is War
When it comes to being a dad, you’ll need to be prepared for a long old slog.
The newborn phase is heartwarming as well as emotionally and physically draining. This war involves spending a lot of time not knowing why your child is upset.
I wish I knew the easiest way to deal with a crying infant. When you don’t know what’s wrong the easiest way is to go through a checklist.
The checklist starts with the basics like checking the nappy, feeding and wind. Then moving on to the less obvious stuff like reflux or colic.
3. Say Goodbye to your Social Life
When you become a parent, you’re going to find that your social circle shrinks a lot, and changes too.
Your single friends will probably distance themselves from you subtly. Not because they don’t like you anymore, but they just can’t relate to you anymore.
It’s not your fault. It does however, make you feel horrible that you’ve been abandoned by people you thought were best friends for life.
Don’t worry. In a few years time when they’ve become a parent they will be calling you for all the advice!
4. You’ll be both Disgusted and Amazed by your Baby’s Poop
Nobody ever told me that my child’s fecal matter would be such a big topic for conversation. During my early years of parenthood it has been discussed openly and at length.
It’s a big topic for two reasons. The first is that when your child is pooping a variety of colors you have never seen before. You are not prepared, and end up worrying that something is wrong with your bundle of joy.
The second reason is that when you get over the worry, realising that nothing is wrong.
you will just be disgusted, amazed and shocked at the colours and consistency. The output volume of your child’s poop will also be a hot topic.
The advice here is don’t freak out. if you’re really concerned to try googling it first. If you’re still concerned to call your health professional. If it’s red then go straight to the hospital.
5. When your Baby is Really Sick, it’s worse than Physical Torture
The day after I came home with my baby, we had a visit from the midwife. She checked my daughter after seeing she looked a little yellow. It was a bad case of jaundice.
I then spent the following 2 days in the hospital with my baby girl on a phototherapy bed with a blindfold on to protect her eyes.
She was terrified because she didn’t know what was going on and I threw a hail mary by singing Bob Marley’s 3 little birds to her and it calmed her, so I ended up singing it for the whole 2 days on repeat.
To cut a long story short, as a dad you need to have the brave face and you need to reassure your partner/wife that everything is going to be okay. Reassurance is key.
6. Prepare for Kids Shows on Repeat
When your child is a little bit older and is interested in what’s going on around them, the TV is a marvelous thing to keep him/her entertained while you do the dishes or other housework like folding clothes.
The problem begins when they become infatuated with a TV show like Paw Patrol. They won’t want to watch anything else until they get bored and that can take a very long time.
My advice is a single headphone in the ear furthest away from your child while you watch something that’s actually entertaining on Netflix.
7.Toilet Training is a Nightmare
While I agree that toilet training is essential, it doesn’t make it easy. A key example is when your child requests to use the toilet after dumping a massive amount of poop in their nappy, It makes it difficult to get them undressed in time without a case of s%&* finger.
Patience is key, and reward your child whenever they manage to go to the toilet without soiling their nappy. Also, you might want to consider investing in nice hand-wash for the case mentioned above.
8. Kids are Parrots from Hell
When your little bundle of joy starts to be able to talk, they’ll be trying to say new words by copying what you say. I’m a potty mouth (no pun intended).
Because of this, you can imagine once she started going to nursery I was embarrassed more than once by her repeating things I said when I thought she wasn’t listening.
A good piece of advice is to reign in your swearing before they start talking, otherwise, you may end up in hot water with teachers/nursery assistants.
9. Choosing Childcare is tough
When you eventually go back to work, you may need childcare to cover the hours that you can’t be there even after they’ve started school.
Daycare for kids that aren’t old enough to start school can be an absolute godsend. It can also be horrendously expensive and the standards are nowhere near what the price is.
A college nursery is the first one my daughter went to and there were always accidents happening, not enough staff for the number of children, and it was horrendously expensive.
10. You Need to Watch Your Wallet as well as Your Kid
Another thing that nobody told me when I had a baby is just how expensive it can be.
That being said, I was smart enough not to go for the really expensive brands when I knew I could get the same level of quality or better for a much cheaper price.
There’s some kind of phenomenon where parents feel like they need to be getting prams or pushchairs worth the best part of $1,000 whereas I got one for less than $100 that she still fits in and is, I’d say, more reliable than the expensive stuff. You’ll be spending enough on food, wet wipes, nappies, baby medicines, toys, a crib, and a whole host of other stuff.
11. You don’t need to be a Grown up All the Time
I thought that I’d need to act my age all the time around my daughter to teach her maturity. That’s not how to interact with a toddler if you want her to have fun.
After a while, I started acting like a nutcase while I played with her including being loud, swinging her round (never by arms or legs, that’s dangerous and can hurt your baby), letting her ride around on my back like a horse and just generally being fun instead of uptight.
It made engaging with my daughter so much more enjoyable for both of us and it made things a lot less tense.
12. Enforcing Discipline can be Heart-Breaking
When your child is misbehaving and won’t listen, sometimes punishment is necessary.
You need to stay straight-faced when they misbehave in a hilarious manner, and you need to stay strong during punishment when they cry and try to say sorry for the first time (I almost cried). You may cave a few times and that’s okay, but every time you do cave and let them get away with it can set you back as far as teaching your child to behave is concerned.
As soon as they’ve learned a few words when you punish them just speak properly and try and explain to them why they were punished when they’ve stopped crying.
13. There will be Disagreements over Safety
When it comes to your child’s safety, nothing is more important.
With that said, different people have a different line to be crossed when it comes to safety. For example, I’m over-protective and as such overreact to some things my daughter’s grandparents deem acceptable.
The key here is negotiation and compromise.
14. Your Bathroom Time will have an Audience
Say goodbye to pooping alone.
Quite early in your child’s life they will become fascinated with how adults use toilets, and they also don’t like being alone meaning they’ll come and bother you in the bathroom no matter what number you’re going for.
Whether you like it or not, it’s going to happen so prepare and turn it to your advantage when it comes time to toilet train.
15. Your Child will have a Favorite
It’s a sad fact that your child will like one of you better than the other.
In my case, my children each have a favourite. My Daughters favourite is definitely my wife. This means that she prefers to sit next to her, prefers hugs from her when she’s upset, prefers to play with her and would rather spend all her waking hours with my wife while I’m sort of an interactional appendage.
Whichever one of you isn’t the favorite should take solace in the peace.
16. You will Feel Bad for Going Back to Work
When the time comes for you to back to work, whether it be 2 weeks or 2 years, you’ll feel guilty for leaving your baby and, to a lesser extent, your partner/wife.
The advice here is simple, don’t feel bad for providing for your family.
17. Baby Food Tastes Horrible
The jarred baby food you can pick up from the shelves at the supermarket are beloved by babies up and down the country.
They also taste disgusting and I can’t understand how babies love them so much. They may taste bad to us, but babies love them and they’re incredibly useful for every situation.
My advice is to stock up and keep a couple and a clean baby spoon in the house, car and the changing bag.
The bottom line
I’ve talked about a lot of points here and I wish I had someone to tell me all this, but there’s one thing that nobody told me about fatherhood that every father needs to remember.
Every single one of us is winging it, and none of us has been perfect. You’re going to make mistakes and you’re not always going to know exactly what to do, but so long as you do what you believe to be best for your child and you try your hardest, then you’re doing just fine.