Becoming a Dad Article
Reporting for Duty
Being a father is as serious as it gets. And it comes all at once. One day you pretty much have yourself to take care of, and the next you have a family to look after. If you asked veteran dads what to be ready for, this is what they might say:
First: The Good Stuff
You should be hearing about the joys of fatherhood and hopefully you are experiencing some.
Learning you have one on the way can be thrilling, this new adventure with your partner can be blissful, and thinking about doing things with your child as he grows opens all sorts of possibilities.
If this is what you are feeling, enjoy it. If not, give it time.
Lots of Change
Relationships, finances, free time, night time, in fact, most everything outside of work changes, and even careers can take a different direction due to a baby. The compelled, required, no-choice-but-to-do-it kind of change, and there is no turning back.
You Will Fail at Times
No matter how good you are, you will have your bad days as a father. We all fail our mates and children at times. Worse, we will fail in meeting our own expectations, running the risk of losing our confidence and drive to do our best as fathers.
Good thing tomorrow is always a new day with kids.
On Your Own
According to the norms of your new world, relative to the needs of your baby and mate, your needs do not even register on the scale.
So don't expect any help or empathy. You are expected to support mom, not the other way around.
New mom networks sprout spontaneously and programs for moms are plentiful, while support for fathers is rare.
Ups and Downs
Mom's changing moods are going to have an impact, and you are going to get hit by the downdraft. Add in your own highs and lows, and a roller coaster ride would seem boring compared to the lives of some guys during this period.
Your Child Will Help You Clean Up Your Act
Not only do you have to give up your perfectly good life, you will also need to undergo sudden maturation from a somewhat self-centered, fun-loving guy to a self-sacrificing paternal role model.
As a father you are expected to set an example for your child and give up all activity that you would not want your child to witness or emulate.
May as well start by repeating the Boy Scout Law (for those who did Little League instead, it goes "I will be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent").
Don't try to do them all at once. In all honesty, all of us want to be better in some way. Our children give us both a reason and the strength to overcome the challenges we face.
When you are struggling with something, pick up your baby, look in her eyes and ask yourself what you would like to be able to do for her. Then try doing it for her.
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