Return of the Cave Dad
The “new, involved nurturing dad” is actually nothing new at all. In fact, it’s about as old as it can be. Research from neuroscience, anthropology, and biology indicates the caveman was a hands-on and very involved father. He was a great dad, placed the bar high for all fathers, and equipped us to clear it.
After all, It’s tough to build a family on financial fumes. Your relationship with Mom will be a huge factor. You may have been raised in a culture with a restrictive take on the role of fathers. If you’re young, basic maturity can be a major challenge, and if you’re older, you’ll probably be more set in your pre-baby lifestyle.
While we are all different, we are also all the same. We all have the built-in biological predisposition to be a good dad handed down from our cave dad ancestors. You can look forward to developing this and the hormonal enhancements that accompany it, triggered by close contact with your baby.
As you anticipate the arrival of your little one, anticipate the arrival of your innate drive to do whatever it takes for your new child and family, and prepare to ride it like a surfer riding a wave.
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While MommyLand provides immediate access to lots of good information, alarmist, click-bait headlines are common. Mothers are told what to do and not do, and a compulsive approach to mothering is the norm. It’s often a judgmental, guilt and anxiety-inducing realm for a new mother and the last thing she needs.
A mom-to-be is drafted into MommyLand immediately upon a positive pregnancy test, and quickly gets erroneous information that she has already harmed her baby with the one drink she had Friday night. Her new month-by-month bible was described by one of our dads as “400 Ways to Die.” MommyLand hazes her as she runs the gauntlet of pregnancy, birth, and initial motherhood, continually creating new demands on what it means to be “good mother.”
Throughout history, mostly up until the formation of the internet, we protected new mothers from anything that would take her mind off her baby, especially if it induced stress. No longer.
Keep Her Grounded
Her flood of hormones coupled with MommyLand add substantial, unneeded stress to a new mom’s life, and send her off the tracks of rationality. You can help her lower her stress and maintain balance by helping her stay grounded. (BTW, mommy stress is bad for babies)
Ask her what worries her; don’t disagree with what she says, just listen and let her get it off her chest. Encourage her to tell you everything on her mind and see if you can help her laugh off the more ridiculous stuff. Suggest she steps away from the keyboard. Tell her she’s going to be a great mom.
Your partner will be able to put Mommyland into perspective by about 4-6 months after your baby arrives (and after her hormones calm down).
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We are on to a real solution. For decades, our Boot Camp for New Dads has offered an understanding of new moms, strategies to support them, and advice for enormous patience from new dads. It was a one-way street as moms-to-be reported they gave little thought to dad-to-be, and the notion of understanding and support for him never entered their minds.
Now, our Boot Camp for New Moms features info on new dads; and our “veteran” new moms advise the moms-to-be that they will get the best from Dad if they understand him and get on the same page in working together to build their new family. It also includes techniques taking some of the stress out of motherhood, and how a new mom can make motherhood work for her.
The information on this site comes largely from those workshops.
The combination of workshops is the best thing going for new dads, who afterward feel respect and appreciation from their mates, and a willingness to talk about the challenges they'll likely encounter once their baby arrives. It's also the best thing for new moms, who find a true partnership with Dad is way better than the alternative.
If you and your partner can get to our workshops, you will be happy you did. If you can’t, this website is the next best thing.
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Despite dads dramatically increasing time spent with their children, most moms, whether back at work or at home, report feeling overwhelmed. No wonder. The drop in time spent for moms between 2004 and 2016 indicates moms are finally taking the “dad dividend” and getting some balance in their lives. This is a great thing for you to encourage.
On the other hand, in terms of stress, dads have caught up to moms. Researchers have asked moms for decades about stress and blamed their high levels on dads, promoting the notion that after work while she was cooking dinner, he was drinking a beer while watching TV.
They finally asked dads about their stress levels and found that fathers today are just as stressed as mothers (which isn’t good for either of you or your family).
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In 1990, it was unusual to see a father out with his baby, and now they’re all over the place. If you talk to the dads you know or meet about dad stuff, they’ll be all ears and solutions and will tell (or show) you how it’s done. Dads are expanding their skill sets in their own creative ways, and you will too.
Your father’s generation stepped up for their children, and yours is building even more fulfilling bonds. You'll be talking to your child more, about things that matter more. You'll look for ways to include him in things you like to do, or maybe come up with new hobbies you do together.
Boot Camp for New Moms and the information on this website will help turn your partner into a new mom who understands and appreciates the new dad in her life—most of the time. Dads pitching in, moms and dads on the same page, and strong partnerships result in enlightened, collaborative decisions for your family. All this makes Mom happier and clears the decks for her to make you a bigger priority.
With the state of the world we’re bringing our children into, the timing for this renaissance in fatherhood you’re part of couldn't be any better. This transformation of fathers will help mitigate the massive societal challenges of broken families, hopeless youth, teen pregnancy, and violence—all with a direct relationship to inadequate or absent fathers. Perhaps we can look forward to when failure as a father is no longer an option, and all of our children are better off as a result.
Finally, after decades of men stepping up as fathers, the media is finally catching on, just in time for you. The stereotyped idiot dad who can’t do anything right is on the way out, thanks to one dad whose online petition against a Huggies ad went viral. While your overwhelmed, hormonally challenged mate (with nobody to vent at but the slacker who knocked her up) saw a lot of doofus dads in sitcoms, ads, etc. while growing up, she's now also seeing great dads portrayed, like “Jack” in This Is Us.
An amazing thing has happened just in time for your turn at fatherhood: dads are suddenly cool. We are funny cool with dad jokes having risen from really dumb to a respected genre of comedy (check out Reddit). We are superhero cool with gaining recognition for our innate dad instinct to rescue our babies from all kinds of calamity. Even our flabbier bodies, somehow reflecting the sacrifices we make, are getting respect as “Dad Bods.” Not that it'll do you any good at the beach, but trust me, few of us dads were cool in any respect before.