We’ve been passing on our collective wisdom to men becoming for decades, and each year, it is enriched by men like you. As you transform into a dad, we invite you to pay it forward by sharing what you learn with those who follow.
And welcome to fatherhood, the ultimate challenge of our lives. We give it all we have, sometimes stumbling along the way, but we always recover and take our best shot again. Our reward is the finest life has to offer.
The New Mom in Your Life:
Some new fathers are stunned by a rapid decline in their relationship once the baby arrives; others find theirs ultimately flourishing. If you understand how a woman transforms into a mother, how to support her, how to work together in raising your baby and how to bring back the romance, you’ll be a happy dad.
The Economics of a Baby:
Your family’s finances will change and you’ll need to respond constructively. In addition to outlining a new family budget, you’ll want to look at who works, who cares for the baby, commitments to long commutes or big mortgages, and how you and mom can bring balance to your lives, etc. Needless to say, big changes may be in order.
The Need to Be Proactive:
It’s easy to get swept along in mom’s wake by the changes a new baby brings, but you run the risk of going in a direction you’ll regret. Fatherhood is a huge rite of passage for any man, and getting educated, developing a plan and becoming involved is a no-brainer.
YOU SHOULD EXPECT
Ambivalence at Times:
Expect downs with the ups; you may cry at her birth and wonder what you got yourself into two weeks later. Sleep deprivation, rapid change in your life, and the sacrifices you make can bring overwhelming feelings for this child you barely know. You will bounce back up.
To Gain Strength from Your Baby:
A child brings out the best in us and makes us stronger. We all have issues we’d like to handle—from getting a degree to quitting smoking. When we hold our very immortality in our arms, finding the inner-strength to get it done becomes easier.
To Come Last for a While:
The distinguishing characteristic of a man who transforms into a dad is priorities shift from his own interests to his child, partner, work and then himself. Changes in their lives are profound, but they take them in stride, even when sleep deprived.
Starting Point: Your Own Father
Our own fathers differ dramatically: some were great; some weren’t there at all. Stepfathers, coaches, or other men may have served as fathers, as well.
The legacy of our fathers is a starting point for becoming a dad. It’s ironic that a distant or absent father can benefit us now – the more we missed out on, the more desire we bring to be there for our own child. It’s also true that the more we learned from our father, the more prepared we are.
Connecting to Your Father
You’re taking on an extraordinary, challenging role that creates common ground with your own father. If one of you reaches out, an upgrade in your relationship—one that supports your path as a dad—is possible. Even though he probably did a lot more for you than his own father did for him, it’s still likely he won’t reach out. So open the channel by asking him how he felt as a new dad and then share how you’re feeling.
What Our Dads Did Right
In 1990, our rookie dads talked about their own father as part of their self introduction. Their responses ranged from “great”, “emotionally distant”, to “didn’t have one around”. In 2010, we switched to “name one thing your dad did right.” While we still occasionally heard “my dad was a douche bag”, the picture that emerged is a profound statement on the possibilities of your own future as a dad:
- "Aside from being there for my sports, he instilled character in me and taught me to be a man of integrity. Also took off the day before we started our new school year to do something fun."
- "... was always supportive of anything I wanted to do, even if he didn't like it. I always respected him a lot for that. "
- "My dad was always there to support us with our dreams and aspirations. He was always behind me one hundred percent."
Our fathers loved us but often lacked the vocabulary to express it or the skills to put that love into tender actions. Newer generations are developing this capability.