These are the precious days that will leave first-time dads with remarkable experiences. With so much to do outside and at home, it may feel like an exhausting journey. You’ve now got less sleep, a cranky insecure partner or wife who is exhausted to the brim, not to mention the new bundle of joy, all competing for your attention.
It’s a fun journey, exactly like going backpacking without a map: you don’t know what’s ahead of you.
Really, you don’t need to know everything. Too much emphasis is placed on knowing everything instead of enjoying the process. No matter how many articles or books you read, life brings on its own experience. Some days may leave you feeling you’re living a nightmare, trying to adjust to all the newness. But the perks are that experiences and bonds are being created that will last a lifetime.
Here are five things new dads should do:
- Feed yourself before you get home.
Unless you are in the kitchen wearing a chef’s costume and chopping veggies, do not ask, “What’s for dinner?” The reality is that handling a baby is the hardest job of all, and if she’s a first-time mom, your wife or partner is likely already insane from using all her energy to comfort the newborn.
She is like a discharged cell phone beeping to recharge. The only person she can transfer her tasks to right now is you, so being there to let her go take a shower or have a short nap will put you in the “best man alive” category. That wife who cared for you all those days will return once she is able to handle everything.
- Be generous with compliments.
All that practice you had before you became parents, being romantic and telling her how beautiful she was, comes in handy now. Let her know she is beautiful in verbal language with some feeling. The fact is that she cannot fit into her clothes and is frustrated with her new body, which she did not expect to see.
She may be well aware that she will get back in shape, but she will definitely have thoughts of insecurity. You are the only one she looks to for compliments. How she looks in your view matters the most for her. Give the mother of your child all the attention you can, no matter how exhausting it may seem.
- Always ask, “How was your day?”
and then actually let her explain her day. You may be the only person she is interacting with in her entire day. Give her all your attention and let her open the floodgates of communication. Women relax and figure out solutions by talking. On your way home, prepare mentally that your entire day was just for you to experience. Don’t expect to win any “I had the hardest day ever” awards, or have a river of sympathy running toward your day.
Chances are, your woman will have plotted your murder more than two times already in her day, so be nice to the stressed-out mom and don’t project your day as the worst. No day is more emotionally, mentally, and physically challenging and draining than a mother’s day with a tiny baby.
- Be supportive.
We all know that dads want to help with the baby, but moms are protective about their babies. Even if you have a Ph.D. in handling a newborn, every mom has her way. Communicate how you can help her, and ask how she wants you to help, without bringing up how your mother or sister does things. Thoughts of not knowing how to parent right way can create anxiety, but there are many opportunities to boost your knowledge.
Parenting is not hard. People make it hard. Some women come to it naturally, but for most it’s not easy. Read books before the baby is born so you will be prepared for those times when your woman hardly remembers where her mind is. When a woman is sleep deprived and partly working as a cow, she cannot possibly use much of her mind. With advice pouring in from every direction, the last thing she wants to hear is how other moms do things. Be proud of your baby’s mother, no matter what!
- Love returns in multiple folds.
When you are a new dad, handling everything with a new baby is tough. All the attention goes to the new mom. But this is the best time to show that you are someone she can count on. Enjoy being the ultimate provider. You know you are needed. This will be a big stepping stone for years to come, because she will always remember the much-needed help you provided her during these times.
She understands and sees you are doing a lot but will not remember to compliment you or pat your back every time. She definitely will give back in multiple folds once her hormones are back to normal. Any boy can be a father, but you are her big support! This would be the best time to be her MAN.