Becoming a dad is both exciting and scary. You’re entering an unknown world where you lack tools and information. Chance are you’re deeply unsure of what comes next. Friends? Could they possibly be telling you the truth?
All new dads go through this, and those dads that don’t go through it ahead of time certainly face it when they bring their baby home. That’s why we feel community amongst dads is so important to surviving—and thriving.
Here’s some fatherly advice for new dads that might even serve as a refresher for seasoned dads, too:
One day at a time. A lot of times, we dads can be very future focused and forget to take every day as it is. This is especially true if you’re going through a tough transition period with your child (hello, teenagers). The hard times will eventually go away – and you’re likely to remember them as less difficult than they were. Try to work through the day you’re in. As one contributor says, “All crying stops eventually”.
You’re going to mess up. Listen, the perfect parent doesn’t exist. No matter how many books you read or how much you baby proof your house, your kid is going to use lipstick on the wall like a crayon, take a header off the dresser, or just push your buttons. You’re going to lose your cool and have days with zero patience. Your kids will remember you for the sum total of who you are and what you do, for being present. They’ll forget – or make fun of you – for your moments of human fallibility.
Prioritize physical and mental health. It’s one of the easiest things to let slip. Get enough sleep. Leave before the party is over. Walk. Get outside. Make time for your hobby – even if it’s just to practice it for half an hour. As the old adage says, “You can’t fill from an empty cup”.
Find your community. We can’t stress how important it is to find other dads to spend time with. You like coffee? You like beer? Golf, tennis, pickleball? Jets or Giants? All of those matter less than the bonds you build while together. They help you realize you’re not alone. They give you support where it’s needed. And they let you laugh and learn. It’s a lot more fun to go through the parenting journey with other people.
Be present. Are you productive when you’re distracted at work? Same holds true for being with your children – and spouse. Depending on your schedule, you might not be able to spend as much time with them as you want, but being fully present when you are there is key. Put your phone away, get down on their level, and really immerse yourself in their world. And if your phone does ring or ping, forget it: You can answer it in an hour.
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Contributors: @iwanttogothere5, @mountainmarmot, @gotta_be_done, @paramedkick, @olbatar974, @Stunning_Lychee7501, @zamzee, @evanbutton, @Sn_Orpheus, @aiasthetall, @dubnationFL, @dirtyridurr, @bearded_bustah, @squats2, @NicomoCoscaTFL, @notmyrealnam33, @rhine1906, @Any_Fisherman_3523, @tenchi8765, @Alternative_Paper393, @milkisforbabies666, @anomander_galt, @firemedic237, @FjalarSweden, @UrsusRomanus, @Ok-Stuff-8803, @isaiah_the_determined