We just celebrated our son’s 2nd birthday earlier this month, and while I definitely don’t consider myself to be a seasoned veteran of dad’s, I, at very least, am promoted from my greenhorn status. There’s so much I’ve learned about being a father and parenting in the last two years from our son that I felt that now was a good time to share what I’ve learned!
I’ve put together a list, 1 for every month that our son has been on this earth, of tips or things that I’ve found to be true that I think will help out any expecting or new dad in their journey!
I’ll never forget when I found out we were having a kid. I pretty much freaked out. Not that I wasn’t emotionally ready to be a father, but from a financial standpoint I wasn’t quite sure we were ready. Trust me. It doesn’t matter how much money you have saved up or how much you take home. You’ll figure out how to survive!
I think there’s so much pressure out there to make a lot of money and have a firm financial foundation before starting out a family. It definitely helps and will relieve a lot of stress for sure, but at the same time, if you don’t have EVERYTHING planned out before you have your first one, you’ll find that things will work out, just keep a level head and try not to panic!
Gone will be the days of sleeping in, so be ready for it! For us, it doesn’t matter how late we put our son to bed – he’s going to wake up by 7am. His internal clock, and immediate surge of energy never ceases to amaze me. So keep coffee or anything that helps you to keep your energy up fully stocked in the house because you’re going to need it!
There’s going to be days where everything is going smooth, and others where your toddler will have a complete meltdown, or simply just want to be defiant beyond all means. My only advice for those days is it will be a test of your patience, and know that there’s always tomorrow for a fresh start for them and a box of wine for the parents!
If this list was in order of priority, this would probably be number 1, and is something I honestly don’t do enough. If there’s anything you can do in the house to make things a little less hectic for your SO, do it. If you don’t know what to do – or just like me and not good at picking up signals – ask! Not going to lie, the answer may be to change a diaper, so be prepared.
This has helped us tremendously, especially during bedtime. Get some sort of routine going with your child and do it early. My favorite part of my day is bedtime, because I’m responsible for giving the baths since our son was born.
Up until recently he’s wanted to change that routine a little, now Mom gives bath, and Dad reads a story before bed. The schedule still stays the same, and for the most part, makes putting him down for the night easy.
I don’t care if you’re using organic, cloth, or just run of the mill diapers. They suck, and changing them sucks. Prepare for blowouts, rashes, and getting well acquainted with your child’s anatomy. Keep plenty of wipes, desatin, extra diapers, and change of clothes (sometimes for you as well) for anything that might happen. Oh yeah, and get a diaper genie.
This can be a lot harder than it sounds. Make sure to set some time aside for just the two of you, because time flies and before you know it, it’s been 6 months and you haven’t even had a night out!
This is one of my favorite things about being a dad and having a family of my own, is being about to go out and do things as a family, even though my son isn’t quite old enough to have memories of his own at this point it’s a great habit to get into. Plus, it’s a blast being able to spend time with your whole family.
Yeah, it’s going to happen, don’t fight it, especially in the first few years. There will be some nights where everything will go without a hitch and your perfect little angel will be so well behaved and people will stop by and just praise you for having the best child they’ve ever seen at a restaurant.
Then there will be nights where your little devil child will decide they don’t want to eat and rather see how far they can throw their plate, or just want to scream the whole time just because they like the sound of their voice. My only advice here is say goodbye to fine dining as a family, at least until they’re old enough to develop manners. Stick to the family restaurants and you’ll blend in just fine.
You’re going to post daily with pictures and what your kid did, and piss of all your non-parent friends. So embrace it. If you’re friends don’t like it they know how to filter their feed, just keep doing you because you’ll look back at your feed and wonder where the time went!
The second you find our you’re going to have a child advice comes out the woodwork. Best thing to do is just nod your head and “take the advice”. Just don’t run with everything you read or hear. Your instincts will kick in and you’ll know whats best for your child.
I’ll never forget the moment my son was born. You’ll instantly love this person you’ve never met immediately. Not much else to say about that, nothing will prepare you for the journey you’re about to embark in as a father, but the love you have for this human being is what makes everything worth while.
Your pets will turn into one more mouth to feed and mess to clean up once you have a toddler running the house. Even as a newborn you just don’t have the time you had before to give your pets the love and attention that you used to give them. Don’t worry, because once your child gets big enough, he’ll give them all the love you used to give them, and everything will get back to normal for them!
This goes back to #3 but, sometimes you just need to know when to let them get their way. If your child is being stubborn and only wants to eat chicken nuggets all day for a day, sometimes you just got to let it happen just so they’ll eat and you can get them to behave!
For some reason Dad is always the fun one, and the disciplinarian at times, but when it comes down to bumps, bruises, and bad dreams, Mommy always makes it better. Don’t get butt-hurt, there is something about a bond between mother and their children, that us fathers will never be able to replace. Just let it happen.
Sometimes, just sometimes, your child will want to come to you to make it better. Just try not to gloat to much to mommy unless you’ve got a nice comfy couch to sleep on!
It doesn’t matter how many times you hear someone say, “Cherish this time while you can, they grow up fast!”, it doesn’t prepare you – but it needs to be said. It’s like you’re in some sort of time warp and everything is going double speed. So seriously, enjoy those little moments.
Take lots of a pictures, videos, and sometimes neither; just be in that moment. Because before you know it they talk back, have an opinion, and if these past two years are any indicator of the next 16, they’ll be off to college before you can bat an eye!
I can’t speak yet about the second, but with a firstborn, that transition from being just a couple, to a couple with a child can be tough. You get used to a certain way of life, and honestly, some of those things will just need to go away to make room for being an awesome parent.
You’ll work late nights, give up those season tickets, maybe even begin to wear dad pants (ok, HOPEFULLY not that), to make sure you’re providing for your new family. But trust me in the end, it’s all worth it!
Let’s be honest, we’re not all millionaires. There’s going to be some weeks when the cupboards are getting bare and you eat a ketchup sandwich just to make sure you’ve got enough diapers and wipes to last you until next paycheck.Well, I hope it doesn’t come down to ketchup sandwiches, but whatever the struggle is for you, life happens, especially when you have a child. So do whatever you can to be prepared for those struggles!
Keep a freezer stocked up with extra food, store some cash in a “rainy day” jar, or just have a bottle of that bottom shelf whiskey on deck to help you get through the tough times. Just keep your head up and know better times are ahead!
Just like Mom and Dad need a date night together, they also need Mom or Dad’s night out too! Having a child is truly a blessing, but it’s not easy. There’s going to be times where you may take frustrations out on each other, and like a date night, a night out with your boys can also help reset things!
P.s. Offer to watch your child let mom go out, with her friends or just to go shopping, it helps too!
There is no way we would have gotten through the last couple years as parents without the help from our friends and family, and for that we are extremely grateful. Whether it’s watching the kids, keeping up with household chores or dinner, or whatever it may be to help get through a rough patch, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Family and friends with children I have found can relate to your situation the most and are more than willing to help you out. Just be sure you’re there to return the favor!
I’ll never forget the first time we took our son out of the house. While we were loading him up I noticed a look on a girls face walking by and it was almost as she was thinking “Ugh, I’m so glad that’s not me”. I remember immediately thinking, “You’re the one that’s missing out, not me!”
You’ll be amazed how becoming a dad envelopes you. For me, it was like a a part of me that I didn’t know was missing was complete. There’s things that were priority prior to being a dad, just don’t matter to me as much anymore. You’ll find yourself wanting to spend time as a family and being a part of you child’s life.
I don’t care if it’s dancing to the Hot Dog song (if you don’t know what that is, you will soon enough!), playing make-believe, or just having a tickle fight. You’re probably going to have more fun playing with your kids then they are. And now that my son is a little older, there’s nothing better to me than being able to play with toys with him and watching him play back. Except when he plays with my OG power ranger toys, then I cringe a little when he throws them around. But, that’s what I get for letting him have them already!
There’s honestly nothing in this list that is going to make you a better dad than you already are, or going to be. There’s going to be mistakes made, you may feel like crap for having to discipline your child, or just loosing your temper.
There is no perfect dad, but at the end of the day, no matter what you believe in, you were chosen to be the father of your child. There is no better dad for your kids than you, and just make sure that you are involved in your child’s life. Make memories, own up to mistakes and be there for them when they need you and everything you need to know will come instinctively!