So my first son was born just last week (october 29) and even though it was a crazy experience with my wife (emergency c section and some complications), we are so happy with our little guy. One thing i never thought would happen would be that i would know how to be a father. I always hoped and prayed that i would learn eventually but the craziest thing is that the moment that little boy was born, i was in total dad mode. I've never rocked a baby to sleep, stayed up all night watching a baby or changed so many diapers so easily as i have recently. it seems like fatherhood, to me at least, was an instinct that kicked in when my son was born. Has anyone else experienced this before? or is this some strange phenomenon i'm experiencing?
also, is there any one piece of advice all you experienced fathers would pass down?
There is a solid line in my life that marks the point before which and after which I became a father.
Advice? 2 items:
1. Make your marriage a priority. A solid marriage provides the bedrock for successful parenthood.
2. Be present and involved in the parental unit with your wife: decisions, parent/teacher conferences, sick calls, homework, meals, medical appointments, discipline, everything.
GREAT advice!! that was one thing me and my wife established before we had our son: our relationship is first.
Happened to me. When I found out we were pregnant, the very first thought in my head was "that poor kid" because I was still in college, partied regularly and was very much a kid myself.
But when I saw my daughter, something clicked. I was suddenly flooded with the need to protect and provide for her. She, more than anyone else, helped me grow from a boy to a man and it was almost instant.
+1 to James advice. Be a hubby first, a parent second. It seems to go against the norm these days, but it works.
I have heard, but can't remember where, that the parent's brain chemistry actually changes when a child is born. Don't know if it is true, but I definitely started thinking different when my son was born. As Claude & James both said, marriage first & children second. Do everything you can with your son. Any moment you miss can never be regained.
As a soon to be father, I am actually counting on this! I have a few bad habits I've struggled unsuccessfully to rid myself of, and know that the time around the birth of one's first child is one of the easiest times to change habits. It's part of the reason I'm also delivering my boy, so that I'm the first to look into his lil eyes and feel my brain chem change.
Also, I want to say some real poetic shit as the first thing he hears, and all I can come up with is shouting "One small step for baby, one giant leap for babykind!"
Please, sling us some more dad advice.
I don't know about instinct. There are expectations, wherever they come from, but they need to be checked against reality. (Expectation: that swaying motions are soothing. Yes, they are. That baby would rather have arms and legs free than be bundled up. True for some, often not.)
The strongest piece of advice, that I knew before fatherhood: the biggest barrier to being a good parent is your own emotions and issues. When you're upset, it's about you -- deal with it offline. When you've had it, it's about you. Baby's not responsible for anything. And these things will arise. Denying it makes it more powerful. (Case in point: parents I knew who let their 3-m-old cry to teach her who was boss, because they knew she was manipulating them by crying. She couldn't manipulate her way into rolling over at that age. Better they deal with their power issues in an adult context, and give give give to the one that's helpless.)
On the nitty-gritty side: when he sleeps, you sleep!
Close the door to the stairs. To the bathroom, when you're not in it. (So he won't climb into the toilet.) Remove breakables, and it's amazing what they can break.
Play time is a gift!
When my daughter was born i instantly wanted to be a better person, she was not my first child but my only daughter.
Like James mentioned prioritize your marriage, you are the example your children will learn from. You can either be the person they want to be like, or the person they do not want to be like.
Be the man you want him to be.
As for having a new born in the house do you best to fight the instinct of keeping the house quiet. We have not done this before and any noise wakes them up, other children we kept everything at normal living volume and they get use to it. This makes the house easier for everyone to live in.
Congratulations and God Bless.