Hello all! I apologize if this thread has already been discussed, but I was curious to find out if any new dads out there felt they were lacking some key knowledge before becoming a dad. My son is 2 weeks old today and I certainly never would have imagined how active (read: squirmy) he would be while changing his diaper. My fiancé and I did figure out a strategy of feeding hi first so he's a little more relaxed. I look forward to the discussion!
No matter what you're doing to/for your kid, not matter how you're doing it, every woman on Earth other than your wife and your mom thinks you're doing it wrong and you need help.
Man...there's so much I could tell you on this topic. I'm a Dad as of three years ago, and #2 could come any day now. I'm a stay-at-home dad, and overall, I love it! I'll limit myself to the top things I wish someone had told me before my little girl was born.
First, don't put too much stock in the advice people give you or the predictions they make, no matter who they are or how pure their intentions. I was, and still am, given tons of tips and advice, as well as diar predictions, most of which never happened. In the end, most of it turns out to be pure crap, or at best, not aplicable to you and your kid. There's a song out there from some years ago called Sunscreen. Look up the lyrics and see what the guy says about advice others give you. It definitely applied to me. What matters is that you're one of the parents, and nobody knows your kid as well as you do, and only you and your wife will know what to do, or not, as the case may be. Go with your gut!
Second, sleep whenever you can. Having kids will test your patience and emotional endurance like you have never been tested before. I'm not proud of this, but I often got so sleep-deprived, and so frustrated when she'd just cry and cry and I didn't know what was wrong or what to do, that a handful of things got broken. A bedroom door had to be replaced. I'm glad to say it has been a long time since I felt that out of control. My point is that sleep will help you deal with the day-to-day frustrations much more easily than if you don't get the sleep you need.
My last big one is to understand that no matter what happens, when your baby cries and screams and won't go to sleep or whatever, it is not personal. They're not capable of mallace of any kind, and they aaren't trying to piss you off. They're communicating the only way they know how, and your job is to figure out what they want and need and provide it for them. Cling to that certainty when you feel your nerves are about to snap.
Beyond that, give them far more love then you think they can handle. Play with them when they ask. No household chore or personal project is more important than giving your child the one thing they most want from you - your time. That is, in part, why I've not been as active on this forum as I was before my little girl was born, and why my personal cookbook isn't even close to done yet, why there are often dishes in the sink when everyone else is in bed, why it usually takes a day or two for the laundry to get folded and put away...you get the idea. Validate their feelings, and never give them reason to doubt your love for them. Happy parenting.
Thank you so much J.D. I can definitely relate to a few of your tips there.
With three grown kids I'm incredibly proud of - here's one thing I know.
Until they get about 3.5 feet high you can pretty much do well by intuition and common sense. After that look for and be open to advice and ideas. Pay attention to other parents and don't be hesitant to ask questions,
Find other good men, do fathering with other guys around you and you around them.