So you’re about to become a dad huh? Or maybe you’re thinking of becoming one? Maybe you just became one. I’ve been through it once, and I’m about to go through it all again. Thinking back, I wonder what advice I would give myself before the birth of my first son.
Ignoring all time paradoxes, I picture myself sitting in my apartment a few years ago, possibly eating a bowl of cornick while watching 30Rock. I answer a knock on the door to find not-too-distant-future me, wearing cooler glasses and an armored hoodie. He hands me a scroll. I offer him/me some snacks. Future me obliges.
Scroll-snack swap complete, I unravel the scroll. It reads:
Relax, and compose yourself.
Ok so you’re about to have a baby. Congrats dude! Are you worried? Take a deep breath. Smile. Repeat. Maintain your composure. Stressing or worrying won’t help the slightest. Turn any fears you have into excited productivity. And crush any doubts you have with your mind-vice, because
You’re the man.
So be the man. This baby is yours. No hatching any escape plans here, don’t be a Scumbag Steve. Your child needs you. Your wife needs you. Your family needs you. Be a man, do the right thing. You can do it! Yes, with the internal voices of a Russell Peters / Rob Schneider duet. Have faith. Pray for strength and patience. Believe in yourself. Whether you’re Master Chief or a Masterchef, you’re a hero; your child’s hero. So man up and take control. Here’s a starting point –
Take a good look at the big picture. Plan what you need to prepare and do, and by when. Get a folder for all your baby documents (wife’s pregnancy/maternity card thing, receipts, appointment documents, ultrasound photos). Gotta prepare a Hospital bag? Tetris that up. Deciding what to buy for a nursery? Pimp that crib (to a budget of course). More gold/minerals required? Curb your spending at the least. You can do this. You’re a Generation Y dad. You’re preconditioned to learn quickly. When you get stuck with something, I’m certain you’ll Google it.
Things will get crazy at home.
You know, just putting it out there. And it will be over the stupidest, pettiest of things. It is inevitable, because there are so many changes taking place. Don’t play the blame game, ever. It is a pointless, infinite loop of destruction for yourself and your wife. Nobody needs that, especially for new parents / parents-to-be. And the baby! If you stumble into a black hole of blame, maximum warp the crap out of there. Seriously. Make a commitment with the Mrs to do so.
Be proud. You’ve been blessed with a child! Sure it won’t be easy, but nothing worth having comes easy, right? Throw a party. Have a beer with mates. Help out with the baby shower.
You like rollercoasters? Of course you do. As cliched as it is, get ready for the ride of your life! It will scare the crap out of you. Make you pee in your pants a little. Make you throw up in your mouth a little. But it’s exhilarating and you’re a sucker for the thrill. Remember, every now and then you’ll need to take a break. You can grab a dagwood dog and a slushie before you get back on again. Enjoy!
Not-too-distant-future me takes back the scroll to file for later because I might lose it, as well as the bowl of snacks to go. I don’t mind. There’s always more in the pantry.
Back to the future. With less than a week to go until the birth of my second son, I still believe that there is no amount of advice that will 100% completely prepare you for becoming a dad. Even if it’s from a future version of yourself. You can’t IDKFA out of this one. There is always a constant learning, adjusting, re-adjusting, conquering, failing, and picking yourself and your family back up again. What will determine your success is your commitment to being the best dad you can be, which is all that you can do, really. Good luck!