How to prepare yourself for fatherhood.
In life, you will hear many things from many people, but I am here to tell you that it’s okay. The road leading to fatherhood is much different from the actual street. It’s like ordering a strawberry cheesecake and they give you blueberry cheesecake instead. Both are amazing, but you didn’t expect the change once you got home. You enjoyed the mix up although it wasn’t what you thought. We all will prepare differently for fatherhood but I gathered a few tips of my own.
Do I know what I’m doing?
Yes, you do. Trust that and keep it with you forever. The power of the tongue is real. Speak what you want to happen. Think of how you want to parent. This question will occur every day. Do I know what I’m doing? Always answer yes even when you don’t know. Because imperfection is life. If you have a “yes I can” mentality with your thoughts, your child will see it.
Be more empathetic.
As men, we tend to not show feelings or give a sh — about certain things. We are wired differently. As time has shown us, we must stop. While in the process leading to your new life, learn to be more open. Start putting yourself in the mom’s shoes or even the child’s when they arrive. If your spouse, girlfriend, or baby mama says, “I am just not feeling it today.” Listen to her. She is the very reason you are going to step into the latest chapter. So yes, rub her feet. Listen to her vent. Feel her. Actually think of her from her shoes instead of thinking she is being a bitch. She does have a child growing inside of her. That is an emotional strain. She needs a friend who will listen. Apply that generous ear to your child as well.
Like empathy, communication is crucial. Be active with speaking and being heard as opposed to just talking. Be fluent, blunt, and respectful. We all want the truth. True communication is stacked with empathy. In order to talk to someone about a problem, you must understand them. Talk to your partner. Whenever the baby is born, talk their heads off. You think they don’t know. A child is a sponge that absorbs everything. They are pure. Also, just because I am telling you to talk, does not mean that is all you do. Your mouth isn’t too far from your ears. Listen.
This will be a team effort. The co-parenting relationship will be until the end of time. Whether you stay together or grow apart. Learn that you must share. Time, thoughts, tips, and lastly the child. Children need love. They need laughter, hugs, snuggles, and kisses. You will have your time but when they are present, share your time with them. The late nights where both are too tired, you should get up. A mother’s work is never done. Be a father that is exceptional not only to your child but its mother (or parent) as well.
Ask for help. Do some research. It is okay to be prepared. Well, sort of. Reading about it is totally different from staying up all night with your new whiny baby. In school, when you were curious, you asked questions. Some were answered and some were explained but not good enough. Welcome to parenthood! You will be confused, happy, and frustrated at the same time. No matter what happens throughout those feelings, continue to learn. From your mistakes, actions, words, and others. There are numerous sites online about parenting. I thought it was crazy to spend all my time reading all of it. I thought I could learn hands-on. Well, I kicked my own ass there. Sometimes, you want to know more. Trust me. It will be a new challenge every day so please please please learn.
This is self-explanatory! I can’t write about this because every man will come to the “Aha!” moment. The moment when it clicks, I’m a father. This may happen when you get the text (or call). I was leaving work when I found I had a baby on the way. That day, I was faced with a tough decision. Either work a twelve-hour swing shift or I was let go. I did not want to spend twelve hours of my day there. Once I heard she was pregnant, I turned back around and told them I would work the swing shift. All I know is when that moment hits you, you will know what is and what isn’t important. Remember someone is watching you and loving you. Henceforth, sacrifice.
What kind of father will I be?
This is how I wanted the last point to end. Ask yourself this every day. My daughter is nine months old and I still ask myself this. A trying man will do everything in his power to become better. When I think of the question I often think of my upbringing. What did and what didn’t my father do? And sometimes I think of my mother as well. I want to be a father that is at almost every appointment, game, recital, or anything that concerns her. I want her to open up to me. I want her to be a child for as long as possible. I want her to feel freedom. Lastly, I want her to know, I am always here. So, what kind of father will you be?
If you haven’t noticed, there is a recurring theme in my words. Communication is key. Understand I am not perfect but we must communicate for our children’s sake. Moms are superheroes! I think that a lot. Then I remember, dads can be special too. Be the man that you wish you had (or did have) growing up. Show your child and yourself I am not perfect but I will be the best for you. So many kids will not have a father that cares at all. Please, prepare so you can grow and become better. Open your eyes, your heart, and your mind. You will do great. Welcome to fatherhood!