The ONLY Advice for New Dads
When we originally set out to create this Father's Day post, we thought we would be compiling a top ten list of advice from seasoned dads to new dads.
But as we asked the men in our Dads Group, our own husbands, and our own fathers, we found there really is only ONE overwhelming piece of advice that every new father should know.
Just be patient.
1. Be Patient With Your Wife. As patient, helpful, and understanding as possible, says one Willow Tree Family Center father of four. Everything that you are experiencing as a new dad is intensified for your wife. Also, just know that she will never be the same again. Because motherhood changes a woman. But eventually she will not be so raw - emotionally or physically. Eventually she will find her groove. As she is learning who she is as a mother, and as you are learning who you are as a father, be patient. Even if this is your second, third, or fourth baby, there is still a period of transition; it is a period of healing and more importantly, a period of knowing who your family is now with this new little one in it. Oh, and in the meantime, help make sure your wife at least gets to shower every day.
2. Be Patient With Your Child. Revise your expectations, says another Willow Tree Center father with three young girls. Expecting your baby to sleep through the night or your toddler to follow your directions is not only inappropriate for their stage of development, but it also just causes frustration for everyone all around. What I found was that even though I didn't realize it, my girls WERE listening and learning. Becoming frustrated with them only provoked undesirable reactions from my children because they were feeding off me. Instead of getting frustrated when we weren't on time or they didn't behave in a way I expected, I learned some coping skills to manage my frustration. It could be as simple as taking a deep breath. I learned to have patience. And as a result, I have a tighter bond with my girls, and I am able to enjoy all the time that I spend with them instead of waiting for the next moment for something to go wrong.
3. Be Patient With the Passage of Time. ENJOY IT. I know it sounds cliche, but it all goes by so fast, say many dads. Soon you won't be afraid of breaking them. Instead you'll be rough housing. Soon they won't be coming to you in the middle of the night or wanting to be held all the time. Enjoy the snuggles while you can get them. Being in this moment may seem so hard, and it often is hard. But don't allow yourself to get lost in it. Keep your eyes on the bigger picture. Whatever seems to be the challenge right now will be over soon. Remembering that this doesn't last forever really helps me keep things in perspective. It helps me to enjoy whatever stage of life we are in.
Happy Father's Day to all the dads, step-dads, grandpas, uncles, and other father-figures in our lives!