If there’s one word most kids deem synonymous with fathers, that will be heroes. It’s evident in the pictures they draw and the message they write on their father’s day cards. While becoming a first-time dad may seem easy enough, there are some things people don’t tell you about fatherhood. It’s a life-long process where you’ll learn a lot from experience and challenges. There will be laughter; there will be tears. And some things just happen when you least expect it. To prepare you for the surprises fatherhood will bring, here are some truths people don’t tell you about fatherhood.
8 Truths about Fatherhood No One Told You
The first six months of parenthood is one of the most challenging times for mothers. If you are a first-time dad, your experience will be a combination of stress, fatigue, isolation, and sleep deprivation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research, approximately 1 out of 8 women show postpartum depression symptoms. Such symptoms include having anger issues, a feeling of disconnection from the baby, withdrawing from loved ones, and frequent crying. Along with their personal struggles is the need for them to handle their responsibilities to their child/children. They have to breastfeed their little ones, try to put them to sleep, and hush their cries.
1. There Will Be a Lot on Your Plate
These biological changes and challenges that mothers encounter mean that your partner will need you now more than ever. Therefore, you have to carry out more tasks than usual to alleviate your wife’s struggle. A dad can be extra busy during pregnancy and months after childbirth.
Lend a helping hand and be supportive. As she takes care of the baby, know that you have to take care of them both and all other things she could not handle anymore. Does this mean you will have to do household chores? Yes. If you are on paternity leave (which we highly advise), clean your home, cook, do the dishes, run errands, and do whatever you need to for your family.
2. Establishing a Bond with Your Baby May Not Be That Instant
As previously mentioned, mothers are usually the ones who spend more time taking care of their babies during the first few months. Aside from that, a woman bears her child for nine months. Considering all of these, the formation of the maternal bond usually happens before the paternal bond. Studies even show that the bond between the mother and her child starts during pregnancy when the developing fetus becomes aware of their mother’s voice and heartbeat.
However, that does not mean that the maternal bond is stronger than the paternal bond. The former just comes first than the latter. Moreover, becoming a first-time dad may make you a little less overwhelmed about having a baby, and you won’t immediately feel the love and connection as you hold your daughter or son in your arms. It’s a secret some fathers are afraid to say, and it may be something you have to deal with. But that’s okay. The bond will eventually develop and grow stronger as time passes by. Experts suggest that fathers must take part in feeding, changing diapers, bathing, cuddling, and dressing their babies to connect and bond with their newborn baby.
3. Thank Heavens It’s Silent!
In fatherhood, silence is a blessing. And we don’t only mean the first few months of it. It could last for 17 years or more. Say you have a newborn. You will hear their cries and screams in the middle of the night. As they take a step forward in childhood development and become a toddler, you have to deal with their tantrums. The next thing you know, you’ll hear the whining of your five-year-old and the door-slamming of your teenager as they storm out of the living room and enter their room. There may be more! They’ll talk back to you, have arguments with their siblings, blast loud music, mutter something under their breath; the list can be endless. As long as they are under your roof, you’ll hear them—the deafening noise and the subtle complaints.
4. When You’re a First-Time Dad, You Listen and Learn
Being a first-time father, it is okay that you don’t know everything about parenting. Acknowledge it. As long as you are willing to listen, you’ll gradually learn the ways of fatherhood from people who are close to you. Your wife, parents, friends, or parents-in-law will give you some tips based on what they know as well as their experiences. So make sure that you are open to their suggestions. With willingness and constant practice, taking care of your child will not be that daunting for you.
If you think that there’s still more to learn than what you already know, try reading. Aside from books, the Internet has plenty of resources you can absorb valuable lessons from. This includes blogs, journals that document personal experiences, and articles written by experts. Such online materials will help you realize what it takes to be a dad.
5. Everything Will Change
If you thought nothing much would change even after having a family of your own, you’re wrong. Having a baby changes your life. You now have to say goodbye to the life you once knew. But that doesn’t mean you’ll lose every ounce of your freedom. It’s just that there are already limits to the spontaneity and independence you had experienced before you had a child. Now, you have to consider your wife and your children in every decision you make and every action you take. Moreover, time management will also be a skill you have to master to achieve that work-life balance later on.
Apart from the change in your routine, be aware that there is also a possibility that your relationship with your wife will change. At present, she’s not just your wife; she’s also the mother of your child.
And you know who should be the priority. Regardless, both of you can still find ways to spend time with each other as parenting becomes smooth for both parties.
6. Saying “Yes”? Be Careful
When a father and his son or daughter talk with each other, it is normal for a child to ask for something. Children want a lot of things other than your undivided love and attention. Therefore, if you’ll say yes to them, always make sure that you will grant whatever it is you’re saying yes to. But if you think that you can’t give them what they want, it is perfectly fine to say no than to promise them without actually committing to it.
Why is it important to think before saying yes to your child? For one, it enables you to show your children how to be true to one’s word. As a result, they will develop their integrity, respect, and trust in other people. Keeping your word also makes them feel important, and when you fail to do so, they might feel neglected. With that, the time you make a promise, don’t break it.
7. No! Don’t Fall into the Toy Aisle Trap
As you go to a grocery store with your little one, there was no agreement about buying them a toy. You came there to buy the grocery items your wife listed down for you: eggs, milk, bread, meat, fruits, and vegetables. You’re also confident that you’re safe from the toy aisles because you are in the supermarket. Surprise! Some supermarkets have toy aisles now. And if you take that wrong turn, you’re trapped in there until you buy (or promise to buy) a toy for your kid.
8. You Don’t Have to Be a Dictator
“My house, my rules.”
Implementing rules in your home is imperative to maintain order and for your kids to tell the difference between right and wrong. Along with such regulations are consequences if one of your children breaks it. Nevertheless, you have to see to it that these rules aren’t too tight and the consequences aren’t too harsh. You want your children to respect you, not fear you. You may be a figure of discipline, but you don’t have to restrict and forbid your children consistently. This way, your children will remember you as their daddy who they look up to, not the one who they look away from.
We’re sorry, though. These eight things are all we know.
The Values of a Great Dad
Absent dads are one of the issues families have to deal with, which has a significant impact on the well-being of the children. Research shows children of fatherless homes are more likely to drop out of school, face abuse, or have behavioral problems. But you’re here, reading a post about fatherhood. And we know you would not want all of these to happen to your sons and daughters.
Nevertheless, being there is not enough. You have to actually involve yourself in parenting so you can raise your children with the qualities you want them to possess. As such, here are the values a great dad embodies.
You are your children’s role model. Therefore, you have to show them how to respect their mother and all the people surrounding them. In doing so, you are teaching them how to treat other people right, whether or not they are a part of the family.
As you put yourself in the shoes of other people, you’ll understand the reason behind their reaction to some situations. As a father, being empathetic towards your family makes them realize that you value their emotions and listen to their thoughts. Embodying such value will encourage your kids to open up to you so that they won’t keep their problems to themselves in the long run.
Most of us have always believed in the saying that actions speak louder than words. Although this remains true in most cases, it is always best to communicate with your family members since you live under the same roof. When you want to implement rules in your home, make sure to tell your wife and kids about it. By doing so, you can discuss such rules and adjust accordingly. Most importantly, don’t just show your children you love them. Say it. This action is one of the ways to keep a parent-child relationship healthy. Moreover, expressing your emotions will give your children the notion that it’s okay to talk about their feelings.
Life was never in the palm of our hands. That is why we face unwanted situations and setbacks in parenthood and life in general. During these times, it is crucial to build and display resiliency. Let your children see how to manage difficult situations so they can bounce back regardless of the circumstances.
Imposing discipline does not equate with being too strict to the point that your children will be afraid of you. Sure, you can show your disapproval of your children’s wrongdoing and give them consequences. However, you must also show them that you can be fun. Fathers can be playful too! Go outdoors and play a fun sport. You can also take them to their favorite playground and push them on swings. Too sunny outside? Then play indoors. You can play card games and board games with the whole family or do crafts with your little ones. As your children grow older and reach adolescence, being interested in the things they like will also help you bond with them.
Being honest with your kids encourages them to be honest with you. So, don’t lie. It is essential to teach your children the value of honesty so that you can guide and help them accordingly. When they tell nothing but the truth, you can communicate with them more effectively. And in the long run, they will be real not just to others but also towards themselves.
You may enter into fatherhood as clueless as your baby entering the world. It’s a new life you have to venture into. Thus, don’t feel so bad about yourself because you feel like you’re not an expert at anything yet, childcare, for example. Also, people may not tell you some things about fatherhood, so you have to discover it yourself. Don’t worry! The more challenges you encounter, the more you’ll learn. So hang in there, dad! You are ready to be a parent, or you soon will be.