As you take a look at your wife in the delivery room, with your baby close to her heart, you come to realize that gone are the days of spontaneous travels and fun nights. The duties of a first-time dad would become real the moment you see your baby for the first time. Fatherhood is both a magnificent and daunting adventure, and that’s the beauty of it. For first-time dads, everything will not be the same anymore whether they like it or not.
So, You’re a Dad Now—Are You Ready for It?
Contrary to the perception of most people, the number of stay-at-home dads is gradually rising. According to the Pew Research Center, last 2016, 17% of stay-at-home parents are fathers, a 7% increase in 1989. Most of them claimed that their primary reason for being at home is to take care of their family.
You know that being a dad entails a lot of responsibilities, which means you will be performing daddy duties for the benefit of your child and your partner. Furthermore, your tasks start during your wife’s pregnancy until your child is old enough to gain independence. Outlined below is a daddy duties list to prepare fathers like you as you enter a new life.
1. Supporting Your Co-Parent
Although the long wait for the baby is worth it in the end, pregnancy is a hard time for mothers. Therefore, your first task as a father is showing support to your partner in any way you can. When she needs someone to vent out her frustrations about the changes going on with her life, be there for her. Respond, don’t just listen. However, you also have to be careful with everything you say. And don’t tell her to stop worrying even if you think her concerns are illogical. Instead, help her find solutions to her problems, be it her puffy feet, backache, cramps, constipation, etc.
Furthermore, make sure to start packing your hospital bag weeks before the baby is due. Include personal items such as your toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Also, pack things to keep you occupied while your wife’s in labor like magazines, books, cards, puzzles, or something you can play with. Your wife will also appreciate it if you put in a few surprises for her, like fancy slippers or robes she can wear in the hospital and snacks to eat. And yes, don’t forget your phone, camera, extra batteries, chargers, and extra clothes, in your new dad survival kit.
2. Helping Take Care of the Baby
A new dad who has never held a baby his whole life may also be afraid to carry his own. If you are scared that you will break your child as you carry them, you’re not alone. Most first-time dads feel the same. But you’re wrong. Your babies may be fragile creatures, but they won’t break. You can hold them in your arms, loose enough to make them feel comfortable and tight enough that you won’t drop them. Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it as time passes by.
But that is only the first step you need to master when taking care of your baby. As a father and a husband, helping take care of your baby is one of your duties. You can pitch in by bathing your baby or changing their diapers. When they grow older, you can read them bedtime stories, help with schoolwork, and bring them to their doctors. Accomplishing such tasks will not only allow you to lend a helping hand to your wife but will also establish a stronger bond with your kid.
3. Duties of a First-Time Dad Include Doing Household Chores
One of your daddy duties during pregnancy and after it is doing household chores. Why? In the final stages of pregnancy, a baby bump limits the body movements of the mother. Things like doing laundry, sweeping the floor, and making the bed may not be that easy for her. Being the active dad that you are, you can lighten your wife’s load by helping her do the household chores.
Weeks after childbirth will not be uncomplicated either. Now that your co-parent has to breastfeed your baby and look after them 24/7, it will be best for you to continue carrying out your tasks. Aside from those mentioned, dads may also mow the lawn, maintain the vehicles, take out the garbage, and take care of the pets.
4. Providing for the Household
While we are now in the age of breaking the belief that dads “should” be the ones who will provide for the family, a father still plays an essential role in providing for the household. By this, we don’t only mean financially. You are also responsible for giving the emotional needs of your family. Show unconditional love to your child, play with them, guide them, and understand them.
If the household consists of a working mom and a working dad, then split your expenses. This way, paying for the bills and other needs will not be a burden on both parties. Remember, you have to consider the costs for food, education, bills, shelter, and clothing as your little one continues to grow.
5. Communicating with Your Kids
Having a connection with your kids is crucial in maintaining a healthy relationship with them. Check on them every now and then and make sure that they’re fine. If you are in your office eight hours per day, spending a little time with your children will really mean a lot to them. When you do, you’ll be amazed by how their silly questions and thoughts will relieve your stress and put a smile on your face. Other than that, you also have the weekend to bond with them. So, plan a trip, do simple but fun chores, or play games with them.
6. Training Your Children
As you try to have some work done in your house, like repairing your car, your son or daughter may ask you how to do such a task successfully. Teach them while they’re still young. So, when your kids are old enough, they can apply the skills they have learned from you anytime they need it.
Train your boys and girls how to repair a bike, fix the kitchen sink, change oils and tires, catch a fish, chop firewood, grow plants, drive a car, and all other valuable skills that you know how to do. In doing so, make sure that they are old enough to carry out the activities. While you’re at it, teach them to always follow instructions so that the process will be easier on their part. In the event that they fail to accomplish a particular task, tell them that they are free to start over again until they master such things.
7. Protecting the Family
A man must protect his family from any physical danger or harm. He sees to it that his partner and children are free from any threat that may negatively impact their lives. However, protecting your family goes beyond physical security. You must also guarantee them the emotional and financial security they need.
That said, you must defend your wife from anyone who is disobedient, disrespectful, and rude to her. Although sometimes, this “anyone” can be your children. Still, you must not let them disrespect their mother the same way their mother doesn’t allow them to disrespect you. On the other hand, you must also protect your children, especially when they become teenagers, from negative forces in the community, such as drugs, alcohol, bullies, and crimes. Another aspect that you and your wife must do hand-in-hand is to protect your family from poverty. To do that, we go back to providing your family with their basic needs.
8. Implementing Discipline
Anywhere we go, there are rules we have to follow. Such rules provide the community with a stable environment, where people can co-exist with peace and order. Moreover, implementing restrictions and regulations is a way to achieve the desired results, be it in a country, city, school, or our own home.
As a father, you have to set rules and limitations for your children to follow. This way, you can discipline them more effectively since they already know the difference between right and wrong. Also, note that discipline is more than just the restrictions; it also promotes good behavior and brings direction and stability to your children’s life.
Preparations: A Father’s Guide to Parenthood
Life will always be full of surprises, no matter how much we prepare for it. As a dad, there may be challenges you will face that you have not heard about and situations you have not encountered before. Regardless, trying to discover what lies ahead of you will pay off in the end. It is better to prepare for something that may or may not happen than to not do anything at all.
We have already listed down the responsibilities you have to prepare for when you become a father. In this section, you will learn how you can prepare for the situations and challenges of fatherhood.
The world will always give you something to learn every day, and now is the right time for you to discover more. You may not be the one who carries your baby in your body for nine months, but you are still a part of your wife’s pregnancy and childbirth experience. Therefore, it will be best if you do your own research about pregnancy and childcare so that you can be more involved in the journey.
You can find books for expectant fathers, which will definitely help you handle the unexpected things of parenthood. There are also hundreds and thousands of resources online where you can gain insights. Knowing more about the struggles of pregnancy will help you understand your wife. As a result, you can support and help them more effectively. After this stage, you can apply everything you’ve learned from research, fathers themselves, and experience as you take care of your baby.
Go with Your Wife
If your wife’s prenatal appointments fall on a weekend or your day-off, make sure to go with her. It also allows you to learn more about pregnancy and sets your expectations about the journey. Moreover, this will also give you the opportunity to ask the ob-gyn about your baby’s development. Above all, you will see your baby on the ultrasound, which can be very exciting for both parents.
Remember that Health Is Wealth
A soon-to-be-dad must be healthy, both for themselves and their family. Taking care of your health is beneficial even before your baby arrives. Doing so will give you more strength for the days to come and protects your baby from potential harm they may get from you. Keeping a healthy habit will motivate your children to do the same as they get old. Thus, eat healthy food, try to stop your vices (if any), exercise, and get enough sleep.
Maintain Effective Communication
As most people say, your relationship with your wife will change in the early stages of parenthood. Regardless, you have to maintain effective communication with them so that both of you can raise your children successfully. So start talking about parenting and other important things before the baby comes. Discuss how both of you will share the baby duties, whether or not you will co-sleep, and whether or not the mother will breastfeed. Later on, just before your child becomes a toddler, you can start dealing with what religion you should teach them (if there is) and the type of disciplinary techniques for your child.
The holistic development of a child primarily lies in the hands of the parents. By that, we mean both the mother and the father. While there are no written guidelines on how to be a good father, your duties and obligations within the family remain. And you can only say that you are ready to be a parent once you are sure that you are ready to commit to the life-long responsibility you will handle as you embark on a new journey. So, are you?