When I became a father three months ago I’d known a couple things about parenting. At the same time, I did not know a million of other things. As you can see the ratio was not very favorable. I bet it has improved a little in the last 3 months though. Enough to start bragging about how knowledgeable father I already am. Obviously not in front of moms. In such confrontation I would be knocked-out in the first round. But in front of would-be fathers or brand new dads… Why not? Even if the parenthood universe is infinite, I feel like I am some light years farther in this journey than I was on the Big Bang day.
Then it occured to me, that I know some other experienced dads, who would probably feel the same, ready to share their wisdom with greenhorns, who have just earned a privilege to call themselves fathers. And this is how the idea of Universal Rules for New Dads was conceived. I asked a few mates from various countries, such as France, Netherlands, Romania, Italy and Poland, to answer the question: what is the best piece of advice you would share with a new father? The number and variety of responses amazed me. Here is the selection of best suggestions and thoughts, in my personal opinion.
Are you curious what boys recommend to other boys?
Understand This First
- Be a father AND a partner
- Your baby’s mother is always right. Even if she’s not.
- Have screw work as your motto; come back home on time and take care of the baby while mummy watches the evening news (or her favorite series).
- Try taking care of the baby yourself for a full day, while keeping your flat clean, dinner ready on the table and do this with a smile on your face. Yeah, that’s nearly impossible, so give a break to your wife when you get back home after relaxing day at work!
- Don’t be a male chauvinist. There is absolutely nothing a mom can do that a dad can’t, so put the damn shoulder to it (you can even breastfeed).
- Being a dad = best just in time management + stress management + multitask management training you can have… and it’s free.
Now Get to Work, Buddy
- Let mummy get some sleep in the morning when the baby is already awake. Every minute you let mummy sleep longer is a gift and karma always comes back!
- Listen to all the shit she had to go through during the day, acknowledge it and get back to the real job!
- It’s worth taking some baby chores on the chin. You avoid unnecessary discussions and you gain your wife and kid’s recognition, who thinks of you as a cool daddy from the start. For example, bathing and diapering. Nobody likes it, so you get extra points from your wife or mother-in-law.
- Every night, when accompanying kids to bed, never forget to tell them how much you love them and then give them a kiss.
Then Show You Are the Father!
- Diapering time does not have to be boring! Extend this quality time with cabaret sessions e.g. singing, laughing, funny noises, different fancy lights on, etc. Newborns love it!!!
- Go on trips! Preparing everything for a night out a Hercules work, I know! The car is full of baby stuff and you are already tired before leaving! But it is worth it, for you the parents, and for the baby. After each trip, you will notice your kid will come back with new skills and acting a bit older.
- Do not wait too long before you show Star Wars to your children!
Every Morning Reflect on These Words of Wisdom
- Enjoy every moment, you will never get it back. This is your miracle.
- Your baby is not a toy, instead it is the sweetest, softest, most enjoyable, lively and crying little creature alive!
- There is only one important thing, which you can give your family and which cannot be bought or repeated – your time. Kids need you but you need them too. It’s better to realize that as they are young enough.
- With most things about your baby, you do not have to do anything. It is enough to feel it and follow your instincts.
- Don’t judge other parents and kids in public, you will be less embarrassed when it happens to you. And it will very soon.
- Work on your own happiness. Children don’t do what you say, but they do what you do. I guess all dads want their children to grow up to be happy people, so never lose out of sight that you are one of the most important people to show them how to be happy. Even for little kids, having an unhappy daddy around is much worse than having no daddy around at all.
Are You Ready For Mission Impossible?
- Change your screen habits – babies are attracted to TV/tablets/phones like flies to jam. Try avoiding screen time when a baby is around. But sometimes you can’t avoid it, and first thing to do is change image settings (soft colors, reduced size of image), and avoid fast changing/flashing programs.
If You’ve Just Thought WTF?!, Relax… And Learn This Survival Kit
- Don’t panic when you drop the baby – it just happens, but nobody confesses about it.
- Don’t feel guilty when you feed kids with pizza. You just share the best, when mom isn’t home.
- Never ever let the baby sleep with us because it’s so cute – nobody likes to wake up with a foot on his face.
- Every few days, sleep in a different room. By doing that you let at least one parent to have a good-night sleep.
- You need friends and social life more than ever. Being s dad is a passionate but part time job.
- Don’t stop going out – you won’t be able to take your baby to a pub or disco, but man, that’s what restaurants are for! Babies can endure a lot, even a noisy tiny Italian eatery. Anyway, they sleep most of the time in the beginning.
- Take care of yourself. You need to be in good shape to spend time with your baby: there is lots of carrying of the kid, shopping, pram pushing etc. Later there is teaching the toddler to walk (watch your back). Then comes teaching riding a bike, skis, rollerblades, you name it. And last but not least, you need to look good in front of teenage female friends of your kid!
If You Are Religious…
- Pray every day that the boobs come back to your possession one day.
Actually It Doesn’t Matter If You Are Religious Or Not…
- You will never look at boobs the same way again.
Universal Rules for New Dads have been shared by proud fathers: Michał, Nicolas, Andrei, Roman, Greg, Marcel, Gianluca, Stefan, Łukasz, Marcin, Rafał, Radek, Mirek, Filip and Tomasz.
*hopefully for better