How to Navigate Fatherhood As a First-Time Dad

As a new father looking for guidance you might run into a common problem. Where is all the advice for the fathers? While it is true, a mother goes through an incredible transformation, (I mean she grows a tiny human, gives birth, then faces the relentless pressures and impossible expectations placed either on herself or by society) you are also a key player. Fathers role and involvement has transformed in the past thirty years. Mothers are not the only ones providing childcare. So, for all you new fathers out there I offer you some comfort and remind you of just how great you are already doing.

  1. Your partner may have hogged all the attention in the delivery room, but do not think for a second that your presence went unnoticed.  Your quiet support was felt. Your willingness to mix endless cocktails consisting of ice, ginger ale, and cranberry juice was beyond appreciated. Your whispers of encouragement to your love as she shook from fear, excitement, and pain, provided much needed confidence. Your role as a father begins.
  2. Even if your child is breastfeeding, chances are you give the occasional bottle. The bond between father and child grows in much the same way. You provide vital nutrients to your little one. Enjoying snuggles with them in the night while they drink their warm midnight snack. Then you walk the hallway gently playing The Beachboys, “I get around” because it is the only thing that puts your little munchkin back to sleep. Your role as a father begins.
  3. When you worry about your partner home alone with the baby. When you remember how she got up with your crying infant every hour so you could try to sleep before your first day back in the office. When you look at your phone desperately willing it to beep with a text that everything is going ok. Your role as a father begins.
  4. The nights that you pick up takeout for dinner, and surprise you partner with their favorite Chinese dish… how they will appreciate you. After an exhausting day at work you offer to take the baby for bedtime because you know your partner had an equally exhausting day at home. The way you give yourself and simply ask, “what can I do?” Your role as a father begins.
  5. Your mere presence is a gift like no other. Even if you are doing nothing, saying nothing, you are there. Quality time whether in the middle of the night, or during what used to be your sacred time at the gym, is precious. Your role as a father begins.

This “role” of what a father is supposed to be fades away, and you realize there is no role. You are a father. A dedicated, supportive, well meaning father. Trust in your power and intuition (yes men have it too), and know you are an excellent dad!

By, Anna Misurelli

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