For many becoming a dad is an awesome experience. For many others it is scary, unnerving and even intimidating. You need to prepare well if you want to be a great dad – and it surely takes a lot of work. There are many factors that would change your life when the baby comes. Knowing these factors and working out how to cope with these would make the transition much easier for you:
Prepare yourself for the mum-to-be
First of all you should know how to take care of your partner or wife during pregnancy. Women experience a lot of changes in their body due to an onslaught of hormones when they are pregnant. This affects their emotions, their taste, their sleeping pattern – almost everything. Some women also experience terrible nausea in the first three months which makes it extremely difficult for them to do their day-to-day chores at home. Some have the morning sickness throughout the day, throughout the pregnancy; while some –lucky ones – have no problem.
You need to be extremely supportive during this time. Take care that she is happy, she eats nutritious food and she has adequate rest. In case your work is very demanding, make sure you have someone take care of your spouse at home – for example her mother or a sister, or if your purse permits a 12 hour companion cum maid who would ensure that the house chores are taken care of and your spouse or partner is not left wanting for anything during these trying times.
Prepare yourself for the birth of the baby
A few decades ago, fathers were supposed to know nothing about the babies they sire, other than what it cost to have them fed and clothed (and educated). Today, fatherhood means much more involvement. You need to be there not only in figurative sense but also in person. Changing nappies, holding the baby, putting the baby to sleep, feeding the baby – these are no longer the prerogative of the mother alone. Fathers are more and more participating in the initial care of the infant and this bonds the family together in a very special way.
There are classes for this purpose and you could very well go and learn all the nitty-gritty of taking care of the baby so you could help your wife or partner when the time comes for it. It is not as difficult as you would think – and when you get to do it, the emotional rewards are mind blowing.
Once the baby is there
You would need to make time for your family. Family always should have a special place on your agenda. Children love their father and a good majority would give anything to spend some quality time with them. Be sure you are there if not daily on the weekend. Make a time which is earmarked family time and during that time keep everything else off. Let your children know you prize their company and you love to be with them.
Start from day one
Do not wait for your son or daughter to grow up so you could relate with them. No – this is the biggest mistake most fathers do; and this is why most children feel left out. Start spending time and getting involved with your baby from day one. When they are infants, sing to them, hold them, feed them; when they are toddlers have fun with them, read for them, take them out. As they grow, your change the way you relate to them – but the bonding would be there and it would come to you without any effort.
Deal with your emotions
Beware that men feel neglected and left out immediately after the birth of a child – and sometime forever after. The advice for new fathers here is that they take it easy. You see, women are indeed nurturers and when they have a baby their mother instinct will overcome all other feeling – including the romantic and sexy feelings she had for you. This does not mean she does not love you anymore. It means that she needs time to internalize her new role. Men should understand and take a willing second position during this time. Complement and care for her without any sexual allusions and romantic feelings will come back in their own time. Do not sulk, do not blackmail emotionally, do not demand attention. Besides the fact that the new baby is really emotionally overwhelming, the new mother would be physically exhausted too – since most of the babies need round the clock attention during the first six months or so.
Being a dad is heavy responsibility
You are not only the provider and protector of your family. You are also the person who should insure their future. A good dad, besides being there for his children, also ensure that they have a stable family life and the capacity of realizing their dreams – whether it is a vocation or higher education.
Hug your children often
This is one of the most vital tips for being a good dad. Giving a hug, showing love and appreciation is one of the greatest gifts that you could give your children. Be sure you are not shy from showing your affection for them.
Love and respect their mother
There is a saying, ‘The best thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother’. The cohesion and respect between the father and mother of the children, gives them a high self-esteem and mental stability. Ensure that you treat their mother with love and respect at all times.
Take care of your health
Be there for your children for a long time. How? By taking care of your health. Not only you would live a longer and more fruitful life, you would also teach your children good habits.
Guide them to trust their instincts
A good father would be able to help his children realize their dreams without imposing any of theirs. It is very often that fathers (and mothers, too) want their children fulfill their (the parents) dreams instead of allowing them to find, pursue and fulfill their own dreams (their children’s). Do not stop your children to live their lives as they want to. Be there for them and guide them at every step. That is what great fathers are there for.