One of the things I quickly grew tired of hearing from other parents, especially when we were still expecting Eleanor’s arrival, was “Enjoy every minute. It goes by so fast.”
We get it. They grow up.
But here we are. It’s been 9 months since my little wonder woman was born, and I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way that I’ve passed along to friends who are expecting children.
- You got this. To any parent, no matter you who are, but especially to new fathers…you’ve got this. New dads have a lot of worries heading into parenthood. Are we going to have a connection with our children? Are they going to like us? Will we like being a father?I can assure you, with certainty, that you’re going to be great so long as you listen and love.
- Sleep. I’m actually laughing while writing this because it’s the stupidest thing I have ever written. BUT, there’s truth here. You’re at your best when you sleep. So figure out a way to get what you need so you can show up for your family day after day.
- Drink beer. Or read a book. Or go for a run. What I am saying is do whatever it is you do that makes you feel like your “old self.” Becoming a parent isn’t about losing your identity. Far from it. Your family needs you, not some reformed version of you. Of course, becoming a father has a way of making you reflect and change, but if you run every day, then keep running. If you love craft beer, enjoy one after that baby goes to bed. If you dress in lady’s lingerie and sing Whitney Houston…for the love of god, keep singing.
- Love (and listen to) your partner. If you’re in a straight marriage, and your wife or girlfriend has just taken on this new role as mother, they’re (probably) scared shitless. Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen. And love them, with flowers, or an extra hour of sleep, or kind words reminding them that they’re beautiful and valuable and worthwhile. Or a home-cooked meal. Or takeout. Or notes around the house. Or an hour to do whatever they do.
Same is true if you’re in a same-sex relationship. Becoming a parent is hard, and you know this first hand. So find ways to give your partner some love and space.
- Write it down, or take some pictures. Do something that will help you remember just how incredible these moments are because…yes, it really does go by too fast.
[Photo: Anastasia McKendrick]