Advice For Fathers-To-Be From a Father-That-Is

As we approach Father’s Day 2012, I figured it would be reasonable of me to share what I have learned in my 3.5 years of fatherhood with any soon-to-be fathers. Now, some of the, shall I say, ‘seasoned veterans of life’ might scoff at this, and for those ‘seasoned veterans’, all I have to say is…

… times have changed, Ward & June…

So, without further ado, here’s my list of crap and/or questions that you should know / consider / ignore / think about / jot down / muddle through / argue about and will subsequently forget as your son(s) and/or daughter(s) slides through or gets yanked out of your wife’s/girlfriend’s birth canal by a ‘highly-trained professional’…or perhaps extracted from her artificially-carved ‘sunroof’. At the very least, please thank me for my honesty:

1) “Natural birth is a ‘beautiful’ thing” – Fathers-To-Be… listen up. Yes, seeing your first-born for the first time is one of the most amazing things that will EVER happen to you in your entire life. No question about it. What folks hardly want to admit is the amount of ‘stuff’ that follows this baby ‘out the door’. Nothing in the world will prepare you for it, but you’ll be ready.

2) What’s it like ‘cutting the cord’? – It’s tougher than you think. This isn’t like cutting a ribbon for the grand opening of a new downtown YMCA. Nope. It kind of feels like cutting through an old rubber hose with a pair of safety scissors. However, you are MAN… and you will succeed.

3)  Will I ever sleep again? – Nope. Absolutely not. At least, you will never quite sleep the same way again until, perhaps, the kids move out… and with the economy the way it is today?! BAHAHAHAHA!!

4) Is changing diapers hard? – Not really. You will become a pro. The first few bowel movements will contain meconium (aka ‘the shit that doesn’t stink, but is IMPOSSIBLE TO WIPE OFF THE BABY’S ASS’). After that, enjoy the ride! :)

5) Will I drop the baby? – I don’t know, you tell me. I mean, it is definitely possible that you might drop the baby. The object is to try not to drop the baby. Gravity doesn’t discriminate, and tile doesn’t forgive, so just be careful, ok? :)

6) Will mommy freak out and go postal? – Sort of. Hormones go… well… f’ing insane after child birth (there are also hormonal changes for men as well). It’s sort of like taking a plane that is out of control, getting the plane back under control, and then telling the folks in coach that ‘everything is going to be ok’ as oxygen masks are dangling all over the place, babies are screaming, and your Biscoff is in itty-bitty pieces on the floor; it takes time for said folks to calm the hell down. However, read up on the subject, and if things seem more abnormal than what’s considered relatively normal from the range of normal given the scenario, then it would be a-ok to get the appropriate help. Also, if you are the type of guy that says stupid and insensitive shit, it’s probably a good time to cut that out for awhile.

7) Should I take classes that the hospital offers? Absolutely, yes. Will they help? Somewhat. They will tell you that ‘every baby is different’, and then give you the most common scenario for things, so be patient with that. Definitely take infant CPR and car seat training on top of the standard classes.

8) How will I know if my wife is in labor? Oh, you’ll know. Just make sure that you have all of your shit in order well before hand so that you aren’t searching for the car keys at the last second. Also, if the contractions are hours apart, give it time (unless, of course, your doctor tells you to get your ass in there, in which case, completely ignore what the hell I’m saying right now). If contractions start getting closer together in length and frequency, baby is on his/her way – get your ass in the car and SAFELY get to the hospital.

9) What the hell are we going to do when we get home from the hospital?!? – Figure it out, daddy-o! ;) You are dad, hear you roar!

10) Will I be a good father? – That’s all up to you. It’s a lot of work, and nobody’s perfect. The answer to that question will reveal itself over time.

If there’s anything else that I’m missing (which I’m sure that I am for the sake of keeping this post manageable), please chime in!

  1. Cretin said:

    Loved this. Great job. So many humorous and accurate anecdotes, and a nice Cleaver Family reference to boot!

    One other piece of advice related to diaper changing. Always assume little boys are armed and dangerous while removing their diapers. I think each one of mine baptized me at least once while my guard was down.

    • Chris said:

      Thanks Cretin :) … and yes, that is an EXCELLENT bit of advice regarding little boys – they tend to have great aim as well… and if they miss, well, then, we’re stuck cleaning it up. ;)

  2. Great advice to future dads. The one thing I would add is learn to cook and do so often. This tiny gesture means the world to tired moms.

    • Chris said:

      Thank you! :) My wife does, indeed, do most of the cooking. However, we do try to keep it relatively simple during the week (i.e. dinner, and the subsequent dishes, which is my job). I agree, though – it’s a lot of work to put food on the table after long days, and I appreciate her doing so :)

  3. This post is absolutely brilliant! Having been through it only 4 weeks ago I can completely agree that its all true! It’s also very funny the way youv written it and gave me a good giggle this morning whilst I was expressing and feeling like some kind of mobile dairy! Thanks again for your always entertaining posts. Keep them coming. x

    • Chris said:

      First off, congratulations! I did, in fact, read your story – what a hell of a ride, huh? I’m glad to see that you and the family are ‘fully intact’, and the real fun starts NOW! ;)

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  4. The Biscoff reference in #6 made me giggle! Great post. :)

    • Chris said:

      Thanks a bunch! Nothing flusters people more than a broken Biscoff.. ;)

  5. bringmemycoffee said:

    As a mom of 4(aka June),and a labor/delivery nurse for 20+ years,I have 2 things to add: 1) Nothing has really changed with the birth part over the last 25 years. 2) If it’s her first and your wife thinks she’s in labor,act like it’s the real deal. EVERY freakin time. You’ll probably have a few false alarms, but what’s the alternative? Tell her what? Trust me, just say “okay honey” and grab your keys before she turns on you.
    The only other piece of advice I have is this: Buy a notebook. Now. You’re going to get all kinds of advice (some good,some silly,some almost criminally insane). The best way to cope is to say “ooh,let me grab a pen and jot this down”. Aunt Bea will be flattered (include her name and the date). Later, you guys have a priceless memento for your child. After you pee yourselves readingsame book on a drunken night or two.

    • Chris said:

      Yes! Thank you for your advice on this. Yeah… I was waffling back and forth about what to say regarding #8, considering that I’m not an OB/GYN, and clearly you have experience in the field. I’d be interested in learning more about what advice OB/GYN’s across the country give for mothers today regarding the first pregnancy if it is not considered ‘high risk’ as it pertains to heading over to the hospital. Do you think that most would say that if contractions are consistently hours apart to treat them as if it’s the ‘real deal’ and get over to the hospital? I can tell you that we were told to wait until the contractions were increasingly closer together, not consistently hours apart, but I’m sure that different OB/GYN’s have different ‘rules to live by’. Of course, all of those get thrown out the window if it’s a ‘high risk’. The key here (and in hindsight, would have probably been a better point to have made instead of the slop that I wrote on the screen late last night ;) is to follow what your doctor told you to do, don’t freak out, and all will (most definitely) work out.

      The notebook? Brilliant idea! Given the amount of advice folks will give, a five-subject college-ruled will do ;)

      Thanks for stopping in!

  6. Brilliant!! Very funny and very true, coming from the mum in this family. Although I have something else to add. As most men don’t get the whole ‘what a mum does’ very well. Once bub is anywhere from 6mths on, swap roles. Mum goes to work and dad stays home, six weeks should be enough, and then you very quickly learn what goes on at home.

    • Chris said:

      Thank you! :) Yes, I’d say that ‘role swapping’ would be a pretty good idea if it’s a stay-at-home mother situation…. and I would venture a guess that you wouldn’t even need six weeks to make the point. :)

      • i had alove hate relationship with work – and soon found out my real job was safe! (and yes, would only work in a SAHM situation – although when we did it, bub was only 6weeks)

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