First time dads have a lot to learn before they can actually become dads. This is not something that can be taught. This is not a rocket science though some believe it’s tougher! But here are a few important things you need to know before you become a dad.
- Sharing responsibility:It is generally felt that being a parent is a woman’s job and men don’t have any responsibility in it. Parenting is about sharing responsibility. Both mom and dad have to share housework as well as caring for the child. This is good for the child also as it sees both the parents are an important aspect of its life. This also furthers the essence of the relationship between partners.
Chores are unavoidable and can get done faster if split between the partners. It is good to make a list and chalk out who will do what. Clarity in segregation of housework makes thing efficient. Listing down activities relating to child care that each partner needs to do helps in the long run. In the initial days after the baby arrives, it may be a situation where the woman attends to the baby all the time. Once she gets the hang of it, it’s good for men to learn and pitch in. Also, if the man is working full days at office, it is better to list out the easier chores and childcare activities for him to do at the end of the day. Men should also be party to all decisions concerning the child.
- Travel: Before the baby, travel on work was a different scene. It was only the woman at home, who in all cases can take care of herself. But now, with the baby also at home, it’s a lot of responsibility. Men can’t just travel as they want. They have to keep in mind that if they travel, it becomes the woman attending to the baby all the time. It is better to consciously cut down on travelling so that you are around helping take care of the baby too.
It is also quite difficult travelling with a baby. But the best time to travel is either before the baby comes or when it is still not mobile. It can be easier travelling when the baby is in the car seat while it spends most of its time sleeping. But the reality is that travelling changes once the baby arrives.
- Expecting the unexpected:This is the phrase which aptly explains a new baby at home. You can never predict what will happen. Babies sometimes keep awake and be irritable the whole night. Some babies could suddenly develop health issues while others may cry for no reason. Some days could pass peacefully too. It is difficult to anticipate what the day will bring in its wake.
- Prepare for diapering: A small baby is usually on diapers, which need to be changed regularly for hygiene reasons. Sometimes, even in the middle of the night, babies could wake up for a diaper change. Men should be ready to handle this activity whatever time of the day or night. This is all the more important because the woman spends most of her time breast feeding the baby. This could get exhausting for her. So it is good for the man to pitch in. Whatever activities can be shared, need to be shared. This elevates the mood of both partners, the man because he feels involved in the baby’s life and the woman because she gets a break from chores.
- Hit in the crotch: Dads often get hit in the crotch when they are handling babies or playing with kids. Children don’t realise when they are involved with physical activities with dads and often the dads get hit in the most painful places. This is reality and men need to accept it as part of their role as dads.
- Babysitting your child: Even the most efficient of women need a break from the child. Men have to be around to give them time to relax and do their personal activities. It could be going for a walk or to the parlour. It could be just sitting and listening to music. But women do need to have some personal ‘me’ time. So it is good for men to be mentally ready to babysit the child when needed.
Sometimes both partners need a break from the child. So it is good to accept if someone offers to babysit your child while you have a nice and quiet dinner somewhere. This also makes the relationship strong between partners.
- Make time for other relationships: Having a baby at home is quite a load. But this does not mean you don’t do your normal activities and meet other people. You need to realise that you are not just a dad, you have various other relationships in life. It is good for men to ensure that they take time out for extended family and friends. This will be a good diversion from the baby and at the same time keep them emotionally fulfilled and content.
- Be mature: Men sometimes find it difficult to cope with the idea of becoming dads. It is important to understand that this is not an activity where there is a choice. Men have to cater to the needs of the new baby. They have to grow up and act mature. It is good to accept that they cannot treat the baby as their competition. Woman cannot handle it if the man also acts childish. It is time for the new dad to buck up and show responsibility so that the woman can have confidence that he can manage the baby.
Though parenting books are available in abundance but there is nothing which will prepare you for the experience. There are a lot of surprises in store. Parents go through their own journey.