5 Things is a new content series where Playground Dad contributors share 5 tips with new and expectant fathers.
You are an expecting father! It’s a crazy time full of excitement, stress, confusion and information overload. If you haven’t figured out by now, you are going to get advice from everyone the moment you mention you are going to be a dad. Your boys (that aren’t dads) are giving you doomsday scenarios. Your boys (that are dads) are giving you doomsday scenarios. Their wives or girlfriends try to give you dad advice, but it gets weird once you realize it quickly turns into a list of things she wants your dad friend to do better. This lands you online checking out the best advice you can find in between fantasy football and work. Relax, we’ve all been there. So here are “5 Things for Expectant Dads” you absolutely must know.
#1 – Your Friends Are Lying, They Freaked Out Too
As I mentioned, you are getting a load of advice. Notice something? It seems like everyone giving advice are perfect parents with perfect kids. It’s just not true. Every new parent has been in your shoes. It’s just through a combination of a lack of sleep, and a series of follies that come with being a new parent, they’ve managed to paint a much better picture of how they were. My point, thank them for their information and if you like some of the advice you are given, use it. But remember that every baby is different, and for the first week, you are going to fly by the seat of your pants, mess up, not know what to do and figure it out yourself. Every parent messes up. And when that time comes, enjoy every minute of it because no matter how stressful those moments were, every parent wishes they could have those moments back.
#2 – Diapers and Formula
In doing your preliminary “holy crap I’m going to be a dad” analysis, you quickly come to the conclusion that your guy friends are worthless. Wrong! Believe it or not, your bros can play a VERY important role for you as an expecting father: buying diapers.
I know in the grand scheme of things, it seems minimal and hillarious, but hear me out. Look, if your bros don’t have kids, they can’t relate. But what they can do is buy things (even if they claim to be broke)and this is extremely important because diapers are $20 per box! Do the math!
Involving your wingmen means they get to be a part of something special, while reducing your financial burden and stress over finances. Get them to plan a “Dad Shower” Party, at a local bar, where anyone that comes (guy or girl) has to bring diapers. Make sure you stress to them how important it is to you that they get as many people to bring diapers as possible.
Here is one very important tip: make sure that the diapers your friends buy are sizes 1 and 2, NOT infant. Your baby will grow out of infant diapers in the first month or so, then you will have all these excess diapers, and no savings. Having them bring size 1′s and 2′s is what you want because it covers you for most of the year and saves you a ton of money.
#3- One Friend’s Daycare Could Be Your Nightmare
Look, daycare sucks. There is no other way to put it. You pay an arm and leg. Your kid gets sick from other mutant kid germs and everytime you drop your baby off, it is the worst feeling in the world. I have been there and for most parents, daycare is a must have option. Therefore, it is a given that expecting parents are going to turn to friends, family and co-workers for daycare advice. So here is my advice to you when asking around about daycares: every parent thinks their daycare is the best. Look around for yourself and pay attention to details.
You might get lucky and immediately tour a five star, luxurious baby facility ran by angels from heaven for a low cost price. If you find the one daycare in the world like this, please e-mail me so I can let other dads know.
The reality is every daycare you tour will have flaws. That is why it is important you and mom visit together. Guys look for things, girls don’t look for, so tag teaming it is the best plan. The daycares will always try to get you to visit during nap time or quiet time, don’t do it. Try to unexpectedly drop in during busy hours to tour it, so you see the real daycare firsthand.
Finally, the small things are big. Look to be sure the changing table has a pad, the proper number of teachers are attending to kids, the rooms are safe, items are labeled and ask them for examples of daily plans.
#4 – Spend Wisely
If you are married or living together, it is highly likely your first instinct is to have a nursery like the movies with top of the line matching cribs, dressers, changing tables and whatever else comes out this holiday season. Look, none of that matters because in reality, very few people will actually see your nursery. What does matter is being financially secure, and in this tough economy, it is more important than any time since The Great Depression.
No matter how perfect your relationship is, it is about to experience the biggest change it will ever face: a child. No longer is your relationship, 100% about you guys, but about your amazing baby. So things will get stressful. You will disagree on decisions being made and you will fight. So don’t throw financial stress into the mix. Sit down with your woman. Talk open and honest about finances. Find the safest, most affordable nursery stuff possible. I guarantee with both of your minds, you’ll find a cute one. Then put the rest away for when you might need it.
#5 – Take Time For One Another and Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
This is the most important thing I can tell you man, so listen, because I didn’t. Take time during the pregnancy and make time after your baby comes into the world, to ensure the romance stays alive.
She just had your kid. Her body is going through things you will never understand, science can’t even fully explain and you can’t even watch if it is in cheesy movie. She needs you now more than ever. Specifically, I want to speak to you about the moments following the baby enterring the world.
Take any small moment you can get (even if it is passing each other in the hall after laying the baby down) to grab ahold of her and kiss her like you’ve never kissed her before. Make sure you ask your mom, dad or closest reliable friend to come over one time a week while the baby naps, for you and her to get away. See if your guy friends or her girlfriends can help cook a meal once or twice a week to give her a break. That stuff matters more than you will ever know and it will pay off in the long run toward your relationship.
If you’re a dad that would like to share your 5 things with new and expectant dads, become a Playground Dad contributor.
Image Credit: Alan Light