I had a chance to sit in on CTV Morning Live in Calgary this morning and talk about how to be an engaged dad. It’s odd to call ‘engaged parenting’ a trend, but just have a look at all the dads writing about parenting and you’ll see that we’re tackling parenting as a team sport and aren’t afraid to dive right in.
Take it from someone who’s been there, rookie dad, here’s what you need to know about being an involved dad in the early stages of fatherhood:
Get a calendar, count 6 weeks from birth, circle that date. That is when you might get a sliver of your life back. Until then it is feed, poop, sleep, repeat. Knowing the light at the end of the tunnel comes sometime around 40 nights makes the early stress more tolerable.
2. Ask questions, but don’t listen to any of the answers
People are going to offer you advice and give you best practices about every single aspect of raising kids. From sleep positions to breastfeeding to vaccinations, you will be bombarded with unsolicited advice. You will have lots of questions too, and ask everyone you can about what to do. But, in the end, parenting is a gut thing. Take in all the information you can and then do what you know to be best. You will quickly find everyone has a different way of doing things and you just need to do what works for you.
I asked my wife what a new dad can do in those early days and she said “whatever we ask.” Truth. The best thing is to get handy in the kitchen. With the feed, sleep, diaper chain gang happening in the nursery, getting good in the kitchen is a great place for dads to pitch in.
4. You’re the last priority
Dudes, you are now, and forever, the least most important person in the family. Get used to the role, understand it, own it, accept it for what it is. Baby is first, mom is second, you’re third. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just how it is and the sooner you accept it the sooner you can get on to a happy family.
5. Be Prepared
I’m not one for parenting books, but understanding the science of what’s going on with your baby and wife is a good thing to have. Be Prepared is, hands down, the best book for rookie dads. It
gives a breakdown of how to react during the pregnancy and the early days. It doesn’t treat dads like meatheads, but it is written from the man’s point of view. u
6. Don’t sweat it
It will come naturally, it really will. Enjoy every second, soak up every moment. You’ll do just fine and you’ll quickly realize that newborn babies are pretty cool.
You can watch the segment here.