Fatherhood is a powerful thing. There is nothing quite like knowing that there is a tiny human being who is counting on you for his or her safety, security, example, and love. We spoke to a few seasoned dads about what they wish they had known about fatherhood before becoming fathers, and what they wished their wives knew about the awesome (and sometimes daunting!) reality of being a new dad! We hope that hearing from fathers just like you will give you even more confidence in your own fatherhood. You are not alone, Dad, and you’ve GOT THIS!
Q: What did you wish you knew about fatherhood before becoming a dad?
How much fun it would be… and how hard. If that makes any sense. – Dad from WV
How all-encompassing it is. [It] challenges you to be the father to them you want to be AND the man you want to be. And how much they see and imitate – especially the bad! [Its] Always in the back of my mind to “Be the dad that my dad/grandfather wasn’t”. – Dad from DE
That you really do feel a huge responsibility you didn’t feel before. And then you feel completely inadequate, but you don’t want anyone to know. So you put on this brave face and hope you aren’t messing it up! And then one day you realize, hey! I think I got this! – Dad from NJ
That hearing from other dads that I’m doing an OK job would mean as much as it does to me. – Dad from VA
That it would make me wish I had a better relationship with my own father. – Anonymous Dad
That dads don’t “babysit.” That we don’t ‘pitch in to help.’ We FATHER. I wish another guy had told me that changing diapers, holding a fussy baby, making dinner, throwing in a load of laundry, whatever, isn’t “extra.” It’s my JOB. I’m DAD. And I’m grateful for the times I complained to my guy friends and they slapped me on the back and said, that’s hard, man, now suck it up and deal and go love your family. – Dad from TX
Q: What did you wish your wife understood about new fatherhood after your first child was born?
How hard it is for us too. To work 12 hour days with no sleep and how much we really love them and the child even if we don’t show it well. We get tired too! – Dad from WV
How our marriage would still need to take priority even though there seems like no time for that anymore… – Dad from DE
That I was scared too! – Dad from NJ
That sometimes it is hard for us to understand the intense bond moms have with babies, but we have our own special bonds with our kids and its important for us to develop them. We need to figure out our own “style” – how we are going to be ‘dad’ and we’re sort of awkward about it but we don’t want them to notice our awkwardness! – Anonymous Dad
That we think motherhood makes her beautiful even in those moments when she really doesn’t feel like it. – Dad from VA
That a crying baby makes us feel so freaking helpless, and we don’t like feeling helpless! But if we can make the baby stop crying…that’s like, ‘oh yeah! I OWN this dad thing!’ And that’s an awesome feeling. – Dad from TX
You are not alone. Being a dad is challenging and rewarding. It will help you to grow as you help your little one to grow. And you’ve GOT THIS! We want to thank all dads, stepdads, granddads, and uncles!
By Laura Ricketts