Fatherhood – A Journey worth taking

February 10, 2013 6:02 pm

Before becoming a proud father I was sent this simple, yet honest statement “A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for…” No other words could put the experience of fatherhood into perspective, so well.father

Welcoming a new baby into your home is exciting and not to mention a little nerve-wrecking, especially for first-time fathers. There’s so much to think about, but don’t let all that put you off. The road to becoming a father is full of ifs and buts and self doubts and most importantly excitement at the same time. But the final destination can be summed up in one simple word: amazing.

Having spoken to many fathers, the view overall is that they wouldn’t change the experience of fatherhood for anything else in the world. This after admitting, they had no expectations about fatherhood, but it was definitely a journey they were glad to have taken. It’s a great learning experience and when your parents say it’s a full-time job, they are not joking.

Your friends and acquaintances whom have already blazed that trail will be keen to share their experiences and pass on their profound piece of wisdom to you, just like the handing over of the Olympic torch.

You will, throughout your journey of becoming a dad, meet men who tell you it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them and men who talk knowledgeably about nappy changing to sleeping patterns.

You will also have the displeasure of meeting those who give you that knowing look, an expression somewhere between smug resignation and pity which could be interpreted to say: “You honestly don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for”. Take such a comment with a pinch of salt, until you have experienced it first- hand.

I was subjected to all this and you will too and anyone who is becoming a dad for the first time will. Everyone has some sort of input to contribute towards one thing or another and fatherhood is no different, that’s human nature.

This input neither makes the task of fatherhood easier nor tougher, but does give you an idea that it changes everything, instantly.

From the moment you find out that you’re going to be a dad, leading up to the first scan, you cannot help but grin like a Cheshire cat. So you should, you’re proud and excited and looking forward to having a new edition added to your life, to your existence. Your bundle of joy will be yours to love and cherish, but also someone you will have to look after and care for and nurse back to health time to time.

Also a life you will enjoy spending every spare moment with, teaching and training, all part and parcel of being a father. But I promise (speaking from experience) you will love every second of it, filling up the treasure chest of memories to cherish, along the way.

One way I looked at fatherhood was that it is an opportunity to be a part of the development process of a new life and in all honesty it is.

Daily Tasks

I was told by my dad, that when you become a father, your life will change instantly, to which I remember replying: “I wouldn’t let that happen”. How wrong was I? It’s astonishing, how true that statement was and is.

A child will become your priority, everything you do will be for the child. Everything daring you did previously, will no longer be something you will want to do again, for the simple fact you have a tender sweet life to think about.

Any decision you make, will affect not only you but your child, after all you and your world will revolve around them and only them.

Parenting is the toughest job in the world, a job that will be done in your spare time and after your regular day job. You will feed, bathe and hug them, and after having read them a bedtime story, get them to sleep at an acceptable time so you can do it all over again tomorrow.

Hand on heart, nothing really prepares you for children, emotions that runs through your entire body like an electric shock, hand in hand with the sheer  hardship you will experience when carrying out the daily mundane tasks. If only I had known then, what I know now, I would have been much smarter and stronger.Father

A small person, in many cases not much bigger than a loaf of bread at first, will take so much effort, commitment and skill from both parents, in its upbringing  and to keep the adventure flowing.

The only way you will really learn is by figuring it out as you go along, and even then it will change on you every day, so chances are, you will always be improvising, doing things that you have no idea of how to do otherwise.

Connection and Bonding

There will be times when you will crave for those close moments with your child, moments that will surely melt your heart and that’s what makes parenting worth it.

As a parent, connection is so important and essential, not only to you but to also your child. It’s valuable that you put in as much effort as you can and you will see, for yourself, what you put into the relationship will be returned in abundance by your child.

It’s this connection which is also the only reason a child will happily follow your rules. Experience has shown that kids who feel strongly connected to their parents are more than happy to cooperate.

Trust is established from this, as a child will have faith in you to know what’s best for them. If you focus on connecting and not just correcting, you will see changes for the better in your child. 

Mum and Dad

Becoming a father to your first child is a major event for most people, and it will affect your life and relationship. You will have to cope with the demands of your pregnant better half, the childbirth and parenting.  Having said that, if you can adjust to parenthood, you will find your relationship is enriched and is a great source of strength and support.

Father Figure

Most important thing about being a father is that, not only are you a dad to your child, but you will also, without knowing take on the role of a teacher. A child will need a father to show him or her how to be in the world.

They will need to be taught right from wrong, how to read a map so that they can recognise the roads and at times testing paths that will appear in life and where to find answers for life’s great demands.

As a father you will spend a much higher percentage of your time interacting with your child in their early years, stimulating playful activity than the mother will.

It’s this interaction that will have an important impact on a child’s emotional and social development, as your child will learn how to regulate their feelings and behaviour.

Fathers also tend to promote independence and an opportunity to climatise to the outside world. They often push achievement while mothers stress nurturing, both of which are important to a healthy development.

Children who grow up with involved fathers are more comfortable exploring the world around them and more likely to exhibit self-control and pro-social behaviour.

In a nutshell, fathers have a powerful and positive impact upon the development and health of a child. A father, without any doubt becomes their child’s valuable ally in the mission to live and grow in a permanent and safe environment.

Of all the titles that you will have had throughout your life, the title of ‘dad’ will always be the best.

Happy child equals Happy Relationship

Simple tips for dad to follow…

Hugs: A hug goes down a treat, so take some time out and let your child know how you feel about them, through the means of a warm hug.

Connection: Get involved with their activities, no matter how small or tedious. This will contribute towards developing a strong connection with your child, which will make life a lot easier for you and the relationship with your child a success.

Play: If your see you child playing alone, get involved, let them know they have a playing partner. Make a habit on a daily basis to create a playful environment, this can only be good for your relationship.

Make them feel Special: Take time out and talk to your child, make sure they are ok and they don’t have any issues or worries at school or otherwise. Encourage and praise them when they do something good.

Emotions: From time to time you will experience your bundle of joy going through different moods and expressing their emotions. Give them time and space, keeping an eye and making sure they are ok and to let them know your here for them.

Listen: Children are very sensitive be it at home or at school. Take some time out and listen to what they have to say, it could be that they are troubled and need someone to talk to and who would they rather talk to than they mum or dad.

Savour the moment: As a father myself, I cherish and treasure every moment I spend with my kids. You will see change of attitudes, behaviour and personalities, not to mention the smiles and the jokes. These are memories you can’t buy from any store.

Bedtime: No child wants to be sent to bed without a parent’s hug or a short story. Take this time to further build that bond with your child. Let them know your here for them when they go to sleep and will be there for them when they wake up. You will be amazed how relaxed a child can be when they have a parent tucking them in.

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  • A very honest, well written article! I enjoyed reading it and hope to read more soon!

  • S.C

    A great article with plenty of food for thought. Love the quote at the beginning … so very true!

  • sarah havelock

    A very deep and heart warming read. Very true

  • Zaki

    Good advice as father to be… Very clear and bold liking it

  • Lily

    A true description of what fatherhood is in a nutshell. Wonderful words chosen to inspire all who are new to parenthood. Nicely done!! Enjoyed reading it. 😉

  • David potts

    Very impressive article,as a soon to be father I am excited even more after reading this. Although personally I’ve never felt overawed or concerned I understand where the stigma comes from,for me it’s just as you describe,a wonderful,amazing moment that should make you so proud and it does. Maybe my moment will be once the baby is home…..I hear every father has a moment of anxiety! (How can they allow me to have this tiny child,do they know what I’m like!!!?? Haha)

  • christiana

    Great article very heartfelt and honest.

  • Sara

    Fantastic read, my husband (new dad to be) found it to be very helpful and put his mind at ease. Thank you

  • Jaz J

    Very true, good advice

  • Elina

    Beautiful and true portrait of parenting! As a new mother, I can relate to the exact same feelings described before and after having my child. It is indeed the most wonderful experience one can have in a lifetime even though it comes with great sacrifices. Great article!

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