Big up new dads.
Their lives become unrecognizable overnight (without the aid of maternal bonding hormones), and yet they are often expected to resume business as usual after two short weeks.
“Father” and “Mother Supporter” are two full time positions added to their CV, with no annual leave or decent redundancy packages in sight.
I know its tough dads, I realllllly do. And you are probably working your rears off.
…But if you are ever made to feel that your best is not enough, or that your partner (baby mama) is certifiably crackers, please consider the following options before fully freaking out:
#1. Be a YES man, when required.
In normal circumstances, no one likes a YES man. Thankfully these are not normal circumstances.
Let me put it into dad terms for you: If Mo Farah were running a 5000m race in your neighborhood and demanded a cup of water, would you get it for him?
If George Foreman were boxing in your living room and slumped down on the floor, would you run and fetch a cloth for his forehead? Yes, yes you would!
Therefore if your partner is breastfeeding, for example, consider a cluster feed to be the Olympic final. Bring her fluids; pass her anything she asks for. Don’t question it or (worse yet!) suggest that she should have done it herself before whipping her boob out.
In the heat of the game, be a team player. Say yes.
#2. Pick your moments.
Understand that when the baby is crying, that is all a mother can hear. This is a bona fide physiological thing- her brain is generating a fear response resulting in increased heart rate, blood pressure and feelings of panic.
In layman’s terms, unless you will be satisfied with responses such as “not sure” or “NOT NOW!”, consider saving non-vital requests for a quieter moment.
#3. Don’t be Bob the Builder.
If you have yet to see the program or fill your house with random plastic Bob the Builder paraphernalia, you might not be familiar with his catch phrase: “Can we fix it? YES WE CAN!”. Please dads, understand that things don’t always need FIXING.
This is a classic “My wife is insane” moment: she has a problem, you offer to fix it, and then she is mad at you. WTF.
Sometimes when a woman is agonizing over something, she is actually just airing it out; talking is making her feel better! Offering a quick solution and considering the issue to be dealt with may actually make things worse.
Don’t be Bob the Builder. Be Mr. Potato head (big ears, small mouth).
#4. Let her cry.
Crying is a healthy outlet. Sometimes the mummy-hormones are so enormous that they quite simply have to spill out somewhere.
Let her cry for as long as she needs to, even if she is rubbing streams of snot on your t-shirt and gasping for air like a spoiled little toddler in Toys-R-Us.
And then… (wait for it!)… let her SLEEP. Watch the magic unfold once she’s finished.
#5. Know that everything is a phase.
Hands down the best bit of advice I received as a new parent: Periods of insanity, whether relating to the baby, your partner, or yourself, are simply a phase.
When you’re elbow deep in meconium and surviving on yesterday’s cold coffee this one is quite difficult to remember. So difficult in fact that I think the words “IT’S JUST A PHASE!” should pop up at the start and end of every CBeebies ad break as part of a national mental health initiative.
What I am trying to say is that often the most difficult of phases are also the ones that resolve themselves. You can buzz around like a blue-assed fly trying to better the situation, and then *POOF!*, not down to any of your efforts the situation outgrows itself. On to the next phase.
#6. Paws off, Papa.
I know, the new boobs are fantastic. Admire them from afar, will you?
If you’ve ever suffered an ingrown toenail or terrible sunburn you will know that feeling of pressure, heat and swollen sensitivity. Now multiply that by ten and add fourteen, and that is how painful those bosoms can be in the early days.
Now add on zero sleep, exercise, or time for personal hygiene, subtract two for her lady bits (which have recently been turned inside out) and what you are left with is a shell of a woman with leaking nipples and a very low amount of Va-Va-Voom.
Be patient, you will have your rumpy pumpy soon enough. As above, everything is a phase.
At the end of it all, as foreign and frustrating as your new lives together may seem, never forget that what got you here in the first place is your mammoth love. She loves you, even when she is sandwiching your name between swear words and referring to the baby as “YOURS” or “IT”.
You’ll get through it (together, hopefully…and more likely if you follow the above advice!), and one day soon it will all be hilarious and romantic in hindsight.
Love conquers all. ♥
…interested in the male perspective? Visit www.dadsdiary.co.uk for the flip side: “Survival tips for new mums, living with new dads”. Laugh, cry, subscribe.