Sure, billions of guys before you have become fathers. That doesn’t mean you’re not freaking out a little bit about that new baby on the way. While you’re of course concerned for the welfare of your partner and the health of your new baby, you’re probably a little bit nervous about yourself, too. Do you have what it takes to be a good dad? Will you make mistakes that will scar your child for life? Is this really something you can handle?
The good news is that you can, indeed, handle it. Keep calm, carry on and all that. Here are some of the best parenting tips for men who find themselves with that first brand new bundle of joy:
- Listen to all of the advice. Notice we didn’t say follow all of the advice. Everyone will tell you exactly how they think you should parent. Consider it all, and choose the advice that fits with your own best judgment.
- Make mistakes. You don’t really have a choice here; it’s going to happen. The good news is that children are amazingly resilient, and the odds that a single mistake is going to scar them for life is pretty small.
- Take turns parenting. Give your partner a break sometimes, and make sure to ask for a break when you need one, too.
- Trust your child’s appetite. Left to his own devices, chances are he’s going to eat enough. Help her develop not just healthy eating habits, but a healthy view of food, as well.
- Spend time with your child. Even though your infant isn’t going to remember you rocking him to sleep at night or teaching him to walk, you’ll remember. And you can’t trade those memories for a million bucks.
- Enjoy each new skill your child learns. Your child is going to have milestone after milestone. Savor each one; they won’t happen again.
- Don’t stress about milestones, either. Unless your child is terribly behind – which is something your pediatrician will help you decide – it doesn’t matter if she’s a couple months late with walking or talking.
A child can be the most intense source of joy (and sometimes pain) you’ll ever have. Savor every moment, and do what you believe is best for your child.