Top tips for impending parenthood – dads and partners take note
You are about to become a dad/parent. As well bringing unparalleled joy of epic proportions, the role inevitably brings enormous responsibility.
The gravitas required for being a responsible parent is not something that should ever be underestimated. That’s why it is absolutely essential that you follow all of the four top tips for becoming a new dad to ensure you are fully prepared and ready to keep up with your impending new arrival.
Neglect to follow them and you have no chance at being anything other than a massive disappointment.
Tip 1 – Dance while you can
Perhaps the most distressing, traumatic and above all embarrassing childhood a person can have is one in which their father routinely dances at weddings, school discos, barbecues, parties or even in supermarket queues, seemingly oblivious to the gallery of horror-stricken faces surrounding them.
Unless you want your child to perpetually cringe at the mere thought of you for the entirety of its life or perhaps end up in group therapy for the victims of dad dancers, now is the time to act.
You have a choice: use these last few pre-birth weeks to enjoy your final freedom in the realm of dance before never ever, under any circumstances, ever dancing again, or… enrol in regular dancing lessons immediately so that you can learn to dance expertly in a way that will do more than merely prevent your child from being embarrassed by you but may actually even impress.
Who knows, one day you may be invited to give a demonstration at your child’s school and end up receiving a standing ovation.
But seriously, you will need to be fit and supple for the arrival of your little one and there is no better exercise than dance: not only does it release endorphins it does so without the accompanying release of the stress hormone cortisol that occurs with just about all other forms of exercise. Dancing also has a primitive social component and can help keep your family happy, healthy and bonded.
Tip 2 – Become a (temporary) minimalist
It is amazing how much stuff you accumulate once you have children: toys, clothes, gadgets etc all stack up and can leave you wondering what your walls, cupboards, shelves and floors once looked like.
By becoming a temporary minimalist and ridding yourself now of anything you don’t really need, you are freeing up space and thereby ensuring things don’t get too overwhelming in the first year – a time when the sheer volume of nappies, washing, new garments and miscellaneous baby paraphernalia can leave you wondering if the place you’ve just walked into really is your house or is it an explosion in a baby shop.
So, get rid of all that sports gear you don’t use, and those shirts, jackets and trousers that don’t quite fit. Sell your old football magazines on eBay. Whatever it is, do you really need it? And the answer is, no!
Also, as you’re sanctimoniously taking rubbish bags of gear to the tip, you could subtly ask your partner if she wants you to bin any of her clutter as well!
Tip 3 – Go on a silent retreat
From the day of delivery onwards you are very unlikely to have an uncomplicated moment to yourself for at least another 18 years. For many first-time dads this will only dawn on them slowly and when the revelation finally hits it can be quite stressful.
Now is the time to develop a Zen frame of mind. You could buy a tai chi video, download some whale noises for your deep meditation sessions or perhaps you could book yourself a weekend away at a silent retreat (ideally with your partner).
Silence might not seem that big a deal to you now, but trust us, once you’ve got a child, and then potentially more, you will struggle to remember how wonderful silence can be.
It doesn’t matter which type of retreat you go on – Buddhist, Trappist, Quaker or totally secular – but be sure to savour and remember the tranquillity; in a few months it will seem like a distant dream. You may also learn some techniques for keeping calm, perhaps the most important parenting skill of all.
Tip 4 – Babysit for a friend
This comes with a caveat: for learning purposes, make sure that the baby is prone to not sleeping and regular nappy filling. But for relaxation purposes find a baby known to be a reliable sleeper and make sure it has already dropped off before you get there.
If you go for the non-sleeper, you’ll get plenty of experience looking after a child and this can help you develop confidence as a parent. You’ll earn Brownie points from your partner and your friend will owe you a reciprocal babysitting session.
If you opt for the good sleeper, you’ll get the above appreciation and all you’ll have to do is recline on the sofa and read, watch TV, game or doze to your heart’s content, all the while being soothed by the faint sounds of gurgling and breathing emanating from the baby monitor.
All in all, the advice from this dad is that becoming a parent is a very big deal. Now is the time to think about how you’re going to cope with the changes, so that you can support your partner, be a great parent and, above all, enjoy this momentous, wondrous change in your life.