Warning! Dad-to-be stream of consciousness ahead.
It’s really happening. We are three months from bringing another human being into the world. It’s scary. Yet at the same time, it’s so magical. It doesn’t seem possible that life can be formed within another human – in this case Mrs. GYFG. We are blessed with the opportunity to be parents. And I count my lucky stars every time I see that glow coming from my wife – the future mother of our child. I think my fixed gaze makes her a little self-conscious but I’m just trying to soak it all in. She is amazing and I can’t help but think about how great a mother she will be to our baby boy.
Deep down I have been waiting for this opportunity my whole life. I didn’t get to experience what it was like to have a father and a mother actively engaged in my life. Yes, I had parents but it was solely biological. The best and only thing my parents did for me was to give me life. It pretty much stopped there. They were not there to guide me or advise me. They were not there to hold me and comfort me. They didn’t hold me accountable for my actions. And I don’t have fond memories of family vacations or traditions to carry on.
You see, my parents cared more about getting their next fix than they did about spending time with their kids. And time is what kids want most. Time. That’s all I ever wanted. That’s all my brothers ever wanted. Time. We just wanted to spend time with our parents. We wanted their attention. We wanted to learn from them. We wanted their love. Unfortunately, they were not in the right frame of mind to give us what we needed and wanted most.
But don’t feel sorry for me. I turned out okay despite my upbringing. I have been blessed with so many altruistic people that have entered my life. Growing up the way I did, I learned what type of parent I didn’t want to be. Even better, my experiences growing up have shaped me into the man I am today and the father I am to become in the near future.
For those who do not know my backstory, let me give you the cliff notes. I grew up on welfare, with drug addicted parents, and a father who spent the better part of a decade in and out of prison for the manufacturing of methamphetamine. It may appear that I was dealt a crap hand but don’t let that fool you. In this life, each of us always has a CHOICE! In this particular instance, I had the choice to be the VICTIM or the VICTOR. I chose to be the victor. Yes, statistically I should be in prison, but I decided to re-write my fate.
However, this post is not about my childhood or my backstory. It’s about the new role that I will be embracing with open arms in another three months when our baby boy is born (November of 2018). I seriously can’t wait to be a father. You may laugh but I’m studying up. That’s right: I’ve got books, and I’m listening to podcasts that are geared towards Dads.
I think a lot of men make the mistake of not preparing for this chapter in their lives. As men, we will go all in preparing to become better athletes. We study and prepare to advance in our careers. We go all in with our hobbies. But why do most men wing it in fatherhood? I believe that you should approach every aspect of your life with passion and dedication. Being a dad is no different. If anything, it might just be the most important thing to do on this earth.
These thoughts are inspired by the book Manhood by Terry Crews, which I read earlier this year, when I was inspired to save the following passage:
“I took in all of the stuff I could absorb about how to be a better husband, how to be a better father. As I did, I was struck by something. As men, we will study how to be the best architect, the best football player, the best actor. We’ll spend all the time we can find on our careers. But we need to be spending more time studying how to be a great husband, how to be a great father, how to be a great man.”
We didn’t know we were expecting at that time but this passage resonated with me and I knew I would refer back to it eventually. I decided right then and there that I would be all in when it was my time to enter fatherhood. I would put my best foot forward by preparing. Reading books. Listening to podcasts. Teasing out insights from parents that I look up too. Making space in my daily routine to be the best father I can be. To be the dad I didn’t have.
I honestly can’t wait to teach my son everything I know. I also can’t wait to soak up the lessons our son is going to teach us as parents. I know I’m about to experience a new level of love and affection I’ve never experienced, or really known to exist – I can already feel it coming on. This extra level of tenderness in my being is something that will affect everyone in my life, most importantly my wife and my son.
I look forward to being there in the delivery room when he enters this world and takes his first breath. I want to be there for his first word and I hope it’s MOM – because I need him to know how lucky we are to have this amazing woman in our lives. I can already see him taking his first step. His first day of school. His first girlfriend. I can’t wait to be there for as many of his firsts as possible.
Wow! We are really doing this. We are bringing a little boy into the world. I just have one question – does this dad role come with training wheels?
– Gen Y Finance Guy
I always smile when I read something like this by a rookie, soon to be dad. I don’t care how many books you’ve read, you don’t know anything about parenting, grasshopper, but you are about to learn.
Steveark – thank you for the warning. The students are up for the challenge!
Love your enthusiasm and excitement in becoming a new dad. As a new father myself (my daughter was born 2 weeks ago), I can tell you that experience is life changing. Nothing can prepare us for fatherhood, but your interest and commitment in being a good dad show that you will be a great father. Congratulations to you and Mrs. GYFG!
Financial Verdict – First, congratulations. We are totally prepared for chaos – if that’s even possible :)
This post alone shows what kind of dad you will be – a great one! Interest in your child and patience with them are in my opinion the most important traits of a good parent! Congrats to you and the mrs.!!
Thanks, Kirsten! We are very excited to welcome our boy into the world.
GYFG, my Wise Friend, (and Ms GYFG, also), enjoy every minute of it! You’ll now experience the compound interest of Love xoxo
“The compound interest of love” – Love it!!!
Nope, no training wheels. But you don’t need it. It’s learn as you go. I have two boys – one in grade school and another in middle school. Having a baby will change your life as you know it. It will bring you immense joy and you will experience a love you have never known before. As the saying goes, the days are long, but the years are short. You are right, but best thing you can give to your child besides love is time. They just want to be with you- to receive reassurance and comfort. They will push the boundaries and crave a caring gentle hand to guide them back to the right path. Support your wife anyway you can. Give more than you take.. then ask how you can give more. When they get older, volunteer at their school, coach their athletic team, chaperone their field trips. Expose them to many things, but also follow their lead. Listen to them. Be empathetic. Take an interest in their interests and they will trust you even more. Take your vacations and travel with them as much as you can. Some of the best memories are formed on vacation. You’ve got this. Best of luck to you Dom.
Thanks, Millionaire Doc!
It sounds like you found your groove with your own kids. I can’t wait to start making memories through family vacations and new traditions.
Congrats! And an early welcome to the club! I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old.
I know you’re a reader, so I’ll give my stock advice for new parents. Happiest Baby on the Block is the most important you’ll read for the first 3 months of life. This is my go to survival hand guide. That’s how I view the first three months, survival. Get sleep when you can and enjoy the time together.
There are entire libraries of books on parenting styles. My only advice would be to read a handful and choose what best fits your (and your wife’s) nature. My wife and I are doing our best to avoid becoming “helicopter” parents. Our go to guides are in the RIE style, with Janet Lansbury being my wife’s favorite.
Congrats again and have fun figuring out this whole parenting thing!
I’m glad you recommended that book as it’s confirmation that I chose wisely. I actually read
The Happiest Baby on the Block over my vacation I just returned from. I’m going to be a master at the 5 S’s.