Fatherly Stuff: 3 Things Moms Need to Know about New Dads

Jan 16, 2014

3 Things Moms Need to Know about New Dads

Dear New Mom and/or Mom to be,

So you're either having or have recently had a baby. Congrats! Since it's a very exciting and confusing time in your life, I'm sure you're fielding all types of advice from resources such as family, friends, pregnancy books, websites and whether you asked for it or not, from friends and family. All of the info that you're getting will probably be very helpful , but I'm willing to bet that most of it is missing one important component: Dads and how and how they fit into the mold. With that being said, I'd like to attempt to fill in those blanks with this simple guideline that I created by asking myself following question:
If I could go back in time and talk to my wife right after she had our first child, what advice would I give about interacting with me as a new dad?
The following are a few things you should keep in mind when dealing with new dads: 

1. It’s hard on us too
There are many outdated stigmas that surround men and their relative attitudes towards their partner’s pregnancy. Among this is that with the exception of the occasional foot/belly rub or late-night craving run, dads do not play an essential role during those trimesters and are more or less unaffected. However, that is not always the case. These days, we’re definitely doing more than waiting for the baby to get older so we can start tossing the pigskin around. In fact, as women go through their roller coaster of physical and emotional changes, most dads are right there in the passenger seat with them. Some of us (i.e ME) even tend mirror some pregnancy symptoms, like weight gain.
From pre to post natal, it’s all about mommy and baby. We’re often running around doing all we can to ensure the two of you are as comfortable as possible. I think that’s how it should be. However, it is an often overlooked fact that we’re dealing with the stresses, awkwardness and anxieties of becoming a new parent too, the only difference is that there really isn’t a platform for us to express those feelings, and trying to work through that alone can be pretty isolating and lonely. 
So moms, next time you see your man, give him a hug, let him know how much you appreciate his effort and ask him how he’s feeling. You might be surprised at his answer

2. We think your stretch marks are sexy
We see you looking in the mirror sideways touching your stomach that at one point was so large, you couldn’t see past your feet. Without even saying anything, we can see the disapproving frown in your face as you secretly curse your baby for what he/she/they did to your body, while mourning over how great you looked pre baby. You probably think that we look at your new body and find you less attractive. You hear us tell you time and time again how beautiful you are, but you simply rebuff those compliments and insist we’re “just saying that because we have to”.
And it’s kind of true. But you know what else is true?
When a relationship becomes “real”, the physical appearance is just one of many layers that lead to a deeper connection that goes beyond just the physical. During those trying 9 months, we bear witness to the overwhelming amount of love, strength and pain endured that it took to grow a life inside of you to the point that every time I really think about it, it leaves me in awe.\
And that’s damn sexy\
So, the next time we you hear us compliment you, use our words to reduce your insecurities, because we really, really mean it, you are beautiful.

3. You're Not Alone, Include Us on your Team
When my wife and I brought our first son home from the hospital, one of my biggest fears was overcoming what I assumed was going to be a massive learning curve compared to my wife. After all, our society teaches us all about maternal instincts, the fabled 6th sense that is infused into a woman’s genome sequence that makes them a superior parent. Fathers, on the other hand are constantly underestimated and viewed as  clueless, bumbling creatures that are sometimes considered the unofficial extra child that mom has to take care of. 
Stereotypes like these could potentially result is 2 things:

  1. Moms might get the impression that they have to take on the lion share of the childcare responsibilities and be over protective of those duties, not allowing
  2. Dads might be intimidated and might be nervous about interacting with the baby early on, or may think he isn't supposed to at all

However, despite these myths, the truth of the matter is that both moms and dads start off on equal ground in the beginning, and learn by rolling up their sleeves and doing. That’s why it is so important for moms to encourage hesitant dads to be involved in the childcare process as often and early as possible. Those opportunities will be helpful in helping them discover their individual parenting style. Over time, as you both become more experienced, you will learn how each of the unique strengths compliment each other and make you more of a team. In addition to that, both of your approaches are valuable is helping your child grow up to be a well rounded individual.
Overall, just keep in mind that dads need support and encouragement just as much as moms do during this momentous life shift. If you can learn how to provide that both ways as parents, the experience will be that much more enhanced. Congratulations again and good luck!

What did you think? Would and of these tips be useful? Did I leave anything out? Comment below!

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