Open Thread: Advice for new dads
Hey old-timers: let's give those fresh fathers a helping hand
A short one from me this week, as I’m a little under the weather. I’ve been sprinting on a few things at maximum power all March, which has been great, but the tank is feeling depleted and my body is telling me to slow things down.
The last few weeks have seen my inbox filled with a steady stream of expectant dads looking for guidance, trying to mentally and physically prepare for what’s coming. It’s a big responsibility, so today I’m handing it over to you. I’d love for you all to jump in and share something you think could help a dad-to-be. From the existential to the minor, from what they should know to what they should buy; jump on in, and share one thing you wish you would have known before you had a kid yourself.
The one piece of advice I always share, when talking to any dad-to-be, is to be ready for a major shift. And it’s not the one you think—that opening of the heart, the “I never knew love like this before” one. It’s a different shift, one that can be tougher to process. If this is your first kid with a long-term partner, there’s a fundamental change that will soon occur for both of you: you are going to go from being the most important person in each other’s lives into a new world where you both become number 2. It’s a shift you can’t avoid, but one that many men don’t see coming, and I’ve seen many a marriage hit a rocky patch when a partner—almost always the man, sadly—fails to grasp the significance of this shift, rails against it, and tries to revert to an older world that no longer exists.
On that moment of joy, I’ll hand it over to you.
Oh, and for those amongst us with a baby on the way—please feel free to use this space to ask the hive mind of almost 10,000 dads anything you want. And if you’d like to join a beta test of something I’ve been working on behind the scenes, hit reply, let me know when you’re expecting, and I’ll be in touch.
I’m off for a lie-down. Enjoy your weekend, one and all.
There are 1000 different things that need to be done with a new baby. There is exactly one that you can’t physically do. Do everything else.
More than anything else, practice entering each parenting situation with curiosity and acceptance, asking yourself, "What is going on here? What do I need to learn?"
Sometimes, this will come naturally, and other times, it will be very difficult. But keep practicing, and use whatever tools help you stay open to surprise and let go of control, whether meditation, journaling, afternoon naps, a workout, or something else.
You'll be amazed at how the simple act of being curious and putting connection first will open up moments of deep connection between you and your child.