Congratulations! You are about to become a father. You don’t need to be told that your life completely changes when you become a dad.
Most of your friends will tell you to forget having a social life, and to reassess how much sleep you actually need, because once your baby is born you be unlikely to be enjoying either of these pleasures.
While there is some truth in this, there’s no amount of advice that can prepare you enough for the miracle that is fatherhood.
You will be challenged in many ways but you will also wish you had done it sooner.
Here are a few things to expect as you approach fatherhood.
1. You May Not Connect With Your Baby Immediately
While it happens for some men, many of us don’t immediately feel a strong connection with our new baby. Do not beat yourself up. This is perfectly normal.
You will develop the bond as time goes by.
Don’t let all the hype about parental bond make you feel any less of a father. It will come in time.
2. You Are Now a Family Of Three
Before your baby arrived, it was just you and your girlfriend or wife. You probably spent a lot of time together and were always there to meet each other’s needs.
Once you become a father, all of that changes.
Your family grows and you have a little person who is completely dependent on the both of you. This results in much less control over your life.
It means that you will probably have fewer moments to enjoy with your wife.
It is actually very easy for you to fall into a parenting routine and completely neglect your woman.
Ensure you find time for your wife. The few minutes between naps can make the difference for your relationship. Make the most of these free moments.
3. Traveling With Your Baby Is Not As Hard As You Think
If your life entails a lot of travel with your family, traveling with a newborn is not as hard as it is made out to be. Actually, travelling with an infant can be easy.
You only need their diaper bag, their milk and a car seat.
Infants have fewer needs and traveling makes no difference to (most of) them.
4. Your Alone Time is No Longer Yours Anymore
When you have a baby in the house, it can become increasingly hard to get some alone time.
You and your wife are required to do everything for this baby around the clock. And, you also want to create a bond between you and the baby and thus most of your alone times are actually spent with your newborn baby.
As your baby grows, it will be harder for you to spend time alone as they will always be there following you around the house.
If your alone time is precious to you, you can agree with your wife and come up with a way to create some alone time for each of you. You can take turns looking after the baby as each of you enjoys an hour or two of time doing your own thing.
5. Parenting Can Get Intimidating
Even though you are well aware of your role in the house as the provider, it is easy for you to become intimidated by your gender limitations.
It can get worse when your wife seems to know it all when it comes to calming and caring for the baby.
If you want to take up a more active role in caring for the baby, you can learn how to feed him or her using a bottle (if baby is formula feeding, mixed feeding or mom is expressing milk – if not then there are many other aspects of care you can help with).
Also, learn your baby’s sleep patterns to know when it is time for a nap or when to change a diaper.
This can go a long way in making you feel more involved even though you may not be as good as mom.
6. Your Circle of Friends May Change Too
Safe to say, this comes with the territory. Before your baby was born, you would probably hang out with a lot of single friends or married friends with no children.
Once you become a father, your circle of friends will suddenly consist of fellow dads.
This is because you feel more connected to fellow parents.
They can understand things about parenting your other friends may not understand. Having fellow parents as your friends also gives you a sense of belonging and they become your support system. They can give relevant advice too.
Even so, you don’t have to completely let go of your single and childless friends. You can create time to see them outside your busy parenting schedule. This is a good way of finding balance in your life.
7. Your Sex Life May Be Affected
Some people will tell you that their sex life completely changes for the worse after they became parents. Others will tell you that the changes were for a few months then things went back to normal.
The bottom line is that your sex life will most likely be affected in some way when you’re a new father.
Your days are exhausting and all you want to do once the baby is asleep is fall asleep too.
If you find yourself too exhausted to enjoy sex, you need to make a few changes. Sometimes, your wife is the one who is no longer in the mood for sex. Most of it is hormonal.
Talk to her about it and help her understand how it is affecting you negatively.
Make time to set the mood for sex whenever you can. With a little effort, things should go back to normal soon enough.
Despite the changes, fatherhood is a period you will relish for the rest of your life. There is no greater joy than that of being parent.
Enjoy it, embrace it and live it the best way you know how, even through all the new challenges.