{ Championing Fatherhood }

Educating and inspiring practitioners and staff in human service organizations.

Lessons from a New Dad

Posted by Vincent DiCaro

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Apr 1, 2010
As followers of this blog know, on January 15, my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world. He got my name (Vincent), and my wife’s good looks.

I really did not know exactly what to expect when I became a dad. I picked up a lot of great skills beforehand, but the experience itself has been my best teacher.

So, now that he is 10 weeks old, I thought I would pass on the most important principles I have picked up on this first leg of the fatherhood journey. Since my son is a “chip off the old block,” here are my CHIPS for being a new dad.

Compassion. For the first several weeks of fatherhood, both mom and baby are in relatively frail states. They need your compassion. Mom likely has just gone through the most painful experience of her life (my wife did natural childbirth), and the baby has just been plucked from the warmth and comfort of the womb to face a bright, cold world. Be as compassionate as possible for them both.

Humor. Without a sense of humor, you will not survive. When you are awoken for the third time in the middle of the same night, you can either laugh or cry. I suggest laughing. You’ll live longer.

Imagination. Just about everything you do as a new dad is going to be something you have never done before. There really isn’t a non-baby-related analog to changing a diaper. Maybe if you are Greek and have wrapped ground beef in grape leaves, you will have some idea of what is ahead. Otherwise, you are going to have to use your imagination at all turns in order to figure out things like applying diaper ointment, bathing a squirming, slippery infant, and other new daddy tasks.

Patience. With a newborn, patience really is a virtue – perhaps the highest virtue. You will make mistakes. You will get frustrated. You will long for the days when the baby will respond to you, talk to you, and read with you. But be patient. This time of the baby’s life is just as important, and you are just as important during this time, too.

Serving. You will spend much of your time as a new dad serving others (hint: the mom and the baby). Don’t view this as something you are above. In fact, being a servant is an integral part of being a leader (look it up). Embrace your role as someone who can be relied on to help mom and baby, and the rewards will come back to you in spades.

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