Five Facts Of Life For New Dads
Some humourous advice for new dads!
1: Oh you're tired, are you?
The first rule of being a new father is that you are never allowed to complain about anything ever again. If you have a problem with that, keep it to yourself. Like we say, no complaints. If you want to see why this rule exists, tell your partner you are feeling a bit tired. “You’re tired?” says she, with a question mark at the end that says you’ve just stepped on a landmine factory.
At this point you might feel tempted into a game of I’m Tired Ping-Pong, where you both start totting up the hours you have slept. Here’s how that pans out. Your partner says you didn’t have to push out a baby. Game over.
The fact that you rubbed her back for 11 hours and said “push away like mad Ciara, you’re doing great work” just can’t compete with that. (Particularly since you asked the midwife after four hours if it would be okay if you popped out for a sausage in batter.)
Watching One Born Every Minute is a bit like watching the Blair Witch Project in preparation for a camping holiday
If you need an outlet, I suggest you join DWAAC (Dads Who Aren’t Allowed Complain.) We meet every Tuesday night in the local hall. Pop down and tell us how tired you are. If you're allowed out.
2: No crisps, no joke
You need to start watching a lot of One Born Every Minute. Yes, it’s a bit like watching the Blair Witch Project in preparation for a camping holiday. But at least it makes one thing clear — the delivery ward is no place for your stand-up comedy act.
This is important for Irish men, whose reaction to every situation is to act the clown. In fairness, a GSOH is a vital part of our toolbox, given that so many of us look like two bags of hammers.
But the delivery ward is no joke. Particularly if the midwife is a bit of a looker and your partner cottons on that the jokes are actually meant for her. One other thing. Food. There are certain times in life when it’s ok to sit down next to your partner and eat a packet of cheese and onion crisps.
This isn’t one of them. It can look a bit casual, particularly since her sense of smell has been turned up to a new setting called ‘Angry Wolf’. The fact that you sat there eating a pack of Tayto could be the one thing she remembers about the whole day. You might never hear the end of it.
3: You're a bad listener, got it?
Here is the essence of New Dad in two simple steps. 1: Your partner tells you to do three things. 2: You forget one of them. Some scientists argue that new fathers are programmed to ignore their partners so they can listen out for wild animals approaching the cave. Those scientists are probably New Dads, desperately looking for an out.
We all know the real reason for your absent-mindedness is that there was an item on the radio about Luis Suarez moving to Barcelona when you were being told the thing that you forgot. (It was to put a new packet of wipes on the changing table, by the way. It always is.)
I wouldn’t use the Suarez to Barcelona excuse unless you fancy a move of your own, to the spare room, with the baby. The real problem here is that a lot of men show signs of being a good listener before the first baby arrives. That leaves you defenceless when you can’t remember the direct order about the wipes.
There is a simple solution. Once the pregnancy test gives a positive, you need to stop listening. With any luck, your partner will accept over time that you are just a bad listener and focus on your positive attributes. If your listening skills are what she likes most about you, then I would say it’s game over.
4: Fat fingers
There is one certainty about fatherhood – your hands are too big. It’s ironic really, because your chunky man-hands could well have been a major plus point in attracting a partner. Now, those hands are your downfall.
You’ll only really appreciate it when it’s time to change that first nappy in the hospital. This is your moment, where you show the world that you plan to be a hands-on father. Except you can’t get your shovelly fist down the sleeve of the onesie in order to ease through Jack or Sophie’s tiny little arm.
(They never show this in idyllic nappy ads where it’s all smiley young Dads with their American teeth.) And when you eventually jiggle the poor child into the onesie, you can’t get the shagging fasteners to close.
This is usually where Jack or Sophie gets to hear their first curse. And their second and third. Worse again, your mother-in-law is probably there in the maternity ward to witness your foul-mouthed, big-handed cockup. “Jesus Ciaran, I never knew you had such a short temper” says she, not helping one bit.
5: What's the plan?
Here is the problem with your plan for the child — you haven’t got one. At least not compared to your partner. She is engaged in a project that makes the D-Day Landings look like something they cobbled together after a night on the tiles.
In fairness, you should have spotted her penchant for forward planning. She was dragging you around buggy shops four hours after you stopped using contraception. Now, four months into the pregnancy, she is already figuring out the first week of food when the child moves onto solids.
That’s almost a year away. She tried to include you in the planning process by buying you a book called Aaaaw, You’re Going to Be a Dad. You didn’t read it. As a result your plan is a vague notion to bring the child to Old Trafford for their fourth birthday.
You might be better to pretend you have no plan at all rather than admitting that. In the meantime, I recommend you read through some of the forums here on eumom.ie. At least then you can get involved in conversations on baby-led weaning, wonder weeks and growth spurts.
(You can put almost everything down to growth spurts. They are very handy that way.)