So you’re going to be a dad.
If you’re like me when my first was on the way, you’re scared as hell. You wonder if you can handle a helpless infant without causing some sort of bodily injury. You wonder how you could raise a little person when you’re still trying to figure out life for yourself. You are afraid you will make the same mistakes your father made.
It’s true — this fatherhood thing is a big deal. So it’s natural to have these concerns. But if you fear that you’re going to be terrible at fatherhood I have good news for you: You can be a great dad. There are just a couple basic things to remember.
The first thing is: be there. That’s it. Just show up. You’re there at the birth. You’re there at home. You change diapers. You wash bottles. You talk with your wife about the joys and difficulties of parenthood. You’re there, with all your imperfections. And by being there you are doing better than countless men. High five.
Being there is important, but you can do better. The second thing is: sacrifice. After this baby arrives things are not going to be the same. You won’t see your friends as much. You won’t be able to watch all your shows as frequently as you do now. Your sleep will definitely suffer.
Sacrificing some of these comforts is a good thing. As much as I would love to re-watch the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, I would much rather give my time, my energy, my self, to my wife and kids. One day I’ll be able to do stuff like that again. But for now my calling is to read Little Blue Truck to one of my little monsters for the thousandth time.
All this can sound uncomfortable. And it is. But it is better.
Try to think of your sacrifices not as discomforts or inconveniences, but as an adventure. No hero became a hero without pain. If everything was easy — what a boring story that would be! Sometimes that pain or trial is really dramatic or extraordinary. Sometimes a hero’s trial is not so dramatic. His sacrifice seems more bland. Doing simple things. But doing those things — being there, and sacrificing, even those boring little sacrifices — make a life-changing difference to your family.
On your path to awesome dadness, if you accept the fact that you are now living for others, gradually the beauty of that life will become more apparent to you. If you try to be a dad while at the same time try to retain all those comfy aspects of being a bachelor, you will be disappointed.
Be there and sacrifice. Do this and you’ll be fine. You might at times think you’re not changing the world. But you are.