Having kids is a bit of a crap-shoot. Some people are born parents, others struggle significantly -- and a few (let's face it) can barely look after themselves, let alone another human being. What I think is one of the biggest gambles of becoming a new father, however, is not knowing how becoming a mother is going to affect your partner. It's funny because, the lyrics of Kenny Rogers' famous song, The Gambler, really apply here.
Great advice for new dads
Know when to hold 'em
Look, we know we don't look like we did before we had the baby...and you just had nine months of us complaining about aches, pains, haemorrhoids, varicose veins...super sexy stuff. So, when we're supposed to be basking in the bliss of having a newborn, please don't say anything about our leaking breasts, the toilet paper stuck to our bathrobe, baby puke in our hair or the fact that we forgot to put on pants. We know. We are just too tired to care and bringing it to our attention is only going to get you into a whole mess of pain.
Know when to fold 'em
We know more than you. It doesn't matter how many books, blogs or parenting magazines you read. It doesn't matter that you PVR'd episodes of Bringing Home Baby and watched them religiously. It doesn't matter that you came to all the midwife appointments or attended the same pre-natal class that we did. And (this should go without saying) it certainly doesn't matter what your own mother taught you. Bite your tongue. Don't show us how to properly swaddle our baby, burp or breastfeed. Mother. Knows. Best.
Know when to walk away
We know you meant well when you let us sleep in this morning, got up with the baby, fed him, changed him, bathed him and got him to fall asleep peacefully while you cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry and prepared eggs Benedict for us. The thing is, though, you made us look bad...a crime punishable by death. So when you bring in the tray of goodies to serve us breakfast in bed, and we look less than grateful...pissed off even...slowly and carefully back out of the room.
Know when to run
"If I could stay home in my pyjamas all day, I would." Seriously...run, Forrest, run. We's about to go Lorena Bobbitt on your ass.
Never count your money, when your sittin' at the table
We are well aware of how long it's been since we had sex. We just birthed a baby and, even though we love you, that is going to take some time, so ease up. Did you know that there's a secret code amongst women that when you remind us, you get another full week of solitary? Oh...what's that? The doctor gave me the all clear? I don't remember the doctor owning my vagina.
There'll be time enough for countin', when the dealin's done
Patience, young grasshopper. You are going to be an awesome dad...and part of being an awesome dad is being a great spouse and partner. We are going to remember all you did for us and show some real appreciation once the groundhog day of having a newborn is over with. Like all other phases of parenthood, this too shall pass...and if you can manage to squeak through those first few months without us killing you - you have done a great job! Keep smiling through the abuse as you clean, feed the baby, pitch in with laundry and reassure us that we're doing a great job...now that is going to go far in the long run.
All kidding aside, I know that it takes an amazing guy to be a truly great father...trust me, I'm married to one!