Monday, October 22, 2007

Some Thoughts on Being a Dad

Don't let the title fool you; I'm no pro, but rather a newbie myself. However, since several people I know who read this blog are recent Dad's, will be someday, or will be soon (and there are several of you in this category so don't worry, I'm not destroying anyone's anonymity or secret), I was thinking through what it felt like to be a new Dad and an "expecting Dad" and thought I'd throw some thoughts out there for whatever they're worth.

1) From when my wife was roughly 6 months pregnant till Noah was about 4 months old, I was freaking out about how having a kid would affect our lives and particularly our financial "stability" if you could call it that. Up until she was six months pregnant, it was all fun and exciting. When that belly started to grow, reality set in and I started thinking about budget, discipline, dating, college, etc... Have no fear on this one. In many ways, it's not a big deal. And in the ways it is a big deal...many of them are wonderful changes. Of course, it took me almost 4 months to figure out that diapers are affordable and baby food can be squeezed into a tight budget (especially with some help from the fam and the state :-). And the bottom line - God provides. Sure it affected our lives in other ways, but those are ENTIRELY for the better. I love being a Dad and I love my son more than I could ever have imagined I would. My only regret is definately that we did not start sooner.

2) The first 3 months aren't necessarily a microcosm of what the rest of parenting will be like. Noah's first night home I only slept about 2 hours and Dawn only slept about 1. I remember being scared to death that I wouldn't be able to survive the next six months at this pace. While sleeping patterns do differ for every child and even the same child will change at different stages, my experience has been that routine and predicability are a bit more frequent after 3 months. Plus, you're pretty used to the idea of being parents by then (the learning curve is steep here - you go from 0-60 in the first few weeks alone) and above all, your kid starts responding and developing personality around this time (in other words, ALL of those smiles can't be gas, some of them must really be smiles).


3) Your life WILL change and every child is different. I group these two together because, they're common fallacies for expecting/new parents. You hear people say dumb stuff like the child will adapt to their schedule/lifestyle, because theirs won't be a child-centered home or frowning on a type of discipline method that doesn't include spanking. Maybe these two are overly specific, but I bring them up because that's how I thought. Mea culpa. Whether your home is child centered or not, your lifestyle and schedule will and should adapt to a new family member. Likewise, not all children are alike; thus, different forms of discipline may be effective on different children at different stages. Example - when Noah fussed between 6 or 7 months to 1yr (that is between when he learned no, but still couldn't walk) we knew we couldn't spank him for attitudinal issues because he wouldn't understand why he was being punished. Time outs, on the other hand, were extremely effective, because he loved to be with us so much and he couldn't get around on his own. Though I swore I would never use them, they turned out to be the most efficient and effective way to break his will without breaking his spirit. Live and learn.

There's more I could and may say, but this is long enough as it is. I may do a part two later this week.

9 comments:

chris bruno said...

Thanks for the reminders as we are waiting for our 2nd in about 5 weeks.
I remember being awake the second night after Luke was born, wondering how in the world I would survive on so little sleep. But it got better . . . eventually.

Nate Mihelis said...

congrats! i didn't realize you guys were expecting again. a newborn and a new PhD program, sounds like fun...and probably less sleep this time :-) we'll definately be praying for you guys!

jeileenbaylor said...

Good post! I really enjoyed hearing your perspective... especially after having seen you guys live through it. You're doing a great job!

Nate Mihelis said...

Thanks Jules!

Dawn said...

I am so greatful to the Lord for giving me such a loving husband and our son such a devoted father! You are a wonderful daddy!

Pitch said...

Good thoughts -- I can verify many of them from my own experience! I don't remember how old your son is -- about the same age as mine, or what?

Nate Mihelis said...

15 months

Pitch said...

20 months here.

smlogan said...

okay,
so now that we've officially made our announcement - i can finally say thanks; appreciate your comments.