First-Time Dad: 8 Things I Wish I'd Been Told Before the Arrival of My First Baby by Bill Ellis
One week ago today my life changed forever, as my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world. This has brought us all the agonies and ecstasies promised by the 1,001 advice articles on this topic – at least 1,000 of which include the words “emotional rollercoaster.” (There! I have included it, too!) Here is my heartfelt advice as an “expert” of seven days in the making:
- You're doing OK. Whether Baby sleeps most of the day, most of the night or yells the house down for most of the above, you and your child are just working out this new reality as you go along. And Baby has a whole lot more to learn than you do!
- Take lots of photos. Baby changes day by day, and even if she or he didn't, there are enough special moments to fill an album an hour – if you had the time.
- Stay off your phone (apart from for the essentials). There's so much going on and it would be horrendous to miss it.
- Take care of your partner. Remind her of why you love her, and how much. She needs a whole lot more support than us dads do.
- Take care of yourself. Exhausted as you are too, a walk or a bike ride (or whatever else you enjoy) can work wonders.
- Leave your worries about being too old, too young or too unprepared at the door and throw yourself into the best job in the world.
- Revel in the fact that every new experience you enjoy with your child is the first time they have ever encountered it. Exercise mindfulness and appreciation at all times: your first walk around the garden or the park with Baby and even your first walk down the street.
- Talk to your child, telling them all about the wonderful world they have just joined. And how much you appreciate them for joining it.
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