Fatherhood: What My Husband Has Learned
By: Melanie Braga
For this piece, I consulted with my expert, my husband and father to my daughter, Nikki. As we chase our 14-month old around our place all day long, we manage to chit chat about what he has learned since becoming a father.
Here are the top 10 things fatherhood has enlighten my husband with:
Life Changes Completely
The moment that Nikki was born and I laid my eyes on her, my life changed completely. I knew that this new life was going to be my everything and I was going to do everything I can to protect her. The overwhelming emotions you feel when your child is born are all amazing and I am not ashamed to say that I cried as it was the best moment of my life. It was amazing how quickly I got into “daddy mode” as soon as I held Nikki in my arms. I remember being the first one to change her first diaper which was a very special moment for me and I learned from the nurses how to care for my baby girl. I wanted to make sure that I knew how to do it all.
The sleepless nights are the tough ones especially when you are working different shifts at work; however, you do get use to them. I can’t even remember the last time I had 8 hours of continuous sleep. It is hard but when I look at my daughter’s smiling face the next day, the sleepless night melts away.
Support Your Partner
It is amazing what my wife did in bringing life into this world. I saw everything that she went through while pregnant, during birth and after birth. My appreciation for her doubled for all that she did and does. I knew I had to be there for her to help as much as I could. If it meant changing a diaper; giving our daughter a bath; feeding her; or taking her to another room in the early mornings to let my wife sleep an extra hour on a weekend, then that is what I did. My job before becoming a father is a husband and I couldn’t forget that; therefore, I tried my best to help my wife when I could.
Become a Poop Expert
I know this topic will make many laugh but I couldn’t believe how important baby poop was. Your babies poop can help tell you if there is anything wrong so I quickly learned what to watch for and monitor any differences with it. Looking back, I never thought my wife and I would have so many discussions about baby poop, but it happened.
Cherish Every Moment
Working different shifts, there would be days that I wouldn’t be able to spend any time with my daughter so it was important for me to cherish each moment with her. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would play dress up but it was worth it when I saw her eyes light up. Playing dress up is cool! The simple forms of play makes a world of a difference for her and me. These are the moments I will treasure forever!
This one is obvious but one that I had to personally experience to know how it felt. It was that overwhelming feeling that I got when my daughter was born and has never left me since. The unconditional love keeps growing with every smile, hug, kiss and ‘dada’ that comes my way.
Trust your Instincts
As a father I needed to look deep inside and trust my instincts. At first it was hard to as I didn’t feel as confident as my wife did with knowing when to rely on instincts. But with practice and confidence I learned to trust my instinct and it was beneficial for all of us. Especially on the mommy break time, had to make sure those instincts were in full force.
You’re not the “backup parent”. You’re a father
I wanted to be very involved and hands on. Normally women take on the most active role in child rearing but as times change, men have become more involved. This is the type of parent I wanted to be. I wanted to know how to do everything and learn about my daughter. I wanted the front row seat and couldn’t sit in the back. By doing this, it has helped me become a better father and my bond with my daughter has grown stronger. As soon as I walk in the door from work, she runs to the door to greet me and it’s the best feeling in the world!
Married Life Changes
Many honest men will tell you that married life changes and it does. It no longer is about the two of you, it’s all about baby. Time with one another is hard to find and arguments are much easily sparked. But that is all normal and part of the growth needed in a relationship. It is important to communicate and allow to give one another some space if you feel frustrated. When you do find time to spend with one another it becomes more meaningful and your love will be stronger. I always heard people say that to test the strength of a relationship is to put a baby in it. Boy is that right! You have the bad, ugly but also the good. Never forget why you fell in love with each other and it all works out. Your both learning on the parent train together and I try not to forget that.
Patience goes a long way
Patience is a quick skill that you must learn as early as the day your baby is born. Patience is also needed in your relationship with your partner. We are all humans and we deal with changes and situations differently. Therefore, learning to be patient was necessary and crucial in being a husband and father. It isn’t the easiest one and I continue to work on it.
Above all, I learned how one little being changes you as a person and feel like I am a better person because of my daughter. I could not see life without her and feel very blessed to have her. Fatherhood has been a journey like no other and I know I will continue to learn as my daughter grows. Looking forward to all the adventures ahead and all the stories I will be able to tell.
– Nikki’s Dada