One For The Dads…
When you become a Dad for the first time, what I don’t think a lot of people realise is that you’re taking on the TWO biggest roles of your life.
- To be the best dad to your baby
- To be the main support system for the mother of your child
Job number one will probably come quite easy to most dads over time – love child, don’t drop child, keep child happy and try to keep child’s bum clean.
It’s job number 2 that I personally think is the biggest challenge of all and probably where most dads struggle, and it’s through no fault of their own.
With a little help from the man himself, I’m going to be writing about my partners experience of becoming a dad for the first time, how we made things work (sort of) and what advice I would give from a mums point of view..
It’s no secret that from the moment a baby is conceived (what a proper wanky word that is) dads take a bit of a back seat. Through pregnancy no one REALLY asks the dad how they’re feeling, they don’t have any appointments to ask how they’ve been feeling, then baby comes along and everyone is asking ‘how’s mum and baby doing?’ but really this is a fucking huge life changer for the dad and they’re just expected to cope and get on with it. Although this is a bit of a different matter, I really hope I can help a few dads with this post and make things a little easier when it comes to keeping your home a happy one.
If you’ve read my first 2 blog posts you’ll know that being a new mum is no easy task and us mums need A LOT of support especially in those early days and it’s kind of the dads job to do that (still an easier job than making, carrying and delivering a baby you twats).
Carl himself would tell you that he struggled to support me at first, he didn’t realise how lost I was feeling as I’ve always been quite strong and hide my feelings well (this isn’t always such a good thing) and one day things got too much and I ended up erupting out of frustration and utter exhaustion. And no one likes a really ugly crying face. In Carl’s words, I was ‘breathing dragon fire’ (if he’d have said that at the time I think I’d of punched him in his wind pipe).
Anyway, after having a slight meltdown, we sat down together and discussed exactly what I needed him to do to support me. This sounds really straight forward HAHA the reality included a bit of shouting, me telling Carl to fuck off, one or two c bombs (from me obv, just to spice things up) and a shit load of tears. Poor Carl! But we got there in the end and I want to share our tips for new dads on how to support your partner..
- Don’t wait for her to tell you she needs your support. This will often go unsaid and some people find it harder to talk about than others. She ALWAYS needs your support.
- CONSTANTLY offer food and drinks (especially to breastfeeding mums). I went for weeks without eating or drinking properly which was completely my fault however it made me feel really drained and my insides probably weren’t too healthy, not to mention not producing enough milk for my baby. I felt so lazy and guilty to keep asking Carl to make me a drink but most the time I was glued to the sofa feeding our baby so really needed this from him.
- Help with the night feeds. Waking up in the night and feeding your baby is bloody LONELY. I really struggled mentally with the night feeds just because it’s all so quiet and there is 0 stimulation so it’s hard to stay awake! It’s nice to share this responsibility as it means you both get a decent rest (which really means an hour a night each if your newborn was a fucking night owl like mine). If mum is breastfeeding, maybe agree to burp the baby after they’ve been fed so she can get herself back to bed.
- Make sure you host any visitors. You make the brews and do the friendly chit chat. Don’t expect this of mum because she’s probably struggling with visitors as it is so expecting her to host them at the same time is asking too much.
- Meal prep. If you’re going back to work after paternity leave, make some meals for the freezer that mum can quickly warm up to eat. Maybe make her a sandwich before you leave so she can quickly grab it from the freezer. Make some snacks up and some bottles of water – things that are easy to grab and go.
- Baby’s bottle prep. If you’re bottle feeding, have all the bottles sterilised and ready to be used before you leave for work. This means when the baby needs feeding, mum will never find herself in a situation of needing to prepare all the bottles whilst the baby is screaming the house down and hangry as fuck. She can just quickly prepare the milk as you’ve done all the bottle prep for her. This saves lots of time and tears – from both mum and baby.
- You do the lifting for a few weeks. No doubt mum’s body has just been through hell and back bringing your little one into the world and so things can feel a bit tender. It’s always a good idea to give mum a few weeks to recover which means you lift the car seat in and out of the car, you set the pram up if you’re going out for a walk. You basically lift anything that needs lifting. Simple. Oh, and change the bed sheets too you lazy bastards.
- Ask her what would make her feel better. A bath? A nice home cooked meal? An hour or two with her friends? A glass of wine? A lie in? Taking the dog for a long walk? This definitely works both ways so I’d encourage all mums to do the same for dads, too! But this is an important one that can really make a difference to how you both feel.
- One word – compliments. They go a fucking long way! She might be feeling a bit shit about her body that was just a few weeks ago carrying life and playing a really important role, and now things may be looking a bit more loose, carrying a bit of extra weight and she may not be feeling very attractive. Tell her she looks nice, and that she’s doing an amazing job and MEAN IT. Show her affection (not too much though, ain’t nobody got time for dat) and just try to make her feel good about herself. Bonus tip – don’t do what Carl did and tell her she’s looking fit if she’s really looking like Worzel Gummidge – she’s probably aware she isn’t looking her best and knows you’re lying, and if she’s anything like me she’ll want to snap your knee caps.
- Please don’t take this the wrong way, but the parenting roles should be completed equal, 50/50, split right down the middle. If you leave the house for whatever reason without asking mum to ‘watch the baby’ then she should be able to do exactly the same. And if you’d expect her to ask you to watch the baby, then you should be asking her too! You’re in this together.
- Be honest if you’re struggling too. Dads can feel left out, exhausted and overwhelmed and supporting your partner isn’t always easy. She’ll want to know how you’re feeling so she can also support you if you need it.
I mean, it’s only 11 teeny tiny things you need to do to support your baby mama so that she doesn’t turn into a ‘dragon’ (fuck you Carl), or kick you out the house, or spit in your tea (I was never tempted, honest!) – so pretty much a piece of cake!!
All jokes aside, I know it might seem a lot to ask but if you look back at my 2 previous blog posts about how difficult it is being a new mum, it’s so so worth it to make things a little easier for her and it also earns you PLENTY boyfriend/husband points as well – which FYI are deducted every time you call her a dragon, Carl’s on about minus 34 if we’re counting.
I’ve really tried to look at this from a Dad’s point of view so I really really hope I can help someone and make lives a little easier.
Let me know what you think as always! I love all your comments and emails! Even if it’s things you don’t agree with, let me know and I can tell you why you’re wrong (just kidding!).
Thanks for reading,
Lots of love,