Prior to Finn joining us (aka turning our world upside down!), I had many male friends give me advice about being a dad, and what it involved. It varied quite a bit, but for the most part the gist of the advice was that the hands-on stuff was for the mum. Now, I have to admit many of my friends are a few years older (by a few, I mean a few decades) and I had been warned about the southern man syndrome – a New Zealand term for a rough and ready, partially chauvinistic male. This doesn’t apply to all my mates … I might be friendless pretty quick if I didn’t clarify that.
Here’s a few of the classic tips I received.
- Don’t wake in the middle of the night to assist with parent duties. Once you do it once, you are screwed. Just pretend you are sleeping.
- Don’t consider changing a diaper/nappy. This is not a man’s job. Leave the wife to it.
- Continue to go about your life as normal. Go to the pub when you normally would, go out with your mates as always, and generally don’t let the baby stuff up your life as you know it.
- Don’t show your son too much affection.
Now I have to be honest, life is a little bit like Monkey see, Monkey do. I was lucky enough to have a great Dad who was hands on from the start and gave my siblings and I the love and support we needed. My dadding style is largely based on what I experienced from my own dad. But let’s remember, not everyone had the same dad experience as me. So if yours wasn’t a positive one, then you can be the person to change the tradition. I know of a family who has a history of abusive, controlling, chauvinistic males. They have been this way for generations. The guys brush off their a##hole behaviour as a genetic trait, so all of a sudden it’s acceptable. And the women seem to enable them. The son’s born into this family have a small chance to get it right for the next generation. But they will have to stand up and turn the tide. They will be the “real men” in the family. Hopefully.
If you have only one shot to be a dad, don’t you want to do it brilliantly? Who wants to be that dead beat dad that sits on his iPhone and scrolls through his Facebook feed? I took all of the advice from the males around me, filtered it and flushed most of it down the dunny (a toilet, for you North Americans). A good dad wants to be a part of their child’s life, not just pick and choose the fun bits he wants to do.
When Finn came screaming and kicking into the World, I made it my mission to cherish every single moment with him and Lisa. Here in New Zealand, your wife and baby get checked into a “recovery facility” (and no, not along with the alcoholics!) for a few days post-birth. It’s an amazing service, funded by the government. If you are here in New Zealand, do not even consider turning this down. They rolled out a lazyboy for me too so I could be there to support Lisa through the first few nights. The best part of it being that I could ask as many questions to the experts whilst we were there. One of the key things I wanted to know was how to change that first shitty nappy. You know, the black tar nappy. And yes, I took a photo and Im still not sure why, but I did. And you probably will too. But anyways, changing that very first dirty nappy is what you need to do. Don’t put it off and say you’ll do the next one. Roll up your sleeves and get involved. Your missus will feel that you are there for the long haul, through thick and thin.
Here’s a few things I wish I had been told earlier :
- Breathe through your mouth. That stuff is seriously potent. Like flatulence 22 hours after you’ve consumed a killer Vindaloo. Only twice as deadly.
- If it’s a boy, cover that fire hose whilst your are changing. It can go off at any point and it soaks everything, and everyone, within a two metre radius. Including iPhones …
- Pull out the flaps. This is the single most important thing you need to know about diapers and nappies. No sh*t! Literally. If you want no runny poos down the wee ones legs, up their backs, all over your clothes and furniture, then pull out the flaps on the diaper. Easy to spot – they are little white flanges. Once you have fastened the diaper in place, pull those things out. They are life savers. Just do it. Don’t try “living and learning”. But if you do have any hilarious poonami stories or explosions please do share.
A study has shown that Dad’s who spend time with their kids have happier wives. Enough said. Apparently your chances of getting laid, double. Now I’ve perked your attention… lol.
So Dad’s, embracing the poo is so much more than just taking your turn to change the diaper. It’s about bonding with your child and investing in quality time. You may think that your child will never remember whether you changed a nappy or not, and you are probably right, but in the long run you have missed out on HOURS of bonding time. This could have an affect on your relationship with them. Changing nappies can be fun, in fact it can be hilarious. Particularly when your son decides to do a 180 degree flip whilst his bum and legs are covered in baby curry – not fun, but in retrospect absolutely hilarious.
Get involved with the Nappies lads.
Founder of ModernDad.guru