Fatherhood is a funny thing.
No matter how much you read, are taught, or learn on your own, there will always be something more to learn. I have found this to be true over and over again. Whether it was my first child, my second, or third, every time I learn something new.
When I prepared for becoming a father to my first daughter, I must have read five or six books. However, for my second daughter, I probably read one or two new ones. And for my third, well, I didn’t read any books.
The point is that we will always have something to learn.
So, how do we prepare for fatherhood? Is it about books or classes? Do we learn to rely on our own experience or that of others? To tell you the truth it is a combination of things.
That said, I have a few simple ways we can prepare to enter into fatherhood. Whether it is your first child, second, or third.
Preparing for Your First
This is probably the biggest jump for most of us. Going from no kids to your first child is seriously the most difficult, but wonderful at the same time. I remember the first year after my daughter was born was basically a bust.
Anything I had planned for that year went out the window.
Not because it was a lot of hard work, it was, but it was also because I was very obsessed with my firstborn daughter. I was willing to sacrifice all other things to enjoy spending time with her.
But, it was hard. The first six weeks were probably the most difficult. Sleep deprivation was hard on me, and I only had two weeks off for work. This led to a blur of craziness for me. But it was good.
Nevertheless, the best way to prepare for your first child, decide to say ‘no’ to anything you don’t have to do.
Preparing for Your Second
Some say the transition from one to two is the hardest. Well, people say that no matter how many kids you add to your family.
What I found was that this transition was not as difficult. In fact, we quite enjoyed it. Now, my oldest daughter was so excited to become a big sister that it was much easier because of this. She was so willing to help, and still is!
Yet, the hardest thing was learning to balance personal time and then time with the rest of the family.
I found myself struggling to spend time to myself in order to have a little alone time and make sure I was spending time with my daughters and wife. This was particularly more difficult because I only had two weeks off of work after my daughter was born.
What I learned was how to find the time I needed so I could give my family the best when they needed me.
Thus, I wake up at 5 AM.
Preparing for Your Third
Someone once told me that having your third child was like swimming in a pool with to sacks of tied to your arms. You are trying to tread water and stay above the water. And then, someone tosses another 50-pound sack on you and you slowly begin to sink.
Well, so far, that hasn’t been my experience.
Though I didn’t feel like I was barely above the water to begin with, and this time around, I have had a lot more time off to spend with my family. Maybe things will change when I head back to work? Maybe not.
What I have learned so far is how important it is to give my first two daughters the time they need too. If I don’t they will feel left out since the baby takes more focus.
Whether you are preparing for your first child or your sixth, there is always something to learn or do. And the more you do upfront, the better it will be for you and your family. But there is one more thing to remember:
You shouldn’t try to prepare on your own.
Make sure you are connecting with your spouse. Look for people you can talk to who are in a similar season in life or who have already experienced this transition. Books and classes can be helpful too.
Without a little bit of help, it could be a difficult transition.
It is important to be prepared so you can be the best father possible for your kids. It will be important for them and for you.
How have you prepared for becoming a father? What have your transitions been like to add children to your family?