My husband will be celebrating Father’s Day for the first time this year. I thought it would be fun to interview him and reflect on the first six months of his fatherhood experience. Here is what he had to say.
Me: Describe your parenting style.
Husband: Relaxed, fun loving, playful.
Me: And I constantly worry, so I suppose we’re a good balance!
Husband: Haha yeah, we are!
Me: What’s your favorite thing about being a father?
Husband: It makes you way less self involved and gives you a shifted perspective. Pre-baby, you think about yourself or you as a couple. Post-baby, you look at things through an entirely different lens.
Me: How have you found ways to connect with our son?
Husband: I think it’s pretty common for the mom to have an easier time connecting with the baby initially. From day one, you have been focused on being nurturing and motherly. I have found my own unique way to connect with our son, which is playing with him and being silly.
Me: What has surprised you about being a father?
Husband: The level to which it has changed our lives. I knew it would change us, but I didn’t grasp how much until he was born. The amount of care our son requires. Watching you recover physically and go through so many emotions after he was born. And the ways it has changed me individually. In a way, sometimes when I’m not around him, I feel uncomfortable. I have almost forgotten who I was before he was born. It takes some practice to get back into the habit of being “me” away from the baby.
Me: That’s interesting. It’s not uncommon for a new mom to feel like she has lost who she was prior to the baby. But I didn’t really think it would affect a new dad in that way.
Husband: Yes, certainly surprised me!
Me: What is the hardest part about being a father?
Husband: That’s easy, lack of sleep! The physical stamina required through the lack of sleep, stress, and never ending to dos. And realizing that your relationship with your spouse isn’t the same. It can be hard to just have fun together like you would as a couple pre-baby. The baby now comes first and your relationship takes a back seat. But in a weird way, that’s what you would choose. I don’t take it personally. Does that make sense?
Me: Building on that topic, what surprised you about our relationship post-baby?
Husband: That you really have to fight to maintain the relationship you want with your spouse. I think you can get carried away in the stream of parenthood, and you need to remember that your partner needs care and thought too. And it’s not easy when you’re exhausted. You have to be purposeful and deliberate in your thinking and have self awareness and awareness for your spouse. You can sacrifice time with your spouse and pour energy into the baby, but there needs to be times that you focus on your spouse.
Husband: I don’t think there’s even a blog. These are just questions you wanted to ask me.
Me: You know there is a blog! Next question. What advice do you have for other first-time dads?
Husband: Try to keep it as fun and lighthearted as you can. There will be plenty of serious conversations and stressors on you and your spouse. You will at some point question your ability to be a dad. So I think it’s important to enjoy the journey as well. The word that keeps coming to mind is “joy.” Create moments of joy, not only with the baby, but with your spouse as well. Be grateful for and appreciate this little miracle you have created! Also, just try to be as present as possible. As a dad, you will stress about providing for your family, but sometimes, you need to stop and focus on the present and just enjoy.
Me: What is your favorite memory of fatherhood so far?
Husband: Ohh the first two weeks were pretty insane! I think one of us was awake at all times, so we had constant eyes on him to make sure he was breathing. We spent the first two weeks slumber partying on the couch and up at all hours of the night watching random movies as a family. And our first attempts at doing the things the nurses were doing for us in the hospital, like changing diapers and swaddling, were pretty comical.
Me: Father’s Day is fast approaching and we will be celebrating you for the first time! What do you expect your first Father’s Day to feel like?
Husband: It’s hard for me to guess what it will be like, but my initial reaction is “woah, I’m being celebrated on Father’s Day?” It’s still a little surreal. It’s a clarifying moment that makes this phase of your life seem real.
Me: Last parting words for other new dads?
Husband: Be present in the face of feeling extra responsibility. And use the fact that you have this new little person who is completely dependent on you to fuel you to be the man that you want your child to look up to.