Last Saturday was Father’s Day. My first as an actual Father if you don’t count that time I legally adopted a nest of feral guinea pigs, and mentored them into domesticity.
I have been a Dad for just over 7 months now and feel this is an apt time to reflect on what I have learned.
- Kids are like dogs until at least 3 years. They need routine, immunizing, social interaction and a simple balanced diet to ensure a glossy coat. Both can be walked on a leash but should not be kept in hot cars.
- Dad’s will always be the entertainers. You are the feature act each night in the daily show of Mum and Bub. When they are both getting sick of each other like housemates on the 40hr Famine, Dad arrives for the nightly Home from Work Variety show. No need for new material. This crowd appreciates tight sets of old favorites, much like the Comics Lounge. They don’t pay you for your performance however, but then neither does the Comics Lounge.
- Like Guitar, Karate and Coffee...no matter how good you are at being a Dad, there is always someone better out there. Be open to learning from them.
- Playing with your kid will distract you from most of the stresses of life, unless you stress stems from coming up with ways in which to entertain a grizzly, bored baby who is no longer responding to games of sit-on-the-bed-whilst-Dad-does-some-stuff.
- Walking alone with your baby in public, sans Mother, disturbs and confuses people more than ShaneWarne’s neck. People tend to be unsure of a twenty something guy in dark glasses with a small child. The look on their face is a mixture of intrigue(is it a celebrity? Normal people don’t do that!) disgust ( some sort of pervert has stolen that child! POLICE! POLIZIA?!) or pity(Oh poor guy. He’s lost his wife and his hair and now has to care for that child alone).
- If you are going to be a Dad, you are going to need guns. I speak of the colloquial term of upper arm muscles and not weapons, although these may be handy for teenage years if you have a Girl. Holding a baby for long periods of time requires just a little bit more strength than you probably posses pre-fatherhood. Hit the gym or punch out some push ups...then invest in some new V-necks to show off for your ripped bod for the big new role.
- Dad’s need to be OK with sacrifice. They make more of them than a remote East Papuan tribe. Money (new clothes for baby, not you) Sleep (you can’t if it can’t!) Sex (only every second day? C’mon!) Attention (that’s great that you discovered a cure for Cancer from used muesli bar wrappers Honey, but our Kid drooled the first letter of his name today!)
- If you happen to have a male child, and it happens to be human, it will be a little bit extra rad for you as a Dad. We can’t help it. We have an in built gender bias that secretly loves to have a mini-me to watch footy with and dress up like the real life Ken doll we were never secure enough to own.
- Life does change. For the better. Sure it’s not easy, you get new types of hard (which involves more Poo than previous, unless you work at a Sewage plant) and new types of great (like the sound of your kid laughing at your stupid antics). Overall, great is greater of the two emotions.
- A confidence develops from your new role as father. Your options and perspective on life narrows, but in a good way. Instead of having what seems like infinite options, you streamline into a few important ones. What’s best not just for you, but all of your new little family. You have less time for time-wasters whether its people, events, jobs, pursuits or ideas.
A work colleague once told me that he could lick his nipples. He also said “Kids are the orgasm of life, you don’t realize how good they are until you’ve had one”. Bit of a weird old perv. But wise.