As we get older and begin thinking about having kids, it’s often the case that we become misguided in the thought that being a parent is easy.
We think to ourselves, “How hard could it really be to raise a child?”
And while I was one of the many future parents that mistakenly thought raising a child couldn’t possibly be THAT hard, it didn’t take long after my daughter was born to find out that I was wrong. And I mean REALLY, REALLY wrong.
Because while we do expect things like free time and sleep to change upon entering parenthood, there are a whole lot of things nobody tells you about becoming a dad that affect your day-to-day life.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
1Childbirth is a Crazy Experience
Trust me when I say that childbirth is both a terrifying and beautiful experience that is impossible to prepare for.
Another thing to know is that you may not experience those unbelievable emotions that we’re told we should feel when we first hold our child.
And that’s completely okay. After watching my wife give birth, and holding a child that had a piercing cry, my first thought was, “Uhh, what did we just get ourselves into?”
And while my thought process obviously changed over time, the point here is that you shouldn’t feel guilty if you don’t feel the “Hollywood” mix of emotions upon birth.
2You’ll Constantly Feel Like You Have No Idea What You’re Doing
Before my daughter was born, I read about five books related to parenting and fatherhood. I thought, since I read all these great parenting books, I’d always know what to do when an issue arose.
Little did I know that there is no book that can prepare you for all of the crazy scenarios that you’ll experience as a new father.
From your infant kicking and screaming for seemingly no reason to trying to keep them still on the changing table, there are all sorts of things that will leave you thinking like you have no idea what you’re doing.
3The Lack of Sleep Will Be Worse Than You Thought
While jokes and comments about lack of sleep will be a constant before your child is born, nothing truly prepares you for just how little sleep you’ll actually get.
When I heard people talking about lack of sleep, my thought was, “Ehh, I’ll be fine if I have to wake up once or twice throughout the night.”
I quickly realized that getting even 5 hours of continuous sleep in a night would feel like heaven.
4There Will Be Times When You Question Whether You’re a Good Dad
There’s no handbook for handling every part of fatherhood the correct way.
And, for that reason, there will be times when you question yourself on whether or not you’re a good father.
Just being there and caring for your child and their mother makes you a good dad whether you realize it or not.
5Your Relationship With Your Partner Will Be Different
It’s not that it will necessarily be worse, but it will definitely be different.
Finding trustworthy babysitters (grandparents and close family or friends can be a god-send here) will be absolutely crucial to keeping your sanity and continuing to grow in a positive direction with your partner.
It’s also a good idea to gain an understanding of postpartum depression as it’s something that affects nearly 50% of new moms in one form or another.
6You’ll Find Out You’re Not as Patient as You Thought You Were
Now that we have three kids, my wife likes to say that they go through two phases in early childhood.
One where they don’t understand what you’re saying so they don’t do what you ask and another where they understand completely what you’re saying and don’t do what you ask.
Your patience will be tested throughout each stage.
7Going to the Bathroom Alone Will Be a Challenge
If you’re home alone with your child and have to go to the bathroom, you’ve got two choices:
1. Go to the bathroom quickly, shut the door, and listen to your child freak out and scream at the top of their lungs
2. Go to the bathroom and leave the door open so your child can see you
Obviously neither of these options are optimal but it’s one of the many realities of parenthood.
8You Will Experience Indescribable Moments of Joy
I consider myself a fairly stoic person and generally don’t express a great deal of outward emotion.
But when my daughter looked into my eyes, smiled, and said “dada” for the first time, it was a moment of joy that I had never experienced before.
Since then, there’s been plenty more where that came from.
While becoming a new dad will change your life in a lot of ways, the experiences and indescribable moments of joy make up for every possible downfall of fatherhood.