So, I would like to officially introduce my husband Bryce, the man I love and reference all the time. I’m stoked for you all to finally cyber-meet him. You’ll love his advice for new dads! His point of view is hilarious, real and helpful.
Once upon a time my sweet wife got this idea in her head that I should write a post with advice on becoming a new father, unfortunately for her, not only am I a mediocre-at-best father of one (soon to be two) child who has no business giving advice to anyone, but I hate giving advice altogether. I mean, that’s not entirely true; I will happily opine on things like pie flavors and cable companies, but when it comes to anything even remotely meaningful, I’m of the opinion that life is best experienced by your own design and a whole lot of trial and error. It’s been about 18 months since our boy was born, and in the combined 8 or so hours of his life that he’s been entrusted solely to my care, I somehow managed to keep him alive and happy, which leads me to conclude that as long as you love your kid and have any desire to be a good parent, it’s probably hard to screw up too bad. That being said, I did ponder the assigned topic for weeks on end and have come up with one, and only one, piece of advice, and perhaps an additional “observation” from the life of a new father.
My only advice for new dads (I know this may sound silly, but I’m dead serious) is to strengthen your core. I’ve had some moments of grueling physical endurance in my days (like the one time I ran a mile), but nothing reduced me to pain and tears like the 90thminute of holding and bouncing a crying child. I think (and pray) that our first child was a particularly unique bundle of love, because he wanted nothing to do with sleep if it wasn’t in your arms as you walked endless circles around the house while your entire midsection trembled, screaming in pain for the sweet relief of a soft couch and an icepack. Sitting down prematurely was like hitting the reset button and starting the game over; you could only sit down if the binky went completely limp in his mouth –signaling that he may actually be asleep– and even then it was risky. My back aged about 30 years in three months, and I’m convinced it’s all because my midsection feels like a good tray of jell-o. I can’t tell you how many times I cursed myself for retiring from abdominal exercises of any kind in the 7th grade after I did like 15 sit-ups and was sore for a week.
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Really, this is probably the only thing that I wish someone would have tipped me off about. The reality is I probably wouldn’t have done anything about it –as I write this I’m still softer than a roll of Charmin and the only crunches I’m interested in are the chocolate ones– but at least I could have been mentally prepared, and there is an outside chance I may have done something about it. Either way, good advice is still good even if it comes from a hypocrite. I’m also pretty confident that the benefits of a toned core reach far beyond baby rearing, but I couldn’t say for sure.
As for my fatherly observation, it’s pretty simple. Men really don’t hold a candle to women in much of anything of importance, and watching a mother at work will confirm that to anyone. Pre-child, when the alarm went off on Monday morning I wanted to beat it with a hammer. Post child, when the alarm goes off on Monday morning I still want to beat it with a hammer, but I also feel this really guilty sense of relief that all I have to do is go to work today. While I recognize that my role has some degree of importance and comes with its own challenges, I just can’t help but think that I got off really easy. To me, being a mother looks way too hard. When I find out I have to babysit our ONE child for two hours I go into straight meltdown mode. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing and being with my kid, as long as we’re under proper adult supervision. We can be so happy playing with cars and toys and chasing each other and then boom, all of the sudden he’s whacked his noggin on the corner of the door, he’s screaming and wiping his snot in his hair, I can’t find a binky or a bottle, and he decides it’s an optimal time for a killer poo. I just don’t think I’m wired to handle those situations. So in short, I would say that my first year as a father has made me recognize that without a good mother and wife, I’m helpless and hopeless, and therefore, have been filled with an unbelievable amount of gratitude towards mothers, women, and the blessed fact I was born with a Y chromosome.
Isn’t he awesome? I think so! Show him some love so that one day he might post again. :)
*Disclaimer. While in this post Bryce describes himself as a “mediocre at best” dad, I just have to interject to say that is completely untrue. He is honestly the best father I’ve ever witnessed and goes above and beyond to help and support me. I love this article because in his humorous way he pays tribute to mothers and acknowledges that parenting can be seriously hard. Just don’t let him fool you into thinking he does nothing to help with the kids around the house, the opposite is true.