I was surprised by the reach of part 1 of this series and all the emails I received from fellow fathers (aka Dadvocates) sharing their experiences, thoughts, and stories with me. It feels great to know that there are more overprotective-embarrassing-joke-telling dads like me out there in the world who take their jobs seriously.
One of the emails I got was from James L, who lives in Washington State:
Hey Pari, my wife is 4 months pregnant and I’m freaking out. Any advice?
Now James, I’m no dad-expert. I’m still a total newbie — but hey — I’ve seen some stuff. So I guess I’ll break it down for you or anyone else interested in what I have to say.
My main dadvice. Unfortunately, the heavens didn’t write an instruction manual for being a dad. Of course now with modern technology, there are books and apps, but if I can be honest, throw all that shit away. There are billions of people on this planet and as long as you’re smart, you’ll figure it all out. It’s fun. It’s frustrating. You’ll fail. But eventually you’ll find a rhythm and schedule that works for you and your family. Lastly, your heart will be so full once you meet the little one that it’ll explode out of your collar. You’ll be just fine, James.
Here’s some more:
Drink/travel/nap. Dude, you have five months until your life changes. You should be doing all three things listed in bold 24/7, on repeat. I’m jealous that you even have the free time to read blogs and email me. Close your computer, put your shoes on, and buy a round trip ticket for you and your wife to anyplace on earth. You’re welcome.
Watch out for grandmas. According to all grandmothers, your baby will always be too skinny. It’s apparently written in the United States Constitution that if a baby is not sleeping, there should be food in its mouth. You will be judged, scorned, and yelled at. Brace yourself.
Don’t drop the baby. Two weeks before my daughter was born I dropped my iphone in front of my wife. I was terrified that my butter fingers would come into play and it seriously kept me up at night. But don’t worry, once you’re handed the little one in your arms for the first time, your grip will forever be tighter than Emmitt Smith getting a hand-off. I haven’t fumbled once.
Presents. When your little one is born you’ll get clothes, which they’ll outgrow in weeks. You’ll get obnoxiously loud toys, which will drive you insane like you’re on the floor of Circus Circus in Vegas. Here’s a protip: ask for books. Have you read the book Mr. Tiger Goes Wild or The Day The Crayons Quit? They’re hands down some of the best narratives in the game. You and the baby will both enjoy the experience and bond by reading together. Also, you can never have enough books. Trust me on this.
Manhood. You’ll think you’re a man until you have to do that one activity that turns you into a total wuss. For me, it’s cutting the baby’s fingernails. Also, last Saturday I pulled my groin vacuuming. I’m going to tell all my friends it was a “wicked soccer injury bro”.
Bonus tip. No joke, your wife could have easily had her choice of any other man on the planet (aka dude-buffet) but she chose you. That’s some real shit. And then you guys made a tiny human together? SAY WHAT?! That’s some even more out-of-body-unexplainable-metaphysical real shit. Your wife is amazing. Remind her. Protect her. Love her. And if you vacuum the house before she tells you to, it may blow her mind, and she may let you sit on the couch for an extra 15 minutes and finish an episode of Deadliest Catch by yourself before she starts yelling again about baby-proofing the fireplace or whatever.
Again, you’re welcome.
So to James and all the expecting fathers out there, I salute you. You’re in for an amazing adventure. But honestly, I hope you’re not reading this and are seriously on your way to Cabo.