If you grew up on old TV shows (remember Leave It To Beaver?) and cartoons, fatherhood seems pretty simple. When your new bundle of joy comes into the world, you just pass out a few cigars. Later on, you’ll come home from work to dispense some sage advice (and maybe a little tough love) and settle down to watch some TV.
Of course in the real world, fatherhood isn’t nearly that easy. Becoming a dad might be the toughest job you ever take on. Here a few survival tips:
Take a break. Your life has been turned upside and punted into the next county. It seems like chaos. Stepping away, even for a few minutes, can help you keep calm and in control.
Make time for your baby. The more time you spend with your little one, the stronger of a bond you’ll be able to build. If possible, try to schedule time off from work during your baby’s formative months.
Babies are portable. In many cases, you don’t have to leave your child behind with a sitter. Instead take them with you. The outside stimulation will help them develop, and you’re sure to get lots of attention.
Take care of yourself. Having a new baby can be stressful, and it can be easy to neglect your own health. Don’t. You’re one of your baby’s most important long term assets, so behave accordingly.
Get advice. Children don’t come with a manual, so talk to other new fathers about your experience and theirs. Whatever situation you may encounter, chances are there’s someone who been there, seen that.
No, fatherhood might not seem as simple as Ward Cleaver made it out to be, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your world either. For a few more tips, check out this handy survival guide.