Parents internship diary: Advice to new fathers



Parents' internship diary:



Advice to new fathers





When I first became a dad, I was emotionally ready and I’d done tons of research about parenting. But I still found myself wishing I had been better prepared. So here’s a bit of what I’ve gleaned from our lovely daughter Feronia (nicknamed Nia) in her first year of life.
If I had a dad cheat sheet of do’s and don’ts, it might look like this:








Change diapers frequently.

Cook, clean and do the laundry.

Read to your kid (or kids) as often as possible.

Sing early and often.

Take lots of pictures and videos.



Purchase onesies with buttons.

Leave baby care to mom and grandma.

Use work as an excuse not to help.

Refer to your time with your child as babysitting.

Upset baby’s bedtime and eating routines.



On a deeper level, my first piece of advice to new fathers is to make sure you are really communicating with your partner. That doesn’t mean talking at your partner, it means actively listening to your partner.


No mother anywhere has ever appreciated her partner mansplaining how parenting should go. It doesn’t matter how much you know, how many books you’ve read or how right you actually are. Approach all conversations with your partner about parenting with and open ear and, even more importantly, an open mind!


Communication is a two-way street, of course, and your opinion does matter. Just be careful not to try and write checks that someone else is going to cash. For example, it’s great if you believe that your child should only eat home-cooked food rather than packaged baby food. But if that’s the route you want to take, you’re going to have to make that food!


And make sure to hear not only what your partner is saying but also how that person is feeling. It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of parenting -- clothes, food, exercise, etc. Take the time to gauge how your partner is feeling not only as a parent but also as a person.



Becoming a mother or a father is amazing but we are not defined by a single aspect of our lives. Keep in touch with your partner (and yourself) as an independent adult with desires, needs and interests beyond parenthood.


One of your most important roles as a father is to bring and sustain hope and positivity in the home. A new child is an incredible addition to your home. She or he also radically increases the amount of household work. No one will get enough sleep and, if your partner is breastfeeding, she will be more tired than anyone else.


It’s hard to be positive when you’re tired and worn down. As a dad, you can do your part to help everyone’s spirits stay positive. Do nice things for your partner. Show her that you love her as her own person, not just for her work as a mom. Remind each other that parenting gets, if not easier, than at least less sleep-deprived.



One of the greatest things you can do as a new father is to commit as much time as possible to your child. Put in the energy, make the sacrifices and carve out as much time as you can. There will be lots of reasons why you can’t, whether it’s a work call or a dinner meeting or other commitments.


None of that matters in the long run. When your child is an adult, you won’t wish you had spent less time together. The things that seemed so important at work will be long gone but your child will remain your child.


Give the gift of time now so that you can reap the reward in the future. And that reward is a healthy and happy relationship with your child when she or he grows up. Equally importantly, modeling a healthy male role in your child’s life will enable your child to become a better parent to your future grandchildren.



My final piece of advice for new fathers is to live in the moment, to be present, to truly engage with your child. Make sure the time you spend together is quality time. Ditch the smartphone, turn off the television and actually play with your child.


You may not notice a change from day to day but kids grow up so fast you wouldn’t believe it. Enjoy each stage of your child’s life and treasure that first taste of solid food, that first step and that first word. You will find that these moments in time are worth more than anything else in the world!




University of Notre Dame
University of Southern California
Master’s degree in English
20 years of education experience
Sunshine Home Co-founder

Author: David

Editor: Ciel

Reviewed initially by Sherry、Fei & David

Final approved by Kathy




Opened in 2010, International Sunshine Home now has five campuses and 1300 seats for students. It is Xiamen’s premier bilingual Arts and Sciences kindergarten. Our mission is to turn children into lifelong students who are independent thinkers, social communicators and loving people. New students are all welcome to enroll for the autumn semester.
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