A little over six years ago, I became a dad. It wasn’t a surprise, so I should’ve been prepared, right? Wrong. I don’t care what you do – construction, customer service, hostage negotiation—PARENTING is the toughest job there is.
Before Ava came into the picture, the previous years found me only concerned about myself, which these days is probably normal for a 20 or 30-something living on their own.
Becoming a father for the first time changed me. Everyone said it would. Everyone told me everything would be different. “Get your sleep now,” they said… “Play all your video games now,” they said… “Go out to restaurants now,” they said.
I was prepared for the surficial changes.
I wasn’t prepared for the wholly emotional roundhouse kick to the face that becoming a dad delivered me.
You can comb through the shelves marked ‘parenting’ in your local bookstore and you’ll find a few books on fatherhood, but regardless of how everyone prepares you for the journey ahead, fatherhood is something you just need to experience firsthand.
The books might give you a slight edge – but words on a page don’t tell you how you’re really going to respond in your gut when your child cries for hours on end while you transition a co-sleeping baby into their own bed; when they lose their first tooth; when they ask you if Santa is from the North Pole or how the Tooth Fairy gets into their bedroom; books don’t tell you how to respond when life is lost or when your child cries for hours because her best friend is mean to her.
And the book doesn’t tell you how to maintain patience during teething, potty-training, tantrums and the endless questions.
You know why? Because there IS no right way.
Fatherhood (and parenting in general) provides huge moments of self-doubt.
As a stay-at-home dad for over six years, I sometimes find myself on an island. I can’t always refer to a book for the answer. I often reflect on how I’m ‘parenting’ and wonder if I’m doing the right thing.
I guess the point is that you can read as many books as you like, but you’re never really going to be prepared—and that’s ok. Fatherhood is one of those things you figure out as you go.
I trust in the fact that I was raised with a good moral compass and solid values and that these things, serving as a foundation, will encourage me and guide me to make the best decisions.
Will they always be the right ones? Nope. And that’s ok.
This is #HowWeFamily.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored post on behalf of my friends at Tylenol with the #HowWeFamily campaign, however, the words and opinions are my own. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.