As someone that spends their life encouraging people to embrace challenges and get out of their comfort zone, becoming a Dad really was a time to heed my own advice. The advice I was given from close friends was to not read every parenting book in the market and above all else, don’t overthink it. Both of which have turned out to be great pieces of advice. Every child and parenting experience is so different and I believe that as long as it comes from a place of love you cannot go wrong. This said, the challenges are real. Very real. But here’s some of my personal advice on how to overcome some of these challenges.
Embrace the new life
Some of my friends that are new dads continually talk about life before kids as if they had some kind of option to jump in a time machine and go back there. For me, it’s about embracing the new life and to be honest, I wouldn’t swap it for anything in the world. My advice? Make that mental adjustment. Realise and accept that these days you simply can’t head out for dinner with friends at the last minute or stay in bed until 11am with a hangover but this really is a small price to pay with everything that you gain.
It sounds simple but I used to be a bit of a closed book who preferred to try and work things out for myself. Not anymore. You need to be able to communicate openly and honestly with your partner and I have found that talking with Snezana and other friends with kids is a key to learning, keeping perspective and staying sane.
Learn to take naps
Sleep deprivation is a huge challenge for new parents. Before kids, I wouldn’t have had a nap since I was 6 years old but I have since learnt that when my kids nap, I nap.
Become a good host
Travelling with kids, near or far, is probably what I find the greatest challenge. This is especially true with Willow who isn’t a big fan of the car. Instead of trying to pile a toddler, a newborn, a teenager, a dual pram, nappies, baby food & snacks, wet wipes and everything else under the sun into the car… I have learnt to become a good host. We have turned our place into the place to visit. With 3 kids it is almost always a better option than trying to fight our way to various engagements.
Be a good role model
You really do have to think before you speak and act more than ever when you have kids. Someone is always watching and kids are like sponges so I adopt the attitude that they will only do as I say if it is also, do as I do.
Be flexible with your routine
As someone that was very particular about work out times and never being late to anything I have quickly learnt to be far more flexible. It allows me to be much more helpful to Snezana but also stay sane.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
As adults, we’re so used to having control over so many aspects of our life. Parenting is not one of them. You can’t always be in control and things won’t always go to plan and that is ok. Parenting is such an imperfect science that if you are striving to get it right all the time you will only let yourself down.
Enjoy the journey as the greatest little gold nuggets of being a parent happen when you least expect them and more often than not are because you were just there.
Love, love, love
Always be present and make sure love always come first.
Less than 4 years ago I was sitting on my couch, eating take away, watching the footy, drinking a beer and single. I literally feel like I went to bed and woke up married to the most amazing woman I have ever met and with three beautiful daughters. Being a father is my greatest challenge but it is my greatest achievement.
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