You're a new Dad? 10 tips for you to follow to ensure you rock your first Father's Day.
On behalf of all mothers, I’m going to publically declare: New moms are right. Always. No matter what. For new Dads this may come as a shock and adjustment.
Here are some tips for Dads to help navigate the unpredictable early newborn days with Mama Bear.
Just let it go
Dads of newborns should shut up, smile and bear it. Do not fight back, don't try to defend against her thoughts, just agree with her, apologise (leave out the sarcasm & eye rolling) and just plain help her. If you don’t know how to help – google it. Don’t ask her, she has enough to deal with as her body leaks strange things and she has a vacuum attached to her breast.
Protect her for 3 months
She’s going to be overly sensitive – plan for that. I'm not talking forever, and this is not the time to be principled about bending your sturdy backbone, just cave a little for her. For at least the first 3 months. Not 3 days. Don’t ask questions, just do it in the name of protecting her.
Relieve her stress
If moms were missing a limb or two, we’d get more help but apparently extracting a person from our bodies and having our lives tipped upside down is no big deal since our superhuman strength has many moms back at the grocery store by Day 4 post-partum.
Take over her usual tasks or arrange for help for cleaning, laundry and meals. For longer than the first week – at least the first 3 months. (Sense a theme?)
It’s not a competition about who sleeps less
New moms are not themselves - we are tired, we are frustrated, we are overwhelmed. For every baby, not just #1. This is not a household competition but moms are MORE tired, frustrated and overwhelmed than you Daddy. Moms need at least 3 months to recover from birth, find a new balance, juggle our new hormone overload and moms require a sturdy partner in that adjustment.
You’re a team, but her story is not yours
Dads - don't convince yourself that you are on the same journey as your wife. Until you have the opportunity to be carry a child and either push it out or be sliced & sewn, or until you have the God given chance to breastfeed for hours on end non-stop, or you get to cry at the drop of a hat due to post-partum issues, it's not the same journey. Let her own it.
You need to be quiet, show utmost respect for your spouse, support her, agree with her and help her make her chaotic new life as simple as possible. Let her cry if she wants to. And if she cries too much, get her help. Most Post Partum Depression gets missed because moms and dads don’t know the warning signs. Read up on it yourself (google!) so you can get her help if needed.
Be Involved & Stay Involved
Be involved, keep up the involvement and carve a niche out for you and the baby – even if mama bear tells you you’re doing it wrong. Be persistent. Hard to deal with the “she’s always right” rule here so change the diaper her way, but still do it. You need to bond with that baby (and bite your tongue).
Actions are Impressive
Your action & involvement is the place to impress these days. Do what you say you will, go beyond her request and show her how much you care about her and the new baby. Telling her you will do the laundry or pick up dinner on a regular basis will make her fall in love all over again with you.
Don't dismiss her reality by ever telling her it's not that hard or it's easy. If you think it's easy, than thank her, because likely she's making it easy for you. That's the truth.
Keep Loving Her
Most moms I know say that a new baby highlights the cracks in their marriage. Moms are too busy falling in love with a baby to notice Daddy. When mama does notice Daddy he’s doing something wrong like emptying the dishwasher the wrong way. Just keep loving her and tell her she’s a great mom.
Father’s Day is around the corner and your accolades are coming.
Just remember, she’s always right.