So you’re a parent…
You can read the books, you can seek counsel from your family and friends, however, nothing can fully prepare you for becoming a parent for the first time.
Yes, it’s a wonderful feeling with plenty of new experiences and emotions, however, there is also the fear element…“I’ve never done this before”, “ Am I being too over protective?”, “How many times a week should I bath my child?”
Truth be known I wasn’t prepared to become a father, and just like with many things I’ve experienced in life, a combination of prayer, luck and intuition has made the task less daunting.
These have been my key findings so far;
Presence Not Presents
Just being present really helped me to establish a bond with my daughter. Even when my wife was doing the lion share of the caring in the early days my daughter knew I was there. When my wife got up to breast feed in the middle of the night my daughter saw me. When she had her jabs I was there, and luckily when she took her first steps I was there. You don’t have to speak, play or interact all the time, just be there so that when they need you they can find you.
Never under estimate their capacity to understand
My wife and I agreed that we would explain things to our daughter, and not perceive that her age would be a boundary in her understanding. We would explain that we were going out and that if she woke up in the night grandma (or the babysitter) would be there and we’d be back to check in on her once we got home. This has paid dividends, as the transparency has served us well. We don’t have to sneak out, we don’t have to tell the babysitter not to go in the room if our daughter wakes up. It’s imperative for our daughter to know we do things without her, leading on to my final point!
It’s not all about the baby
The most fundamental relationship is with yourself, then with your partner (if you have one) and then your child. If I’m not right within myself, my marriage can’t function, if my marriage doesn’t function the relationship between us as parents and our daughter suffers. It goes against everything we’re taught but put yourself first, (within reason) then your relationship and then the child.
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