Next month will mark 6 months since becoming a first time dad. How time flies when you’re scrambling like a headless chicken gasping for air.
Safe to say I am not the same person I was 6 months ago. There have been many changes, some positive and some not so positive. Positives include: having a greater appreciation for our female counterparts, appreciating doing nothing, and of course our beautiful son. As night follows day the negatives that have developed (from issues arising mostly at night) include: bags under my eye, a complete disregard for wearing clothes covered in vomit, and gaining as many extra kg as Caleb currently weighs.
Being the first of my friends in New Zealand to enter the realm of wrestling baby seats into cars, trying to map out baby pictures from ultrasound scans like some deranged Topography map, and our close family on the other side of the world. We were flying somewhat blind but with lots of moral support from both family (via skype) and friends, we are managing to pull through pretty well.
I was told multiple times from friends and family to get as much sleep as possible. I’m not sure if they realise that sleep is not something you can accumulate and save for a later time, like health points on a computer game! So with zero experience, close family on the otherside of the world and too much info on the net, I approached fatherhood with as little pre-reading as possible. Having completed the first few months of fatherhood I have nowgained some insight on how to survive those first few months.
Here are a few practical parental survival tips from my first few months that you may not see on a web blog or baby book. Please note that these tips may help but are by no means the most important tips or ideas you should follow when preparing to become a father!!
1 – Learn to meditate
No joke this tip was handed down by the most unexpected burly looking kiwi bloke but is well worth its value; not to mention the huge support meditation and mindfulness has gained from medical research for mental health recently. Meditation has been great to help me drop off during the day for a quick nap (not in the physio room I swear), and also helped me to return home chilled and relaxed after a busy day, or just to “enjoy the moment” as they say. I recommend using an app called “headspace” which is free and only takes 10 minutes. Remember too, you don’t have to reach a higher place of enlightenment just let the process chill you out!
2 – Get Momento
Momento is another app, which acts like a photo diary where you can attach pictures and notes to dates. Your phone will soon be choca-block with baby pictures. Momento allows you to attaching the pictures with notes in a calendar format make these pictures much more memorable, such as first time meeting the grandparents, the first morning they slept well or the first time they vomited on your face.
3 – Exercise (but mostly for fun)
I tried initially to train most days in the gym in the early weeks which did not last. Feeling my knees tremble with DOMs at 2am while settling Caleb was not great. Learning to accept that training has to go on the back burner while still making time for a quick surf, SUP sea swim or anything which gets you in the sun and a smile on your face is much more beneficial. It’s a team event if you stick together and hold on tight for the first few months the dust will finally settle from what seemed like a cyclone touching down in your house, and you will find time in the day to train regularly again and get your life back.