Dos and Don’ts of Being a Good Father

I’d write about what a new dad could do while his baby was born. That was extremely difficult for me because so much depended on the man. Some guys get quiet and uneasy, while others take pictures and say, This is amazing! In the style of Steven Spielberg.

I don’t know how you’re doing it, honey! But the rules become more consistent after you go home, assuming you go to work and your partner stays with the baby. Here are several tips to assist new fathers and mothers in getting through the first few weeks and months.

Give forewarning.

Please don’t wait until the last second to tell her you’ll be late getting home. Remember when you had to do chin-ups and were told you needed to do twenty? You’d get to 18 and think, “I only need two more; I’m going to make it.” So some jerk would say, “Give me ten more.” How much respect do you have for that man? Not even close.

Go back home and go into the house.

When you get home, it’s not the right time to talk to your neighbor across the fence about how life is going with a new baby. Assume that the house is always a Lord of the Rings orc battle and come in to take over the day shift. Your partner has probably been walking around with the baby, thinking, “I just have to hold out for 30 more minutes.”

Prepare to be overjoyed about the baby.

I know you love that tiny weeble more than anything else, but most new moms have this crazy sense of duty that makes them stay with their babies even if they cry like a crazed howler monkey. Hence, if you go in and say something like, “Take a shower; I’ve been loving him today and can’t wait to hold him,” she will be more eager to clean up, eat, or otherwise reset to be less crazy. It works out well for everyone.

Do not request, What do you include for dinner?

When you get home, the day is a success if everyone in the house is still alive. My friend’s husband asked why dinner wasn’t ready since she was at home all day doing nothing. Come on, Buddy. If you ask someone, What’s for dinner? They could say, Your left testis. Eat cereal, takeout, or breast milk that you wired. Try something.

Don’t keep talking about how hard your day was.

Even if angry silverback gorillas gave you a rectal exam as part of your day, she would likely top it. She might not only do better than you but also tell you things you didn’t know or aren’t interested in. You’re worn out. You are tense. But it will only open Pandora’s box, which isn’t very useful.

Also, remember that this person has been up all night watching your sleeping, peaceful, and vulnerable body. Please don’t give her any reason to try to suffocate you with a nursing pillow. She’s probably already thought of ways to kill you a few times, so don’t push her too far.

Never say you are babysitting.

Even if the mother of your child is too tired to notice, any woman who has slept for more than 20 minutes straight will slowly turn her head like Chucky and say, “You are not babysitting. You are the parent. I do know what this phrase means. If you are not the baby’s main caretaker but help the main caretaker take care of the baby, you are babysitting.

Keep the baby facing you and not behind you.

They throw up. In the Funny Home Video, the baby version of the man throws the baseball bat to a child and takes two pills. Everyone likes to lie on their backs, hold their child in the air, and fly them in front of their faces. Babies love this, and in their joy, they often yak right into your who’s-daddy’s-airplane-open-mouth. They don’t try to warn anyone. They are grenades for poop.

Be a true gentleman.

New dads are often ignored because it’s all about the baby. Let yourself be a gazelle in the meadow. You are in the trenches, where there is no glory. Be like those great CIA men with funny putty in their ears who grab a glass of water, load up the dishwasher, and do the sluggish body block when your nasty cousin with cold sores tries to stick her finger in the baby’s mouth.

At first, no one will notice your hard work, but when the dust settles, you will be admired and loved. At this point, what you do is very important. Some men get it immediately, and I say, “Right on” to you.

You are simultaneously the voice of reason, the rock of strength, and the cavalry. It would help if you spent time with your spouse because she’s likely experiencing the same emotions that Newt does when Ripley first finds her in Aliens: scared, tired, dirty, and overwhelmed, with the awful times happening mostly at night.