Ok, Let’s set the scene. Cue the suspenseful music as the camera slowly goes from a blur to a tight focus on you looking in the mirror. Your voice, shaking like a stripper, echoing in the bathrooms: “So, two lines definitely means pregnant? Take a couple more.” and SCENE!
Listen man, we’ve ALL been there and it’s a rush of emotions that come over every man when you find out you’ve been chosen to join the Fatherhood fraternity. Good news…that was me less than a year ago, so let’s take a couple breaths because you came to the right place. Let’s dive into Five first- time father fears (Don’t ask me to say that more than once). I hope this helps ease some of that panic you’re feeling because I promise…you got this!
Relax, You’re Never Ready. (play Everything I Am – Kanye West)
That’s the first thing most fathers said to me when I talked to them about not feeling ready. That’s cool, but I still had the bubble guts every time I thought about how I had never changed a diaper. Here’s the thing: it’s true that nothing beats the OJT (On the Job Training) of being a father, BUT what they don’t tell you is that you’re more ready than you think. Like Ye’ said “Everything I’m not made me everything I am”
1) How can you be ready if you’re still struggling and making mistakes? All those mistakes we made back in the day (…or last week) is giving us the wisdom and insight to pass on to our children to help them avoid/overcome those same obstacles. The key is actually correcting those mistakes ourselves though…what did MJ say? “I’m STARTING with the Man in the Mirror!” *heee heee*
2) Pops left you when you were a baby too? Never had a great relationship with him? Well now we know exactly what kind of father we need to be into order to break those cycles. Take some time to tap back into what that experience made you feel. Remember the good examples of male role models you had, saw or wished for. Guess what? Now you get to become everything that you wish you had for your baby.
3) Career not where you want it to be? Not feeling where you are in life financially? Good news: NOTHING motivates you to get on your grind like loud baby lungs if they’re not fed! Seriously, imagine what you can teach your son by working hard and going from where you are right now to smashing those goals. He’ll have a front row seat to see what it takes to reach success because “My dad might’ve been down, but he never stayed down”!
4) Unsure if you and your partner are going to work long term? Don’t want to raise your child in a divided house? Yes you are a Father, but you are still human. Parenthood is definitely stressful on relationships, but not only does the baby need both of you…you need each other. Me and my wife had epic fights at 3am over who was going to get up and feed the baby (I usually lost…) it happens! One thing I always say in the heat of battle to bring us back to reality is “I am not your enemy. The enemy is the enemy“. Regardless if you make it or don’t, you are a team moving forward. A team with one goal: giving your child the best life possible. You can’t fear the unknown and I know we all want to raise our kids in a healthy environment of love, but that’s up to both parents. Every situation is different, but worst case scenario, Will Smith said it best “It didn’t work out with me and your mom, but yo push come to shove you were conceived in love”
5) What do I do if I’m having a daughter? Well…we remember what we did as a young reckless dude. There’s only one option – get your permit and stock up on firearms because we don’t play games with babygirl!
See that wasn’t so bad right? Okay, New scene…Cue Musiq Soulchild’s “Love” as the camera goes from a blur to focusing on the face of a baby in your arms with innocent eyes looking up at you like a superhero because of everything you ALREADY are. Told you bro, You got this!
– Karlton James