Things no one tells you about being a Dad!
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
When myself and Ben started Lads to Dads, we were both new to the parenting game, and if we're honest with ourselves it was a world as alien to us as going to the pub for a soft drink and a nice chat about Ladies Bowls.
But that doesn't mean we didn't struggle through the first year putting a brave face on it, pretending we had everything under control!
Don't get me wrong we weren't completely hopeless, and I'd like to think we've done a pretty good job so far, but as every parent will tell you babies don't come with a manual or instructions (and lets be honest not many blokes would read them if they did) it wasn't until we started to be a bit more honest with each other that we both realised we found the same things difficult, and there were certain, similar scenarios, where we both found ourselves saying "what are we supposed to do here then?"
Among other reasons this drove us to set up our "from Lads to Dads podcast" so we could chat about these things and hopefully create a place where Dads (and mums) could come and realise it wasn't just them going through this, we all find ourselves in similar scenarios and if we could make light of the situation and add a bit of comedy to it then even better.
"To err is human" or my favourite "To judge a man by his weakest link or deed is like judging the power of the ocean by one wave" Elvis Presley. W
Who knew Elvis was so into quotes, my guess is if he was still around today he would have swapped his karate chops on stage for MMA grappling, his cheeseburgers for healthy, clean eating, and his uh huhs for posting quotes on Instagram, #Elvishasleftthebuilding.
To Make learning on the job a bit easier here are some of the things we wish people had told us:
1. Baby grows require a PHD in engineering.
Nobody ever tells you how difficult baby grows are to get on your baby, especially as your baby will wiggle and move around more than your grandma on the dance floor, at a wedding, after too many Babychams.
The problem with baby grows is that you have to match the right press studs, if you clip the wrong ones together it's the equivalent of buttoning your bottom button on your shirt into the button hole on your collar, and if you think it's as simple as remembering which press studs go where then you're sorely mistaken my friend!
There are at least twelve buttons on a baby grow that's 479001600 possible combinations (rough estimate) pair that with sleep deprivation, crying, and your baby doing a rolling action reminiscent of a crocodile when it latches onto it's prey and you've got yourself a challenge which wouldn't be out of place on S.A.S who dares wins!
Luckily we've got you covered with a little "Dad hack" all you have to do is take a set of different coloured sharpie pens, and colour code the press studs, so once you work out which ones go where you can colour each matching press stud the same colour and Bob's your uncle no more hassle!
2. That's not a baby it's a vampire!
We all know babies don't do much for your beauty sleep, but what people don't tell you is your baby will sleep in the day (if you're lucky) but awake during the night sometimes with a blood curdling scream, sometimes creepily laughing to themselves, but one thing is always certain they have awoken because they want to latch onto another human and feed on them, which often leaves you wondering if they're a baby or Dracula himself!
3. Babies heads are magnetically attracted to doorways
Door frames, corners of tables, open drawers, sinks, nothing is safe from your child's head, and you'll be happy to know that as soon as they can walk they will be more than pleased to take a run up when smashing their head off things, just for maximum impact!
4.You start to feel like Willy wonka!
It doesn't matter how many episodes of supernanny you've watched or how many books you've read by some professor with an unpronounceable name, when you're child has reached defcon 5 on the tantrum scale, sometimes the only thing that can calm them down is their favourite treat, (and yes I know literally the worst thing you can do but extreme circumstances sometimes require extreme measures) chocolate buttons are like crack to my daughter and it doesn't matter what is going on or how upset she's got herself, if you whip out a bag of those, the world is a better place again!
The trick is to pretend from birth that fruit and vegetables are the holy grail of treats and by the time they're a toddler they'll be begging you for a carrot and an apple while you sit back smugly awaiting your parent of the year award!
5.You become an expert in telling white lies!
You become an expert in telling little white lies, because it becomes apparent really quickly that if you say no to something, it will require an explanation, but the catch is young children don't often have enough life experience for the explanation to make sense. This causes your little white lies to get more and more ridiculous.
You may be eating some chocolate and your child asks if they can have some, but you don't want to share, at the same time you don't want to set a bad example when it comes to sharing, and just like that out of your mouth tumbles "oh you won't like this it's very spicy!!"
6. You feel a love you've never felt before.
When your child is born there will eventually come a point where you realise you've never felt a love like this before, it's indescribable, you would literally do anything for them, and would put them above yourself in any scenario. You also might find yourself doing weird things like just staring at them.
7. Becoming ambidextrous is a learned skill not something you're born with.
When it comes to eating and you have a baby or young child, especially if you happen to be a single parent. You learn very quickly that if you want to eat at the same time as feeding your child, you will have to learn to eat one handed, if not you're going be eating last and it's definitely going to be cold!
8. You will become way softer when it comes to anything involving kids
You won't be able to watch documentaries or films where kids get killed or kidnapped without it making you feel all sorts of emotions, and remember when those cute little kids used to come on shows like Britain's got talent, and you couldn't give a shit, now you'll be loving it..... I'm not crying, you're crying..... I'm just tired, alright!!
9. You will fear the words "daddy where are my other drawings"
Colouring and drawing is the perfect activity to pass the time on a rainy day, the downside to this is toddlers are absolutely terrible at drawing!
Although you're proud of them and encourage as much as you can, there are only so many pictures of the same orange circle you can keep. I began by keeping every drawing my daughter did putting them on the fridge and in the drawer but eventually as guilty as it makes you feel you have to be ruthless and only save the best ones. I now live in constant fear of the day when she asks "Daddy, where are my other drawings?"
10. Your non-parent friends just don't get it.
They'll do their best to understand and they will say they get it but they don't. They get that you're late to everything now and you blame it on the kids, but they don't get what it's like trying to get somewhere on time with kids, they don't get that it's not as easy as picking them up grabbing their stuff and walking out the door.
They get that you have to reign it in a bit on the nights out, but they don't get how it feels to parent hungover or how sometimes you're so knackered from parenting that going on a mad one is the last thing you want to do, or on the flip side how much you'd kill for a night out and they get to do it whenever they want, and they definitely don't get how precious sleep is, and how lucky they are to get a lie in every weekend!
Don't forget to check out our podcast from lads to dads, available on Spotify and apple podcasts.