Here’s what I’d tell myself if I could go back in time to the moment we found out we were having a baby:
Wow! You’re going to have a baby! A human one, right? Ok, just making sure we’re on the same page. Well, I’VE got THREE human children! And they’re all still alive and they’ve got 60 fingers and toes between the three of them so that qualifies me to give advice.
So, father-to-be, here it is:
1. Yeah. You’re totally not ready. I mean, have you actually ever changed a diaper? And, sure, staying up all night was fun in college. But that’s because you had snacks and there wasn’t a tiny person screaming at you the whole time. And what about when the baby gets bigger and you have to buy a pony! Do you know how much ponies cost? Probably a million dollars. Do YOU have a million dollars?!
2. But, seriously, don’t worry. You’re gonna be fine! When I found out I was going to be a father, I was…surprised. And totally not ready. My wife had just graduated college but I’d taken a few years off and still had a good two years to go. We didn’t have any money. We didn’t have anything figured out. I remember getting the phone call and telling my wife everything would be fine because we could grow carrots in our backyard (we couldn’t). After I hung up, I looked down at myself. I was wearing moccasins, cut off shorts, and a t-shirt with a skull on it. I also may have been practicing quarter staff fighting with a friend at the time.
But we did it! And that kid turned out pretty great.
I mean, you’re definitely not “ready” to be a dad. But it’s not because your shirt is stupid. It’s because there’s no way to become a father without actually being a father. Because you don’t need a bunch of money or official dad clothes. You need patience, selflessness, and a warehouse of love. And you’ll get those things once that kid comes along. You should still totally prep with books, savings, practice with other kids, etc. But don’t freak out. You’ll learn.
3. Life is gonna be AWESOME. No, you won’t be able to go to the bar every night anymore. You’re going to have to get up early. There will be lots of poop. And other… stuff. But you’re gonna have a blast. I’m not sure I can really explain how sitting around with your wife and looking at a baby is somehow the best thing ever. But it is. You’re going to love this.
4. Ok, but now you actually have to do this. Start taking care of your baby right now. Yes, it’s still in your baby-mama’s tummy. So take care of her. Be a man. And get ready to love a baby. Stop worrying about yourself so much. Eat your vegetables. Learn to knit.