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Daddy Dynamics: Identifying With Your New Role In The Family And In Life

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

It was fun (and thrilling) thinking about, it was probably more fun trying, not so much dealing (and living) with a pregnant wife, and now, you probably just don’t know what to think any more.

First you were the boyfriend, the significant other, the fiancé, the husband and head of the household and now you’re the father. While your other roles were probably much “easier” to understand and fulfill, parenthood most likely has you a bit confused, especially as to where you now fit in as part of the family, and as part of your wife and child’s life. Plus, if you’re a first time parent, you’re most likely clueless about what to do and how. Growing up in a generation where father was suppose to “know best”, you’re probably confused by all your “lack of enthusiasm” and confusion.

Relax, you’re not a bad husband, father, or man, you’re simply a “normal” one. Most new moms and dads are affected by this dilemma, and while mom had nine months to bond with the child and get use to the idea, now, it’s your turn.

A new baby means added responsibility (as if you didn’t have enough before) and added adjustments to your perception of life and your family, and it can often be quite overwhelming. The good news is, you most likely won’t be the one required to give up your job and try to deal with it all 24/7. The reality however is that you will have to be a well-informed and enthusiastic support and relief system for your wife and a willing participant in your child’s growth and development. Remember, you have to crawl before you can walk. Here’s a few basic concept to consider along the way.

1. Daddy-hood Is A Balancing Act: Remember the days when you expressed to your wife your inability to do two or more than two things at once. You may just want to consider taking up juggling. Parenthood is ALL about handling a variety of projects and situations simultaneously. And while men often receive a multitude of mixed messages about their new role and responsibilities, experts stress some of the following to make fatherhood and married life less stressful.

· Support your wife and child and place their needs ahead of your own. Maintain the essential attributes of your individuality, and do a volte-face into fatherhood.

· Once you’ve successfully shifted your priorities, find (new) fulfillment at home and at work.

· Respect and cherish your spouse as a new mom. Graciously embrace the (initial) lack of sexual intimacy and sex, and in fact, perhaps pamper her and your relationship with added attention to the child and the new duties and obligations. Experts say this may actually bring you physically, as well as, emotionally closer.

2. Nurture a New Attitude: Okay, so it’s no longer all about YOU. Newsflash, it probably never was, but sans family, you felt that way. So, now that you’re a dad, don’t brood over your brood, but instead consider a new set of priorities and a new attitude.

Many new dads say they feel as if they’ve lost rank and status in the family. Frequently they feel obliged to meet everyone else’s wants, needs, and expectations (something we women have been doing all our lives), while neglecting their own. Not to mention, trying to decipher their own feelings and confusion about fatherhood.

They also feel unloved and unwanted by their wives as the slowly creep down the priority page.

Then, there’s the issue of climbing the corporate ladder, which often coincides with capability to provide for the family, all while trying to maintain balance and normalcy. Experts note, that this can frequently be a key component to adding stress to an already stressful situation.

Remember, no pain, no gain…and with all the wonderful gains of fatherhood, there’s also lots of pains, starting with a shift in priorities, and an abdication of your old self. It’s not merely enough to work, come home, and enjoy a home cooked meal in front of the TV with a glass of wine or beer. You NEED to be involved in your partner and child’s life, and that may mean, helping cook or prepare dinner, washing dishes afterwards (so mom can pretty herself up), or tending to your little prince or princess while mom tends to the chores. It also means giving up things you’ve worked hard for and towards, are use to and enjoy. Saturday night just may not be “date” night anymore, it may not be as easy to have that “guys” night out when mom’s expecting you to take over for a while so she can have some time to herself, and about that little red hot two-seater sports coupe convertible, you just may have to reconsider and “trade it in” for a mini van. Experts say, allow yourself to “grieve”, then move on. Learn to accept and embrace the changes, and you’ll no doubt get to enjoy that little red “rocket” when junior’s old enough to drive and “HE” thinks it’s cool and essential for “you’ to have it.

3. Make Self-Improvement A Rule Of Thumb: How do you improve a situation? Certainly not by ignoring it. How you feel, not only affects your spouse, but now also affects your child, his/her perception of your, relationships and life. So, think before you act and speak. But, according to experts, it’s important that you do both: communicate about and act on your feelings.

Remember, your wife may know you well enough to know when something’s “wrong” (or at least she use to before she had a totally dependent person to look after and tend to), but she probably won’t know what’s bothering you, why, or how to make situations better. Experts also say, that new parents often experience similar concerns and frustrations. Your insecurities and fears are nothing to be afraid or ashamed of, in fact frequent discussions can be helpful and encouraging to you both.

Professionals also recommend speaking to and confiding in others who’ve already been in and have successfully gotten past your situation. They emphasize that men need to take their wives’ lead when it comes to “publicizing” your “problems”. Of course they strongly advise diplomacy and discretion, but they also emphasize the hidden dangers in doing what men do “naturally”, bottling up emotions and “toughing it out”.

It’s imperative to bond with others so that you can overcome negativity and feelings of being a lone warrior. Male support groups can be fundamental to helping you attain and achieve marital and parental success. Plus, talking with other guys will validate your feelings, experiences, and worries in your perspective and on your terms. After all, parenting should be a rewarding experience for both of you. Experts suggest that learning about fatherhood will encourage you to learn more about yourself, and that will have a positive domino effect on your work, your wife, your love life, and your family






Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Daddy Dynamics: Identifying With Your New Role In The Family And In Life

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