The Fourteen (Fatherhood) Commandments
July 8, 2011
by Shawn Bean
© Courtesy Weldon Owen
When a work colleague sent me this blog post, I felt like someone had illegally hacked into my brain and downloaded my deepest, most introspective thoughts (you’d only need about 2 MBs of storage space for all that). But it actually came from the noggin of a bearded dude named Alex, husband of blogger Joanna Goddard. (According to Joanna’s blog, A Cup of Jo, she loves “fashion, design, photography, bikes, and the people I love,” which means she’d be gaga over a snapshot of Alex in a Marc Jacobs suit on a Schwinn.)
Last Monday, Alex guest blogged his “eight confessions of a new dad.” Here’s a sneak peek:
* I didn’t bond with baby right away.
* Time alone with the baby was surprisingly profound.
* My wife acted a little like she was on drugs.
* I was nervous my wife would like the baby better.
* Children’s books are boring.
* Everything turned a corner at nine months.
* I daydream about a future with Toby.
* I’m ready for another.
To me, these are not confessions, but truths. These statements are no less true than “the fetus lives in the uterus,” “breast milk comes from breasts,” and “you never eat the blue jelly beans that come in the gift basket’s fake baby bottle.”
After reading Alex’s blog, I immediately started thinking about the other new dad truths that need to be unearthed, the thoughts that guys keep deep down in their cerebellums. So I added six of my own. Behold the Fourteen (Fatherhood) Commandments.
* When the baby first arrives, you will cry. And quite possibly, you will cry and cry and cry. While we were still in the hospital, I told my wife Brandy I was going to the bathroom to pee. That wasn’t true. I went there to cry.
* You will contract Ming Vase syndrome, a condition where a new father is afraid he’ll break the baby. Don’t worry. They are sturdy little creatures. In fact, our firstborn was a stunt baby that starred in the game show called Can You Keep Me Alive?, which aired 24/7 in our marginally childproofed home.
* When you’re with your baby, people – both strangers and relatives – will ask you how the babysitting is going. Don’t get offended. Unless of course you're actually sitting on a baby, in which case it's totally appropriate, but nevertheless an awfully casual statement for someone observing physical abuse.
* You’ll wish you had taken more paternity leave. 96 percent of new dads took two weeks or less off after the birth or adoption of their most recent child. 15 percent took no time off at all.
* During those first weeks and months, Mom's hair will be frizzy and frazzled. There will be bags under her eyes. She’ll have breast milk stains on her T-shirt. But she’ll still look hot.
* You won’t get everything right. But when your child is born, you will be the most modern dad to come off the assembly line yet. You’ll know far more than I did when I came out of the father factory seven years ago. You will be the latest in parenting technology.
Shawn's new book Show Dad How is the perfect book for new fathers: not a lot of words, a lot of pictures of boobs. Get one here.