“If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.” – Bill Cosby
Based on Bill Cosby’s evaluation of it you might presume that no matter what people tell you about it you’re apt to be surprised none-the-less about what fatherhood actually entails. It is the experience itself, not the knowledge of it, that can never be accurately conveyed for what awaits a new dad. Here is my attempt in a humorous fashion to set your expectations.
1. Sleep Deprivation. Forget about Circadian rhythms. Normal sleep cycles are a thing of the past. No amount of money will motivate the wife to take your turn at late night feedings and diaper changes.
2. Vomit Reflex. If you thought that only heavy bingeing would extricate your previous meal, you’re in for a rude awakening. Between my heaving and the diaper poop, my dog – who would eat his own feces – ran screaming from the house.
3. Loss of credibility. Feeling vulnerable when they discover YOU are Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
4. Teddy-bear syndrome. No, not the stuffed animal you put with your child as they crawled into bed but the sensation that overcame you while watching them sleep. Awwwhhhhhhhhh.
5. Unexpected elation upon putting the kids to bed. The fact that someone could be asleep and it would bring you such a feeling of rapture.
6. Sexual abstinence. Not only being unable to “fool around” (with your wife of course) right before and after the birth of your first child but seriously contemplating celibacy for yourself 6 months later. I mean, do you really want to go through this more than once?
7. Forget that Harley and a week-long “freedom” ride. Tucking extra money away now goes to a college education fund. Maybe they’ll qualify for Pell Grants?
8. Sand-castle meister. Going to the beach is no longer about “cruising chicks” unless you count driving the family to Miami.
9. Securing the bathroom. There are actually (little) people in the house now who don’t mind “visiting” you while reading a magazine on the throne. You did burn your copies of Playboy, right?
10. Knowing you have contributed to your future security. One day, if you survive, they will compensate you for all your sacrifices by contributing to your Social Security benefits.
Being a father takes a sense of humor. Have fun and watch with astonishment. You don’t get any re-takes.