5 Keys to Fantastic Fatherhood
Welcome to Full Frontal Fatherhood. Today, I want to talk to you about the five keys to being a fantastic father.
In my previous video The First Step to Full Frontal Fatherhood, I talked about how the moment of birth really captures a falling down point for most families. Both parents are scared. The mother fortunately, figures it out in 30 or 40 minutes. She has to. But we stand back so often. We, in our insecurity and feeling like the mother is the more important parent, see how we can just help her with the baby, but not finding our own way to be a powerful father.
Then as we stand back, and the mothers feel overwhelmed and exhausted, they start nagging and controlling us in attempt to get some help. What else would they do? We back further away and go off to work to feel better about ourselves. Sex falls through the floor. We’re left with a very messy relationship, where the child isn’t getting their emotional needs met from us and we aren’t from them. Nor are we getting the relationship we need from our wives. How do we have it go in a different direction?
These are the five keys:
The 1st Step
If it isn’t too late, get involved during the pregnancy. Studies have shown dads that are involved during the pregnancy end up being better fathers much further down the line. Read a book on pregnancy with your wife. Talk to her about what’s coming. Research diapers. Sing to the baby through her belly. Find your way to have a relationship with this growing being, and prepare yourself for what it means to be a father. Not just how to set up the room for the kid or how to save money, but how do you emotionally inhabit the role of father? Merely thinking about it with your friends, yourself and partner will greatly empower you that once that moment arrives. When your baby comes out of your wife, you’ll be able to be present for them in a more empowered way.
The 2nd Step
Be as involved as you possibly can during the birth. Find out before the birth, how your wife would like support. Then, be there. As much as the doctors and situation will allow, be involved. Harness that moment. It is one of life’s greatest moments. Let yourself drink in the miracle of your child arriving into the world. Letting yourself be deeply touched rather than hiding in activity or the role of being a care-taker will give you the fuel you need to be a much better dad.
The 3rd Step
As soon possible, give yourself a chance to bond with the baby. Yes, the mother needs to bond initially as the baby is coming out into the world and needs the safe, cozy environment of her mushy belly and breasts as the baby finds its way to nursing. But as soon as you can, take that child and put it on your bare skin and feel the vulnerability of this life that is half you. Feel the tenderness of their skin, the smell of their scalp, their heart and breath, all in your hands. Let yourself fall in love.
Mothers most always find a connection with their child. We on the other hand, have to take this opportunity. We have to take the chance to fall in love. And those moments of just being there with your child really enable this.
The 4th Step
The fourth step is the most crucial of the five steps. We have to be the master of our own fear. If we end up stepping back in the face of fear, then we lose the opportunity to be an empowered, engaged father. Parenting is scary, but in our sense of inadequacy, we have to step forward into those feelings and realize that we are just as capable a care provider as our partners.
I remember those first moments with my daughter, holding her in my arms, worrying that I was holding her head wrong, being inclined to give her back to my wife to take care of. But I didn’t. I stayed in that uncomfortable feeling and found my way. I’ve kept doing that day after day, empowering myself to be that father.
The 5th Step
We have to constantly build our fatherhood muscle. We have to constantly take opportunities to engage and be an active parent. There are so many moments where it’s easy to let the mom just run the show and they will take that opportunity and go with it. We have to insert ourselves. We have to take our child and engage them so that they can trust us and build a bond with us. By doing this we can continue to get stronger and stronger in our ability to stand in the intensity of what it means to be a father.
Use these five keys to be a fantastic father and realize that you can be just as an empowered and capable care provider as your partner.
First, be as engaged as you can prior to the birth.
Second, be as involved as you can during the birth.
Third, as soon as the opportunity is allowed, go and bond and fall in love with your baby.
Fourth, be the master of your fears and don’t let them lead to you being disengaged.
Five, constantly build your fatherhood muscle, so that you can provide the father that your child needs throughout its life.
Thank you for joining me for another episode of Full Frontal Fatherhood. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about these subjects. Join the conversation below, but please keep it friendly, as we’re all doing our best and these are hard subjects.
If you like the video, please share it with your friends, and I’ll see you next Friday for another episode of Full Frontal Fatherhood.