10 Things my FIRST year of fatherhood taught me!

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Read what this dad learnt from his first year of fatherhood! What is the best lesson you have learnt after being a father?

From the initial sleepless nights to the tantrums in public, parenting can sometimes be frustrating, especially the first year where you try and see if things work or not. There will be tons of firsts, that’s for sure.

But no matter how much you prepare, there’s nothing quite like working through these challenges first hand, and learning from your own experience.

Here’s my take on the lessons I have learned after a year of being father:

1. Children teach us about our true nature

My children taught me about love, curiosity, and focus. These are our true nature as humans and these should be the qualities we must all possess. Overthinking just doesn’t make this possible.

2. Sleeping patterns are a parenting myth

The baby’s sleep pattern (including yours) will be among the big changes you will experience during the first year. Nothing could have prepared me for the nights I tried to rock my baby to sleep. During the first months, babies don’t have a real sleeping pattern. You will find yourself waking up at any hour of the night. 

3. Take one moment at a time

It’s true. Even if you read all the books about fatherhood, nothing can prepare you for it. I learned that being anxious about it is just a waste of energy. Just respond to the moment and take things as they come.

4. Understand their cry

Babies can’t talk to express pain or hunger –they cry. You need to understand why babies cry. This will indicate what is happening and what they’re feeling. Sometimes they cry when they are sleepy, hungry, or if they want to get carried. Understanding the reason behind their cry may take longer especially for first-time dads, but keep in mind that each baby is different.

5. All about unconditional love

As parents, we all have unconditional love for our kids. It is our task to provide them with food, shelter and clothing. You need to love them whether they’re covered in poop, looking ugly, or throwing up in your work clothes. You need to love the good, the bad and the ugly. These are all part of being daddy.

6. Diaper-changing becomes fun

I just found myself an expert in this field after a year of being a father to my first kid. It’s a challenge to keep the baby still while changing the diaper. Parenting is teamwork. You need to do these things as well, no matter how hard you try to escape it.

7. Your family’s needs come first

Life becomes so very different when you have your own family. It’s not about just you and your wife, you will think about the family. You need to save, make adjustments to your schedule, and life. It may be overwhelming at first but it’s OK.

As a father, you will be the head of the family. You need to make decisions not just for yourself but for your family. It is actually more challenging and exciting to have a family. I feel more fulfilled as a person doing my share.

8. Dealing with car seats become easier

Sometimes putting your baby in a car seat can be difficult. You grow through parenting by changing car seats and buckling down the kids. Soon, this task will get easier. Always remember to check if the car seat is attached and locked safely in the car.

9. Stay in the moment

Don’t think that fatherhood will just fly by. I try to think of it more in the moment. I like to watch my kid do whatever she’s doing, walking, crawling, or eating her food. When you live in the moment, everything slows down. This way, you feel more in control and enjoy every step of the process.

10. Learning to love more

The greatest thing fatherhood taught me is to love more than I ever imagined I could do. I fell in love with my wife, my baby, and my life. You come to love your children on a wholly different level. You will have a greater sense of what fatherhood means over time. Every day I feel joy whenever my daughter looks up to me and knows that I’m her dad. She knows I will be there to protect and care for her no matter what.

They say having a child will change you forever. I didn’t know it was true until I became a father.

Fatherhood is the most rewarding job anyone could have. To me, the best gift of them all is becoming a better person.

*Article orginally published in theAsianparent Singapore by contributing writer, Farid Hasanoglu. 

READ: Why do men fear fatherhood? The 5 most common fatherhood fears and how to overcome them

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