So, what is like becoming a father for the first time? It really depends on what type of person you are and where you are in your life. Are you a teenager or in your 50s? Do you live pay cheque to pay cheque or do you have a large savings account? Do you have a solid relationship with the mother or are you currently separated? As you can see, becoming a father can be an amazing experience or a very tough one depending on your situation.
It wouldn’t be very responsible to offer my opinions on what it is like being a father in any other situation than my own. I would like to discuss my experience of becoming a dad for the first time.
I was pretty young. I met my wife when I was 21 years old, she is 8 years older than me and was 29 at the time. To say the age difference wasn’t a concern to her and others would be a lie.
Being young and in a rush
Of course, I was full of stupid youthful confidence and was just starting to do well financially working as a full time web developer for a business. I was so deeply in love with her the first second I met her that I knew she was going to be my wife. Long story short, she felt the same. We moved in together a few months after meeting for the first time and she was pregnant with our first child in no time at all.
In our situation, we felt a strong hesitation from others as we told people that we were having a baby. You could see the looks on their faces, mostly due to the fact that I was quite young. However, I was so confident that I was doing the right thing that I didn’t care at all. I wanted a family with this woman as soon as possible.
Spoiler alert, it has now been 14 years at the time of this writing and we are still together. Our first born is a teenager and our second child is 4 years behind. Every single friend that warned me about rushing into this is now separated or divorced from their partners at the time.
Maybe it’s a very poor statistic with so many divorces happening, but I followed my feelings (heart and gut) 100% of the time and very little logic. This may seem silly but it worked for us. I didn’t listen to anyones concerns about the age difference or how young I was. I have loved every second of being a father and have loved this woman every step of the way. We have survived so much together that the bond only becomes deeper.
What is it like being a father at a young age?
Like I mentioned earlier, I was young and full of a stupid type of confidence. One skill that people in their teens and early 20s have, is the ability to not realize how serious the situation is that they are in. Now that I am in my mid-thirties, my life experiences and logic take over my decision making more than my gut instinct. I think both have benefits.
I loved every second of my wife being pregnant, the experience was amazing to watch. I supported her as much as I could and attended every single doctor’s appointment possible. I would never change a thing but looking back there is something I will admit.
At a young age, these important life moments felt somewhat numb to me. As if I couldn’t compare it to anything else at this magnitude since my life experiences were so limited. I felt it difficult to comprehend at the time just how big of a life moment this was.
Seeing the ultrasound of my baby boy for the first time was an amazing feeling, but it would have meant more if I was older. Now that I am in my 30s and looking back at being a dad in my early 20s, I have more “feelings” about it, I am more emotional about those times.
I wish I could go back with my current experiences and be a better father. I am not saying that I was a bad father, I was just young and had no idea what I was doing. I think this is probably normal at almost any age though and relies more on experience in general.
When the new baby is born. Everything changes instantly. All those small things in your life that you cared about, don’t mean near as much anymore. My concerns about being a good father or knowing what to do were gone instantly. My focus was 100% on this new little one in my life.
Something as simple as the first drive home with your new child in the car seat will scorch your arteries full of adrenaline. Looking for big bumps and bad drivers to avoid at all costs. Congratulations, you are now a full time security guard for the rest of your life. I loved it. Everything was new and exciting.
The infant and toddler days
When our son was born we were in for a wild ride. I was working full time and supporting my wife and new baby. Our son was a cranky little one who woke up every 3 hours on the dot, day and night, for the first year. Needless to say, my wife was going crazy not sleeping while I was putting in long hours working at my job and on the side to make more money to support us.
To say it didn’t affect us would be a lie. We were both stressed. Looking back, I wish I helped out a lot more at night so she could have slept more. Her lack of sleep definitely put her in a poor mood at times, understandable so, and it would cause friction between us.
The early days are what will make or break you. You need to realize that it gets much much easier, you have to keep your mouth shut and work together to get through them.
Stay committed to each other and the baby, and I guarantee you will come out the other side a much stronger family.
The school years!
It’s so terrifying and exciting to see your little one walk into the school with that backpack on for the first time. You spend the first few weeks really worried if they are doing alright. When they start telling you about friends they are meeting and the fun projects they worked on during the day, you begin feeling much better.
These are the years when things really start to calm down and get better, however, we decided instead to have out second child! Luckily for us, our daughter was the total opposite. This girl would sleep 10 hours a night from day one. None of this 3am non-sense like our son, she loved her sleep more than us!
Once both the children were in school, it’s like we won the lottery. Yes, kids are still a lot of work when they are home, but that break during the day was a huge relief for my wife to start having a life again.
As the years pass by, and the kids get older, it becomes easier and easier. They begin developing their own habits and lives. They are more self sufficient. Instead of spending all your time taking care of them, you slowly convert to spending all your time bonding with them. These are important years.
How to prepare to be a good dad?
Your best bet to learn or prepare to be a good father is to learn by doing. Now, you will never find another person’s baby to mean as much as your own, but maybe you have a sister or brother with children. Or maybe you have friend’s that have young child or babies.
Offer to help out as much as possible, pick their brains about their concerns or problems. What advice do they have to offer? Be upfront and tell them why you are asking so many questions and offer to change diapers or feed the baby. Make sure you are clear why you are doing this so they don’t think you are being a creep!
In the end, your natural abilities to become a good father will just kick in and to be honest, if you are searching online for articles like this and looking for advice. You are already on the right track! I bet you will do just fine.
My experiences of being a father have been amazing. My kids are both well behaved and have great personalities, both have an excellent sense of humour. The bond between my wife and I is very strong as we watch these little people that we created grow before us and begin to develop their own lives.
It has not been a smooth ride but it never will be. Any issues or bumps along the way is what life is all about. Those bumps really do make you stronger. They make life easier.
My last piece of advice. Spend time with your kids. I am not talking about watching a movie together. I am talking about going for a walk or playing a sport together. Learn a new skill together. Do something that forces you to get to know each other. It all goes by so fast and if you don’t take the time to build a bond now, it will be very difficult when they are older.
I hope this gave you a good idea of my experience of what is was like becoming a father for the first time. I appreciate you reading this. Please leave any questions or comments below.