Month: February 2014

Behind the lens

The first time I felt like I needed a father figure was when I found out my wife was pregnant. Nobody prepares you for that shit.

To be honest, the first thought I had was “Get rid of it.” I’m not ashamed of that thought though, our current situation wasn’t primed for parenthood and I’ve always had reservations about unplanned family expansion.

Our turning point was the upfront cost of a fancy abortion (think incoming and outgoing counseling, not a wire coat hanger and a shot of whisky), we didn’t have the cash.

Telling our parents was the easy part, they were all ecstatic and supportive. But not once throughout the pregnancy did my dad ever pull me aside for a chat about the pitfalls of impending fatherhood. Granted, he and my mom were separated/divorced since I was 4, but he was then already a three infant veteran (not counting extra-marital siring).

I pressed him for details about my own rearing and was answered with anecdotes about my mother’s antics on the numerous trips between Pretoria and Cape Town. Conversations with my father-in-law uncovered similar tales of absent fathers, or rather, fathers who took their place behind the lens.

As wonderful as it is watching my daughter becoming the amazing person she is, I don’t want to be a behind-the-lens dad. I want to be active and involved, sharing the load with my wife and giving her a chance to be selfish. And I know I’m not alone.
Nobody prepares dads for fatherhood, but we can help each other be a perfect dad.

New dad primer

So the pregnancy test is positive, now what?

Don’t be an asshole and steal your wife’s shine. You had life-changing sex, but she has to deal with the consequences. Everything you say from here on out should be to glorify her.

The girl you married is gone forever, accept this now. Your wife is going to change in ways you never thought possible. She’ll grow more beautiful and irritate the life out of you in equal measure.

Read all of the books, but remember that each child is different – the trick is to find out about every possible different type of child. Preparation is everything.

Plan that expensive trip, it’s going to be years before you can enjoy an intimate vacation, do it now. Also cram in all the romance you can into the next nine months, and double your efforts in the last trimester.

Fuck like rabbits, pregnant women are horny all the time and the sex helps her body prep for childbirth. You won’t hurt the baby unless you’re using your wife’s belly as a trampoline – you’re not that gifted. Also, the joys of consequence free unprotected sex (with your wife) are endless!

Don’t sweat it working out a budget is the most difficult thing about early parenthood. As long as you have money to cover everything, you’re fine.

Book the antenatal classes because no man wants to be that guy who rushes his wife and kid to the emergency room for a false alarm. Also you get to meet other men in the exact same situation as you, and the snacks a generally good.

Lift more, 3kg will become 15kg in less than two years. And there will come a day when it’s you and a cranky toddler at a shopping mall on Christmas Eve – the stroller is not an option.

Don’t skip the cardio. Toddlers are balls of energy and love nothing more than running around. Don’t ever be the guy who would rather have a drink than indulge his kid with some healthy playtime.

Prepare to lose friends. Just like when you got married and started finding more in common with your similarly attached friends, fatherhood is the same.

Get ready for the ride of a lifetime. You can’t even comprehend the gravity of the love you’ll feel for your child and admiration you’ll have for your wife in the first few months. It’s a kak jol by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s fulfilling.

Have fun. Be yourself. It’s your kid and no-one can tell you how to raise it. Show them who you are and love them in your way.