1. IT’S OK TO BE SCARED.
I was terrified when my son was born. Overjoyed? You bet. But also terrified. I was thirty, in a loving, stable marriage, employed, and scared out of my bloody mind. Who’s actually ready to be a father? Nobody. So stand up, take a deep breath, and get ready to become the man you’ve always hoped you could be. You’re not ready. Do it anyway.
2. CHANGE EVERY DIAPER.
Yes, it’s gross. Yes, it’s hard in the dark. Yes, you’ll be terrible at it. Do it anyway. Wiping a baby will forever change the way you experience love. Something magical happens when we use our hands to love. I can’t explain it. You just have to do it. You’ll never regret it. Well, actually, you might regret some of them. Do it anyway.
3. SPY ON BABY AT NIGHT.
Your wife will threaten to kill you if you wake the baby. And sometimes, you will. And she will try to kill you. Do it anyway. There is no view on earth like the one from above the crib at night. If you want a sneak peak of the Good Lord’s shore this side of a heart attack, watch your baby sleep. Then slip your finger in his hand, and try not to lose it when the warmth of his palm becomes the only thing in the world.
4. TAKE CHARGE OF BATH TIME.
Your wife will always do more than you. Always. No matter how hard you try, she’ll have you beat. More diapers, more feedings, more everything. She’ll forget more things she’s done for the baby than you’ll actually do. So in the evenings, pour her wine, kiss her, and order her to the couch. You got bath time. Your back will kill and your knees will ache. Do it anyway. It just might turn out to be the best part of your whole day.
5. GO TO DINNER, SANS BABY.
I love my kid. I also love my sanity. But I love my wife’s sanity even more. Because, as they says, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. I am not rich, but I pay for a babysitter at least once a month. You can’t afford it. Do it anyway.
6. KISS YOUR BABY.
He or she will grow up. Kissing that baby face is a limited edition kind of deal. Don’t miss out. We live in a hard world. Your baby’s fat face is an oasis of innocence that will restore your soul on the toughest of days. So cup it in your hands and kiss it madly. Warning: you might weep with love. Do it anyway.
7. DON’T USE ONE OF THOSE BABY SLINGS.
You’re a dude. Carry your baby in your arms like your father did. I’m six feet tall and barely weigh a hundred and forty pounds. I can’t do ten consecutive pushups. But I can hold my baby. You will be miserable walking around the mall. Do it anyway. When you can’t take it anymore, do the smartest thing a man can do: ask your wife for help.