Celebrating my First Father's Day
When they found out I liked whisky, the kind folks at Johnnie Walker sent me a special bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue as my first ever Father's Day gift. I did an Instagram Live Q&A (and cross posted on Reddit and Twitter) about being a new dad and here are my Top 10 Dad Tips based on it. And one dad joke.
Take care of yourselves, dads (and dads-to-be!). The day I found out I was going to be a father was the day I started changing my lifestyle. I fully support having a more healthy and active lifestyle and encourage doing everything in moderation! Don’t get me wrong I like to celebrate here and there but moderation is key. When I do choose to toast to a special milestone (like Father’s Day), I like to have a glass of the good stuff—Johnnie Walker Blue Label. I've done an OK job taking care of myself for my first 34 years and I promised the little poppy seed I would spend my next 34 doing a much better job so I could be around and at my best for as long as possible. Or long enough to be uploaded.
I'm finding ways to connect with her even at this early age that are special for the two of us. Most of them involve me making her feel like she's either in a jet, rocketship, or racecar, but between the sound effects and all the movement she really has a great time. I talk to her a little bit in German and I wish I could speak more French to my daughter, because she's learning from her mom and nanny and I just know it's going to be their secret language to plot against me.
Don't try to do everything perfectly. There's no one way to be a dad and none of us are perfect. She's gonna hurt herself, or she's going to be sad and you can't quite figure out why, or you're going to be staring at her at 4am wondering what it was like to get a full night of sleep -- and it's OK to be frustrated. No one is perfect, your kid is going to be OK, just keep doing your best and tell your partner you love them, often. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Fatherhood is an incredible journey and it is worth taking a step back to celebrate the small wins (your first diaper changed!) along with the big wins (first steps!) — everything matters. Be sure to take it all in. Enjoy a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label to celebrate all the moments along the way with your partner.
There's no one book to rule them all. I think it's worth reading a couple, but they're suggestions and ideas, not instruction manuals. Every kid is different, but it is valuable to get ideas. Like the baby football method for soothing a baby! I learned that from the Happiest Baby on the Block.
Take full advantage of your parental leave policy. If you don't have one at your company and can do something about it, you should. Both Reddit and Initialized have fantastic 16 week programs for parents and I hope more companies follow suit because it's a huge asset when a workforce believes there's a process for taking time to be with their families and their jobs won't be at risk while they're away.
Double or triple up the layers of changing pads on the changing table so that you can just tear one away in the middle of the night if it gets soiled and not worry about finding a replacement at that moment because you just want to be done and put the baby back to sleep.
I know it's not cheap, but I (and Junior) loved the Snoo bed (and not just because of the name) for the first 6 months or so.
Take photos and videos, lots of them. I know it takes up a lot of space on your phone and I'm trying to build a better solution myself, but you'll want those. More importantly your kid will want the best ones of those. Make some selfie videos with you and your partner, too. You can even stitch them all-together into a video for your kid later.
Don't forget about your partner. You need to be at your best to be the best parents and a big part of that is loving your other half. Agree ahead of time that things said at 4am while sleep deprived and with a baby crying are 'safe' from being used against you later, that is to say, be forgiving (thanks, Serena) and make sure you get time for yourselves, too. Nurture that relationship because it's the bedrock of your new kid's life.
And here's a bonus dad joke (from r/dadjokes).
If you put your left shoe on the wrong foot... It’s on the right foot