16 Things Only a First-Time Dad Would Understand

Written by Mike Cruse on August 1, 2016

My wife and I are expecting our second child in the next few weeks. It’s at this point in a pregnancy that people start asking you the really dumb questions like, “Are you ready for this one?” There’s a large part of me that wants to say, “Nope, we’re just gonna wing it, and see how everything shakes out.” Of course we’re prepared dummy! But of course I don’t actually say that.

It’s actually that question that got me thinking back to when the wife and I did this whole kid thing the first time around. As the big day inched closer and closer, we quickly went from overly confident, to wrought with fear, wondering if we had forgotten to prepare for something, or if we hadn’t read up on some information that could help us when our son arrived.

Little did we realize that becoming a parent is literally the definition of on-the-job training. All the preparation in the world can’t possibly prepare you for what’s to come. Our first child taught us we knew so little, you could have named us Jon Snow.

So, for all the soon-to-be first-time dads out there, here are all the things I learned when I became a father for the first time.

1. The world is going to end

OK, that’s probably a little overdramatic. But seriously, for the first few months after you bring your new baby home, nothing will exist outside of the four walls of your house. So much that when you step outside for the first time, you’ll be more confused than Mark Wahlberg in that bad “Planet of the Apes” remake.

2. There’s a strong chance you’ll hurt your kid, and you’ll hate yourself

I’m not talking a crazy abusive way, but you will probably drop your kid. Hey, it happens! I accidentally cut my kid’s finger trying to trim his nails. Nobody can be 100 percent coordinated on as little sleep as you’ll be running on. Don’t worry. Kids are resilient.

3. Speaking of sleep, kiss that goodbye

This probably should have been #1, but you’re going feel like you’re never going to sleep again. And you won’t — at least not for the first six months or so. But after you get past that point, you’ll be able to stay awake for weeks at a time, which will come in handy when you want to binge-watch the next season of “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix.

4. Netflix will never be the same

You’re going to go from having a queue full of awesome ‘80s and ‘90s movies, to one overrun with every awful cartoon known to man. Instead of wondering what will happen on the next season of “House of Cards,” you’ll find yourself contemplating the great questions in life like, “What is Dora really looking for?”

5. Your clothes don’t quite fit like they used too

It’s not just Mom who will be gaining weight. I wasn’t a fit guy to begin with, but holy smokes did I pack on the pounds when my wife was pregnant. “You’re going to have a second bowl of ice cream? Hell yes I’ll join you.”

6. You’ll forget what a hot meal tastes like

Kids have this innate ability to wake up, cry, or whatever, right as you’re about to sit down and do something for yourself. Most times it’s when you want to eat. And reheating meals 57 times in a night ain’t so great, so you just eat it cold. And over the sink for some reason.

7. Technology will be your best friend, and your worst enemy

I don’t care what people think. If I needed a break, I slapped my iPhone in my kid’s grubby little hands. But that also meant he quickly learned how to access every function on my phone. So, now a bunch of apps are missing, my iCloud has 986 awkward selfies of my son, and my phone only speaks Portuguese.

8. Kids are a quick way to find out who your friends are

Seriously, kids will thin out your list of friends real fast. While it sucks not getting to hang out with your friends like you want, you’ll find you have little time for getting smashed with your buddies. Let’s face it: Kids are like having a 24/7 hangover.

9. You won’t value anything anymore

Well, nothing material that is. Trust me when I tell you, if you love something you own, put that thing in storage somewhere because somehow, some way, your kid will find it and destroy it.

10. Late is the new on time

Just forget about being on time anywhere. Ever. Again.

11. There will be no shame in your game

After spending a year of being peed, pooped, and vomited on, and still having to make it happen, very little will ever embarrass you again.

12. You’ll find it impossible to stay angry

Oh, you’ll sure as hell get mad at your kids. But dammit all if nature hasn’t installed a safeguard in order to keep these suckers-of-life alive: their cuteness. No matter what your kid does, and how mad you get, sure enough 10 minutes after you’re angry they will say something or do something silly that makes you laugh so much you almost forget they’re trying to kill you.

13. In fact, you’ll laugh more than you ever have before

As much as your kids will annoy you, they will entertain you even more. What can I say, my son is freaking hilarious. And he knows it too.

14. You’ll see everything you dislike about yourself looking right back at you

You might find yourself projecting a lot of your fears and insecurities on your partner and your kids. I know because it happened to me. Just remember that realizing that you might not have it all under control doesn’t make you weak. In fact, that’s a sign of a good man. Know when to ask for help.

15. Kids are the best worst decision I ever made

I joke a lot that my son is trying to kill me, or that my life was so much cooler before kids. But, in reality, having my son filled a void I never knew was there. No matter how much the little jerk pisses me off, I spend most of my day looking forward to getting home to see him, and having him refuse to tell me about his day.

16. No matter how it goes, you’re most likely going to want another shot at it

Kid #2 arrives this July. Need I say more?

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