I still remember the day my wife and I received the news that we were pregnant and the surge of opposite emotions kicking in. I remember the world dimming, vision blurring, and sounds fading. I remember feeling dreadful and excited, angry and scared, annoyed and appreciative. I was riding a pendulum and didn’t know how to stop it, winter was coming and I wasn’t prepared. It felt like middle school but instead of a class full of students and one teacher, it was a class full of teachers and one student. The more I tried to shield myself with knowledge, to prepare myself, the more I got confused and overwhelmed. I was in search of the parenting manual and from where I was standing everyone seemed to be an expert on the subject. Lucky me, I guess…
Being the potential super dad I am, I decided I have 5 months to get this right. I will make sure that when the baby is here, I will have my super dad costume ready. I bought a baby ‘how to’ book, joined a WhatsApp support group, and started spending more and more time with parents that I looked up to, I was on fire. 5 months later and wife’s belly about to pop and I’m feeling ready to take on whatever life throws at me.
“Fatherhood was and still is a beautiful mess. You are not in control, you are far out of control.”
My baby girl came into this world kicking and screaming to Bob Marleys ‘Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright’. It was quite a magical entrance, as if objecting to the song at the top of her lungs. At that moment, I realized that no amount of mom and dad stories will ever prepare you for the actual thing.
Fatherhood was and still is a beautiful mess. You are not in control, you are far out of control. Your emotions are stretched beyond comprehension, your sense of security is blown out of this dimension, and whatever social life you think you have will be pushed over a cliff blindfolded and hand tied, but you will experience love like you’ve never experienced before. A joy ride that re-organizes your life and compensates or surpasses all you ever knew of life. Children are a gift to you. You might think, as I did, that you need to prepare yourself for their arrival, but how can you really prepare for the unknown? As a matter of fact they are the ones who help and shape us to be the parents we are today. In a sense they teach us more about ourselves and guide our journey into becoming super parents.
So there is no manual, but there are some rules that nature has bestowed upon us:
1- Just really be there, and open your senses and emotions.
2- Trust your paternal instinct, you already love them with all your heart so you probably know what is best deep inside.
3- Be susceptible to internal and external change, that’s only natural and a major part of the journey.
4- Accept the fact that you will make mistakes, how else will you learn.
5- Most importantly, let love guide your parental role and really enjoy the small moments.
Good luck dads, I am pretty sure you are already doing a great job. Enjoy it.
Nabil Rostom is a flamboyant father of two and serial entrepreneur and founder of Jumpsuite, and The Wellness Log.