5 Surprising Changes That Come With Fatherhood

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Becoming a new father changes you in ways that you could never imagine. When a baby is born, a dad is born. I underwent the transformation from dude to dad almost 18 years ago, and most of the changes have settled in, while a few still seem strange and new.

But change is a good thing and, when it comes to fatherhood, change is absolutely necessary. Just don’t be too surprised when you feel them coming on. It might happen the first time you hold your new baby, or when someone refers to you as “daddy,” or in the middle of a particularly messy diaper cleanup.

Just to help you out, here are five surprising ways that fatherhood has changed me.

1. Most bodily fluids no longer bother me. It might not have been during the first diaper change, but it certainly happened soon after. Babies poop a lot, and you just have to deal with it. Your brain quickly adapts to the mess by downgrading its perceived toxicity. What you once saw as a biohazard requiring a Level 4 containment system, you now view as nothing worse than rancid chocolate pudding.

Babies also throw up a lot, usually on your shoulder, hair, or face. Again, your brain takes over to calm you with the thought that the vomit isn’t too far removed from being food in a dish or breast. And, of course, babies are mucus-producing machines. You will be wiping your child’s nose for the next decade. Get used to it.

Blood? No, you never get used to seeing blood come out of your kid.

2. I’ve lost all control of my emotions. That’s right, once you become a father you are no longer in charge of being happy, sad, angry, confused, scared, and all the other myriad of emotions that you haven’t even discovered yet. Who’s in charge? Mostly your child. They will push your buttons in weird and wonderful ways. You will never see it coming, and you’ll have no idea how to make it stop. They will drag you through the day like a stuffed animal on a leash, completely in control of your various feels. One minute making you cry with pride, the next making you cry with fear. Oh, you’ll also laugh hysterically, bristle with anger, and pull out your hair in frustration, sometimes all in a manner of minutes. Your new baby is in charge of you now, and they won’t even realize it until their teenage years.

3. I know things I never thought I wanted to know. A huge part of fatherhood is introducing new interests and experiences to your kids. And I don’t mean wine tasting or skydiving, although those can certainly come later, much later, on. From day one of being a new dad, you want what’s best for your child. Suddenly, you have to know the nutritional value of baby food, how to change a diaper, and the effects of sleep deprivation. As they get older, you learn about children’s literature, kindie music, and why some poor animated kid named Caillou is so reviled. Before too long, you’re learning the difference between a tenor saxophone and an alto saxophone, and which type of earplugs works best for you. Without my kids, I might never know Lin-Manuel Miranda, Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Gerard Way, all of whom I follow with great interest now. My kids have given me an education greater and more varied than any college degree.

4. I’m broke. I knew children were expensive, I just never realized how much. At first there are all those necessary baby gadgets, like a stroller, crib, and high chair, but then you start filling your home with toys, stuffed animals, and Dr. Seuss books. Me, I got hooked on kids’ books, bringing them home new, used, and in between. My attitude was that books were an excellent investment for a child’s education, which they are, but a costly investment nonetheless. And then you have to feed and clothe your kids. And take them to the zoo. And out for ice cream. And to Disneyland. It never ends, and it’s never as cheap as you budget. So, in the end, despite the best possible financial planning, you’ll be broke.

5. I’ve become a neat freak. Everything must be in its place. That’s the “neat” part. But things are never in their place. That’s the “freak” part. Basically, fatherhood has brought out the part of me that needs order. I want my kids to be safe, free from worry and illness, and focused on personal growth. How can any of that happen in a messy house? I see dishes piled up in the kitchen and think, “There’s an incubator for disease.” I see toys strewn across the living room floor and think, “There’s a tripping hazard.” I find books stuffed onto a shelf upside down and turned around and think, “There’s a waste of knowledge.” The struggle against chaos began even before my first child was born, as I surveyed our home for dangers and baby-proofed everything I could find. Over the years, my pseudo-OCD has only grown worse. And it’s a losing battle, one in which I refuse to wave the white flag.

There are so many other ways in which fatherhood has changed me. Some were expected, some were not. All of them are a part of me now, for better or worse. A man who is not changed by becoming a dad is not much of a man. Diapers are not the only thing that need changing when a new baby comes into your life.

I’d like to thank Pampers for giving me reason to celebrate these changes, and the incredible feeling that goes along with being a dad. Fatherhood is the biggest, and best, role a man will ever take on in his life, and it’s important to recognize that. Whatever changes may come your way with becoming a dad, embrace them. You’re helping your baby have a better, more fulfilling life.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion.

Father’s Day Winners

It’s time to fire up the random number generator and award the Father’s Day prizes from last week’s contest.

Here we go:

The picture book, Because I Am Your Daddy, goes to Melanie.

The $20 Chili’s Gift Card goes to Jeff.

The Tea Parties for Dads book goes to Jen.

The Fantastic Sams gift basket goes to Chatterbox.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Please contact me right away so these items can arrive by the weekend.

Oh, and I have one more BIG CONTEST for Father’s Day. Come back on Thursday to see it.

Look Fantastic on Father’s Day

We come to the end of my week of Father’s Day giveaways with a truly fantastic contest.

Someone heard that I’m a slob. And that I cut my own hair.

So they made this offer to help me out with a fantastic array of hair care products. And to give one of my readers their own fantastic collection of hair care products for Father’s Day.

To find out why I keep using that word, and to snag some fantastic hair care products for your favorite dad, click on over to my giveaway page for all the fantastic details.

I’ll be picking winners for all of these Father’s Day contests on Monday, so you still have time to enter the following:

Because I Am Your Daddy BOOK
Dinner out for Dad $20 GIFT CARD
Tea Parties For Dads BOOK

Tea Parties for Dads

Here’s another fun Father’s Day giveaway!

Tea Parties for Dads is a new book by Jenna McCarthy that attempts to demystify little girls in a way dads can understand.

Tea Parties for DadsSo, if you’re one of those fathers who knows football and BBQ, but hasn’t a clue about ballerinas and hairstyles, then this book is perfect for you.

McCarthy explains things like why pink is the best color, and why mermaids and magic wands are irresistible. It also guides dads step-by-step through the serving of tea, French-braiding hair, and the proper application of flair.

Don’t worry, the chapters are short. We all know that most men have short attention spans when it comes to stuff like this.

Tea Parties for Dads is actually quite informative and engaging. It will give any dad new insight into how to relate to his daughter. And just think how impressed she’ll be with your newfound knowledge in subjects like fairies, nail polish, and Barbies.

Thanks to the publisher, Sasquatch Books, I have one copy of Tea Parties for Dads to give away to a reader. Simply leave a comment telling me why you, or some dad you know, needs this book. I’ll pick a winner this weekend.

Don’t forget the previous Father’s Day contests! Scroll down on my blog to enter those.

I Want My Baby Back

Did you read the title of this post and start singing a merry little tune about ribs?

Funny how that works.

It’s like when my kids ask for their $5 allowance, I suddenly get hungry for a sub sandwich.

Anyway, back to the ribs.

BBQ ribs are most certainly in the Top Ten of any Father’s Day dinner. We recently had the chance to sample a brand new flavor of ribs at a certain restaurant.

You know the one.

Start singing that song, and then click on through to my giveaway page for a chance to win a gift card for a dad’s night out at that very same restaurant.

Father’s Day Giveaways

I’m kicking off an entire week of Father’s Day giveaways with this review of a beautiful new picture book for young children.

Because I Am Your Daddy, written by Sherry North, is just the kind of bedtime book I liked reading to my kids when they were toddlers. It’s filled with imagination and adventure, as the dad in the story tells of different dreams he could pursue in life and how his kids will be there each step of the way.

The rhyming couplets are simple and easy for preschoolers to read, such as, “If I were an inventor, I would make a high-tech tree / That pops open a tree house when you turn the secret key.”

Each couplet is accompanied by a whimsical two-page watercolor illustration by Marcellus Hall that is sure to fuel your kids’ creativity.

It’s great to see such a lovingly-crafted book about dads who want nothing more than to help their children’s dreams come true.

What a great Father’s Day present this book would make! And I just happen to have a copy to give away to one of my readers.

Leave a comment on this post, simply saying “I want!” and I’ll pick a winner this weekend.

Check back tomorrow for another Father’s Day giveaway on my blog.