Father’s Day: Sanity-Maintaining Tips For Stressed-Out New Dads
STORY: Priyanka Elhence
18 June 2021
It’s true what they say – having a baby changes everything. One minute you’re out for drinks and dinner and the next minute, you’re changing diapers and walking around the house like a zombie. Goodbye sport matches and TV. Hello playdates and grocery shopping. Your sex life will probably take a hit for a while too, as will the amount of quality time you get to spend with your partner. Unless your friends have kids too, preferably around the same age as your own, you can probably start saying goodbye to them too.
Being a new dad can be daunting but you definitely get better with age and practice.
Ask any smart dad. They all have a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to maintaining their sanity and enjoying fatherhood, especially on Father’s Day. Fathers are irreplaceable too and the best ones always have the best lessons to teach.
Here are 4 nuggets of advice that may help you maintain your sanity as a new dad
1. Embrace change
Consciously or not, we all try to control our children. We want them to eat right, behave well, go to sleep and say the right things at the right time. As much as you try fighting it, life does change after you become a father and there’s just nothing you can do about it, however controlling you might try to be. Trust us. Just when you fool yourself into believing that you’re finally getting a handle on things and have some control over your little person, stop. It’s a mirage because your child has already turned the corner and there’s a whole set of new challenges waiting to torment you with. As soon as you conquer one hurdle, be it sleep routines, toddler tantrums, sibling rivalry, there’s a new battle waiting on the horizon. One thing we can promise you though – every day is different, so you won’t have time to get bored.
2. Pick your battles – not all arguments need to be won
New parents often believe that being assertive and winning every argument is the way to establish themselves as the perfect figure of authority who didn’t have any weaknesses or flaws. It’s a myth. You simply can’t and won’t win everything (much it is in marriage). So pick your battles, stick to your guns about what is really important and let your little toddler notch up a few wins under his belt too. Look on the bright side – you’ll save yourself some wrinkles and headaches, and give him oodles of confidence and a fighting spirit.
3. Make the annoying toys disappear
We’ve all been victims of innocent toys. Stepping on Lego pieces, tripping over marbles, having to listen to those ‘gifted toys’ that make the most grating noises and sounds. They have to go. But be smart. Getting rid of them in plain sight of your child will immediately bump them up being his favourite toy ever. May be suggest you take the mature adult route? Eliminate the toy while your child is asleep. Even if your child remembers the toy, they’ll either get over it or can be bribed into latching onto something new that is less irritating for you. And who doesn’t like to be appeased with presents? Win-win situation.
4. Be secure, even if it feels like your child hates you
Children don’t attach themselves to both mum and dad equally – you may be the “less favoured” parent for a long time, especially as your child starts to get a little older. It’s just par for the course and even though it hurts, know that they don’t really mean it. They know it, too. Once you mentally and emotionally get over that hurdle, it makes it much easier to handle tantrums and mood swings, because you’re being a grounded and responsible parent, rather than one that is emotionally-driven and looking to win a popularity contest.