I'm a #girldad. Even though I was in no rush to have kids, I always knew I wanted kids and looked forward to the day I would be a dad.
When I found out we were going to have a girl, the first thing that ran through my mind was Chris Rock's comedy bit about having a daughter. I say this because when I first heard Chris Rock perform his bit, it was the most hilarious fatherhood tip I've ever heard. So, when I found out I was having a daughter, I went from laughs about fatherhood tips to now taking some serious notes. Now I write this in the most lighthearted way being very facetious about it...but the truth still rings.
The truth is that I need to nurture, guide, and support my daughter to be the strong, confident, intelligent, and successful woman to be. That I need to be a male role model for her as to how men are supposed to treat her and act. I want to be the kind of father that shows and demonstrates daily and in all aspects of life what it means to treat a woman: To care and treat her and mom how her future partner should treat her. Set the bar high!
My daughter, Amanda, turned 2 months in June. In these two months I've learned about my own paternal instincts and they certainly kicked into overdrive. My whole world revolves around her and mom.
Here are a few things I've noticed:
- I always seem to double and triple check that the doors are locked at night.
- I seem to be hyper aware of what is going on around us when I drive her or walk her somewhere.
- I can't look away when someone wants to come close to her or wants to carry her.
- I've turned people away from coming to visit knowing mom and daughter need time to sleep and rest.
- I'm constantly asking if mom and daughter need anything, or if I need to get anything for them.
- I constantly feel like I need to build or fix something around the house to make sure it works perfectly when needed.
- I feel uncomfortable coming home and parking the car when the car is low on gas.
- They say you'll never sleep the same again but, fortunately, I’m a great napper. That said, I seem to be more more aware of sounds when I sleep than I was in the past.
My tips to prepare for your first baby are:
- Prepare your "daddy bag" two months before the due date. Amanda was born healthy and eager to join us 2-3 week before her due date!
- Prepare your house for the baby's arrival 2 months before due date.
- Plan your route to the hospital and plan on what items to leave your house with before you go to the hospital. Plan for various times of the day, the time may just come during heavy traffic.
- Be prepared to take naps. While you may not get as much sleep when the baby is born, if you can nap when the baby sleeps it will certainly help your mental health.
- Read Baby 411: Your Baby, Birth to Age 1. This book was recommended by a fellow SHPE dad. Read the first few chapters before the baby is born. Take the book with you when mom goes into labor. Use the information in this book in combination with your partners and your own instincts to ask all and any questions to the doctors and nurses. Using the book as reference to look up answers to questions is a great stress reliever when you constantly worry about making sure you are doing things right.
- If something doesn't feel right at the hospital before, during, or after labor, speak up. The doctors and nurses are great, but you have been around your partner and baby the entire time. You have more minute-by-minute information on the status and health of your partner...and she will tell you exactly how she is feeling and how she observes the baby. Have the confidence to be aware and speak up.
Amado V Galaviz III
Project Manager - SoCalGas | Los Angeles
President - SHPE | Los Angeles Professional Chapter
Director - Legal Shield | Independent Associate