With two kids in tow at just 26, Daniel Ferguson learnt quickly how much life changes when you become a dad.
Heart racing, I’m excited and scared at the same time. I feel myself about to reach the top of the mountain and for a split second everything stops and things are calm.
Before I know it we’re racing back down to earth, spinning, turning, upside down, here we go again…
My journey as a dad so far has been like stepping onto a new, crazy roller coaster for the first time.
You’ve probably guessed that both can be described in exactly the same fashion (except there’s no height rule with being a dad).
I first became a dad to my crazy, fun loving daughter, Charlie, at 26. Then, only 14 months later, my second, Harry was born.
Like most of you, I just kept saying holy s**t … I had absolutely no idea what I was in for.
From one dad to another, here are 30 things I learnt about being a dad before I hit 30. Hopefully this can help you along the way.
1. Spontaneous beers with the boys are now a thing of the past
Spontaneity now comes in the form of surprise wees and poos. Beers with the boys tend to get put on hold for a little while.
2. The body part you think with changes
3. My kids impacted my career
Pre-kids I felt like Harvey Spector. I Did what I wanted, when I wanted. I now think about things like regular income, flexibility, location and travel time.
4. Your priorities change
My kids are now my number one priority, over everything. Literally everything.
5. Your emotional intelligence improves
No, this is not an emotional James Bond. Your brains wiring is about to change so that you can think ahead about how you communicate, interact and impact your kids.
6. Your sleep suffers hard
Males under the age of 30 are 26 per cent more likely to get sick after sleep deprivation than males over 30.
7. “But you’re young, you’ll be fine”
The above point says otherwise. Stay on top of how you fuel your body.
8. “Men are useless before 33”, Jennifer Lopez
I can’t type the words I just said out loud. But take it from me that she’s wrong.
9. Prepare for the greys
My grey hairs probably suggest I’m 27 going on 40. A number two all over helps combat this.
10. Doing your hair is a luxury
Remember when you’d spend time and money on perfecting the best hairstyle to look good? I don’t have time for that anymore. Again, a number two all over helps combat this.
11. You will mature quickly
Having a level of maturity, financial stability, and life experiences usually come later in life. Kids force you to fast track all of this pretty damn quickly.
12. Go slow on the smashed avo
The average cost of nappies is $20. Sometimes you have to decide if you want avo on toast or a kid in a clean nappy. It’s an easy choice.
13. The 6 P’s work perfectly
Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Don’t underestimate how important it is the plan ahead. It might not come naturally yet but trust me, there’s nothing worse than a hungry, tired or dirty baby when you’re at the shops.
14. Going with the flow is the best option
Try not to get caught up in being an “adult” and doing everything perfectly. You’ll find a rhythm that works for your little family.
15. Friendships will be tested
I lost some commonality with friends who didn’t have kids, they were out seeking glory and smashing the drinks list. The harsh truth is you’ll probably lose some, but on the upside, you’ll also get some new ones who are also dads.
16. The meaning of life
Who am I kidding, I still have no idea.
17. You’ll have courage like Mufasa’s
Remember that scene in The Lion King where Mufasa jumps into the herd to save Simba? You’ll do the same. Our protective instincts go into overdrive with our kids.
18. The crying will get to you at times
Babies cry. Sometimes it’s because they’re hungry or tired and sometimes for no reason at all. Try not to get too stressed out. Google ‘Mindful Parenting’…helps big time.
19. Is she crying too?
Mums are about to go on a journey of their own. Their hormonal system has just has just gone through a bigger transformation than you’d imagine. Make sure you’re caring, affectionate and show some compassion.
20. Why am I crying?
At some point you’re going to hit a wall. It’s totally ok to feel overwhelmed so make sure you talk about it, whether it’s to your partner or your best mate.
21. I’m sure my wallet was bigger than this?
Kids burn through cash. The average newborn costs $16K in its first year. Be sure to look at your financial situation and plan ahead.
22. It’s super important to have a maternity leave plan
This is huge. If your partner is taking time off make sure to look at the financial impact it’s going to have. Talk about the idea of a gradual return to work plan, it’s much easier on everyone.
23. Everything changes
Your relationship, friendships, work life…make sure you talk about these things before they eat you alive. Which leads me onto my next point…
24. It’s so damn important to talk
Only 13 per cent of men talk to their friends about feelings linked to fatherhood. Don’t add to that stat. Bring your friends along for the ride so they can help along the way.
25. Shared photo albums are the bomb
The iPhone allows you to set up a shared photo album with anyone. Punch in your family members phone numbers and upload photos as you go. This saves you spamming Facebook too.
26. You’ll question your ability to parent – more than once
I can’t even look after my beard, how do I look after kids? It will actually come naturally to you.
27. Everyone will offer you some ‘advice’
Usually coming from anyone over the age of 30, and because you’re still relatively young, people are going to assume they can give you parenting advice. Be prepared and confident to politely ask people to mind their own thoughts, particularly if you didn’t ask for the advice.
28. Kids will be your greatest achievement
If I do nothing else in life I’ll be pretty happy. My kids are bloody awesome.
29. I’ve had to look at my relationship with my own parents
Becoming a dad at the same age my Mum was when she had me has open my eyes to the sacrifices she made. Huge respect and appreciation for some of the little things now.
30. Family is everything
I now know why Mum used to get so teary during family moments. They’re super special.
READ MORE FROM DANIEL FERGUSON:
- When do I get to talk about how I feel?
- After two kids my mates still don’t get it
- ‘Will our relationship ever be the same again?’