This Father’s Day will be a special event for me because it will be the first time I can celebrate with the official title of “Dad.” My son Elliott was born in January of this year, and I couldn’t be prouder of his inquisitive personality and the skills he is actively learning (like smiling, rolling and sitting up!).
This Father’s Day season has given me the opportunity to reflect upon my role this past year. Naturally, 2022 has been filled with wondrous experiences, but also exhausting trials and lifestyle adjustments. When faced with such momentous life changes, it important to check in on yourself and your mental health. Here are some professional tips I have researched that have resonated with me in my journey through fatherhood. Even if you are not a father or don’t plan to be a father, I think the ideas expressed in these tips apply to any change in life situation.
- Parenting anxiety is real; although you can’t be prepared for every problem, you can adapt and learn along the way2. I am a big fan of planning ahead, and even though I read all of the parenting books, there were still things that surprised me. Having a growth mindset is key, along with understanding that you don’t have to be perfect at everything.
- Find support among others, whether from friends, family, or joining a new dads support group2. I have had a tremendous support structure from my family and friends who are also dads. If you need support services, Postpartum Support International has a call/text line (800-944-4773) and an online support group3. Don’t forget, you can always seek professional help from therapists as well1.
- If you aren’t a single parent, don’t neglect your relationship with your partner2. Your relationship with them will change, so frequent communication is crucial for sharing your thoughts, expressing your feelings, and navigating new roles/responsibilities. Even though I haven’t always been perfect at communication, my wife and I always strive to be open with each other regarding the support we need.
- Don’t forget to take time for yourself and the things you enjoy1. Taking on a new role doesn’t mean you have to completely lose who you are. I think it’s important to take some time for yourself and make sure you are doing something that you enjoy; or better yet, do something you enjoy along with your kids. One of my favorite activities these days is feeding my son his bottle while listening to baseball games on the radio.
As I finish typing this up, Elliott is screaming in the other room because he doesn’t want to go down for his nap, even though he keeps yawning and is clearly exhausted. At times like these, whether you are a new dad or just navigating life’s many rollercoaster moments, I find it helps to remind yourself to have plenty of grace, and to cherish the small moments every time you get a chance.
Happy Father’s Day 2022!