Being a First Time Father without Having a Full Time Father

I’m going to be a Dad. It’s as simple as that. By July I’m be the responsible for a living, breathing, screaming bundle of life. That life will revolve around me and my partner. Its upbringing, and indeed its very survival, is dependent on our decisions and our choices.

That’s a lot of responsibility. Probably more than I’ve ever had in my entire 30 years of living on this planet. There’s no question that this will probably be the most massive undertaking of my life, and that’s the part that worries me. How do I be a good father? I guess most people would rely on the ‘write what you know’ philosophy that writers often advise. In this case, dads might wonder ‘what did mine do in a situation like this?’

Now, that can work. I mean, if your father raised you and you turned out a great, well adjusted person then doing the same for your own child could only bring about a similar conclusion right?

But what happens if you’ve got no background research to go off? My parents divorced when I was 3 years old, so I really didn’t have the benefit of a full time dad. I can’t use his experience to prepare my own child for life. That’s not to say he had no direct involvement but it wasn’t consistent. Think of him as a special guest star on the show of my life. It was great when I did see him, but I didn’t get the full picture because 2 days a week doesn’t always cut it. I rarely saw my dad angry, or annoyed, or unhappy. I didn’t get the benefits of having the complete father experience.

Thoughts like this do keep me up at night, because although I believe I’m a confident, happy, loving person, I sometimes question my abilities to successfully raise this child. I mean, my dad was (and still is) very traditional. Before the divorce he was firmly of the mind that the man of the house goes out and works. He leaves the initial upbringing to the mother. No changing of nappies, no feeding of milk, no bathing of baby.

I don’t know much about children but I do believe that this is detrimental to the development of your baby. You need to be there, even if the child is too young to appreciate it at the time, you’ll appreciate it. Although I’m scared, it’s a good kind of scared. How your child perceives you whilst growing up is going to affect them in many ways. If you’re not there, then maybe in a sense, they won’t be there. Not completely. And that’s something you can’t get back.

Being a constant presence in the raising of your child is a factor I’m acutely aware is essential. So yes I have a million thoughts flashing through my head, but not one of them is going to make me miss anything for a second.

[About the author: Halit is a copywriter for Appliances Online. When he isn’t writing about that, he loves the books of Hunter S. Thompson, has a penchant for Japanese cinema and was once almost punched by Sean Penn. True story.]
Image: jenny downing

5 thoughts on “Being a First Time Father without Having a Full Time Father

  • May 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm
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    It’s definitely a tricky one to figure out…but in terms of raising my daughter (now almost 2.5) I’ve never really relied on something I remember my dad doing, because all my memories of him involve older children (including myself). I don’t think you can go wrong my just trying to take over some of what you think are the responsibilities of the mom, that maybe you saw your own mother do, so that your wife can have a breather. THAT is what makes the best dad…someone willing to do anything for the sake of his family, no matter the stereotypes about men’s and women’s work.

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    • May 31, 2012 at 4:40 am
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      Yeah I agree. I really want to be a part of my child’s life in all aspects. I’m just getting those thoughts in my head about stuff like “what happens if I’m not around when they need me?” etc. But I suppose it’s just normal for any parent right?

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  • June 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm
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    Before my first daughter was born, my mom told me the three most important things to remember about babies. 1. Make sure they are fed 2. Make sure they’re diapers are clean 3. Love them
    Everything else will come to you. You won’t be perfect and that’s ok, no one is. You’ll learn as you go. I think you’ll be great.

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  • June 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm
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    YOU are way ahead of the curve already…you are aware of what you do and don’t know. And, you’re participating in the SoMe community of parents! I became a 1st-time dad at 40 so you’re a decade ahead of me and I declare you will be a GREAT DAD, Halit!

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  • June 6, 2012 at 1:52 am
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    Thanks Bruce, I appreciate the complement! Only 3 weeks left and looking forward to it a lot.

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