Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Required Reading For New Dads

What I learned during pregnancy is that no man is willing to pore over pregnancy and baby books like women do. It's the rare man who will agree to read even a short article on the baby topic. So if you know that rare man, this is one of those 'required reading' links you can pass along to that soon-to-be or new dad:


The highlights (and I'm quoting from the article here):
  • Since so often the tenderness and intimacy between new parents erode in the face of diaper-bin aromas, ointment-slicked hands, and wailing infants, it's not surprising that dozens of studies report a marked drop in marital satisfaction after the arrival of the first child. That's why it's important for Dad to remind himself that some changes -- like the lack of sex -- are only temporary. And to try to immediately address any conflicts that erupt, before they grow too large.
  • When you decide to become a parent, you realize that sacrifices will have to be made. It isn't until the baby shows up, though, that you understand which forfeitures you'll feel most. Some are big: freedom, spontaneity, time. But other sacrifices still smart. Many dads mention the shock of missing hobbies, sports, going to concerts and movies, sleeping late, even reading the newspaper. Call them quality-of-life casualties.
  • The isolation and cut-off feeling can be dire. "Sometimes parents fall into a rigid routine-frenzied workday, rush home, deal with screaming baby all night, rush back to work, etc.," says Marcus Goldman, M.D., author of "The Joy of Fatherhood: The First Twelve Months." "This unyielding schedule squelches creativity and piles on pressure. It can lead to irritability, miscommunication, lack of interest -- three traits that don't jibe well for three people trying to live together." As a result, some couples end up disengaging. Never varying your routine zaps the joy and makes parenthood all about pressure and obligation. The two of you have to mix it up. Shift duties, get out of the house every day, and give each other small freedoms.

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