I was recently asked what advice I would give first to a new dad. I didn’t hesitate.
When you are not worried, don’t be worried.
There will be plenty of times when you are not calm and when you are very worried. Don’t try and add any more.
As fathers we instinctively wonder whether or not the mothers are better. After all, it has only been in the last handful of decades that society has come around to the idea that men can be good parents, just like women can be good employees. But, that kind of programming doesn’t undo itself overnight.
Sure, everyone says the right things, but somewhere inside, we wonder if there isn’t at least some truth to it. Are our wives the better parents, especially with newborn babies?
The answer is irrelevant (though the answer is no, some men are better, some women are better, and mostly, both parents are just as good). What is relevant is to not give into the temptation to follow along with the mother because you are unsure of your current status as a parent. The mom will freak out about different things than the dad. This isn’t a men and women issue, this is a two different people issue. Some people think tattoos are disgusting, and others love them. Some people can’t stand the sight of blood, and other people wonder what the big deal is. Some moms freak out over every baby spit-up (That one smelled like bile) some dads don’t. Some dads freak out over every red mark (Is that a spider bite?) while some moms don’t.
The point is that there will be plenty of things (very soon) that will worry you, so don’t TRY and worry about something that doesn’t worry you. It doesn’t mean that you care less, or that you don’t love the little one as much. It means that what is happening doesn’t seem like a big deal. Do talk to your partner and tell them why you aren’t worried and see why they are, because these things tend to blow up especially if there is some lack of sleep coupled with some stress going on.
In short, do what you are supposed to do. Put them on their back to sleep, feed them every 2 hours, and change their diapers regularly. That will just about do it. You can worry about spider bites in the morning. Is is enough to fumigate her room, or should I do the whole house?