Dear Crabby, How Can I Survive Fatherhood?

Dear Crabby,

My wife and I just had a baby girl two months ago, so this is going to be my first Father’s Day. Do you have any advice for a new dad? And most importantly, will I ever catch up on my sleep?

Thanks!
Paul Padre

Dear Mr. Padre,

The short answer to your sleep question is, ‘Ahahahahaha… no.’ You will never get a full night’s sleep again. In fact, you’ll become skilled in the art of catching a few winks whenever you can, wherever you are. And don’t think it gets better as they grow up, because that’s when you’ll start losing sleep for a bunch of other reasons.

DearCrabbyI remember when I was a new dad. Oh, I thought it was going to be so easy. After all, I had younger siblings who I looked after when I was growing up, and surely those experiences put me ahead of all those other loser newbie dads and would help me earn the title of ‘World’s Greatest Dad.’ Ah, I still remember the day reality gave me a big kick in the keister. Mrs. Crabby had to run some errands and left me with our oldest who was less than a year old at the time. She was only gone for an afternoon and when she got back, I made sure she knew how cranky her daughter had been from practically the moment she’d walked out the door. I’d rocked her, made silly faces at her, and changed her diaper (even though it was dry). There was just no making this kid happy. The very first question my wife asked me was, ‘Did you feed her?’ I was speechless. That was the one thing I hadn’t tried because Mrs. C. had fed her before she left. And that’s when I found out babies need to be fed more frequently… like every few hours. I’ve always considered myself to be a man of common sense and at that moment, I felt like a complete idiot. Get used to that feeling. As a dad, it’s gonna happen a lot, and it’s best if you find a way to laugh about it. The bottom line is you’re going to make mistakes. It happens to new dads and dads with five kids and years of experience under their belts. And here’s another gut punch: you can’t fix everything. Your little gal will come to you with tears from falling off her bike or a boy breaking her heart. And while it’s tempting to want to beat the snot out of every person who makes her sad, you can’t. Not only is it physically impossible, but also the lawsuits alone would keep you in the poorhouse! What you can do is support her and any other children you may have in the future. That’s all kids really want–to know someone loves him or her no matter what. Well, that and money. Along with your sleep, you can kiss that goodbye as well.

Good luck and enjoy your first Father’s Day!

Dear Crabby

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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at DearCrabby@rochestermedia.com.

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