by Tony Chen Happy. Exhausted. In Awe. Crazed. In Shock. Helpless. Humbled. Confused. Angry. Proud. Terrified. Ecstatic. Whatever the feeling, you've probably felt it. We know where you're at because we've been there, too. Yes, that baby's yours. Congrats! Way to go, man. You're a new father now. You're a dad! Woo-hoo! Enjoy these precious moments. It's cliche, but true - it'll go by fast, so savor it. Remember how you feel right now. Remember what that first cry, that first yawn, that first fart sounds like. Remember how small your little baby is, nestled in your arm. Take a mental picture of your baby's first look into your eyes and file that away in your memory vault for good. These are great moments. Your new mission has begun. We know you're busy and your time surfing online is limited. But as fellow dads, we wanted to offer some practical, short-and-sweet advice as you begin your savvy daddy journey. You may be wo ndering how to survive the first 30 days, or maybe how to survive the first year of fatherhood:
- Learn like a sponge - you'll learn quickly what your baby needs (based on timing, trial-and-error, and different cry types) and what your wife needs (she'll probably tell ya, or at least give "helpful hints"). Jump in and provide for the 2 most important people in your life. But don't forget to learn (or re-learn) what you need yourself (sleep, occasional drink w/ the guys, "cave" time).
- Find your new balance - between work & family, being a dad & being a husband, schedules & interruptions, knowing exactly what to do & being clueless, the joy of freedom & the joy of being on a new mission. No problem. Yes, things will never be the same, but in no time you will find the new rhythm of your life.
- Make a few decisions - when you're ready, you'll probably have some practical decisions to face, such as how to choose a pediatrician, write your will, pick a babysitter, buy safe toys, and find a dependable nanny. There may be other decisions to make and other skills to learn, and you can read them at our full listing of new dad articles, but save these for another day.
- Smile...a lot - There will be plenty of time to figure everything out, one step at a time. So, just enjoy these moments (most older dads I talked to wanted me to emphasize this point). So, ENJOY and marvel at the gift you've been given.