Monday, May 02, 2005

Fatherly Advice from a Three Week Veteran

Ever since April 9, 2005, I have been a father. So far, it's been much easier than people led me to believe. That's mostly due to all the work that my lovely wife, Charline, has been doing. It's also due to the fact that our son, Jude Dylan Barger, is pretty easy to get along with. He's not too demanding or temperamental (yet?).

Here's my advice to all those novice fathers, from a guy who's been at it for a solid three weeks.
  • Choose a mate who likes the idea of breastfeeding. If there's no bottle, the father doesn't have to get up at crazy hours to feed the kid. Kudos to Mother Nature!
  • Get a midwife during the pregnancy. Many midwives adhere to a philosophy that says the father should not be expected to become some kind of coach or expert advisor in the childbirth process. He should be there and help out during the birth. But, why try to teach a man to tell a woman how to give birth? It's much better to have someone with experience do that.
  • Take time off work to get to know the kid. I took a little more than a week off work and plan to take off more time in a couple months. If I lived in a more rational country, like Sweden, Switerland, France, Germany, etc., I could take several weeks off work without having to give up my paycheck during that time.
  • Move to Sweden, Switzerland, France, or Germany before having children. That way, you benefit from real paternity benefits, unlike America where the benefit is that you're "allowed" to take all the time you want to be with your new child, so long as you don't expect a paycheck during that time.
  • Buy more trash cans. Those kids can really help increase the total waste output for a household, even when they're not doing anything useful.

That's all I've got so far. Look for more wisdom here as things develop.

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