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DadShower for my Son, Ben

Hey Dad,

My son, Ben is about to become a father. I thought he benneft from your years of fatherly advice. Now don’t overwhelm him…he doesn’t have to know it all yet.

Give him your best advice (things you wished someone had told you) for being a dad/husband for the next 6 months of his journey. Just for fun…here’s the greatest Dick Van Dyke episode ever..and he’s an expecting father.

He’s almost ‘da dad!

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Relax and enjoy the ride!! Kids are God’s greatest gift!! You will make an awesome dad because you have a wonderful role model in your own dad! Don’t sweat the small stuff!! Stay calm and be da’DAD!!!

  2. * DON’T PANIC. Worry is good, crying is good, passion is good, but if you panic you’ll encourage your wife to panic. She’ll look to you to be there when something goes wrong. Just remember you’re not Jesus & you’re not perfect. 🙂

    * The baby stays in the baby’s room, not in your room. Very important. Will help with above. 🙂

  3. You have the amazing privilege and awesome responsibility of being the one person who will most shape your child’s understanding of fatherhood, not just your own, but God’s. You are the living, visible illustration of the unseen Father. Daily plead with Him to empower you to display Him to your little one in all of His glorious love, mercy, grace and goodness.

  4. Your child notices and understands more than you realize. A child is a learning machine. Even in the womb, your child is learning – touch, sound, voices, stress, peace, … Right now, your child is learning what is “normal”. That learning process accelerates rapidly after birth.

    Our understanding of “normal” defines how we understand and interpret every event that follows. It is the foundation of what we believe relationships can be, should be, and it underpins our openness to the need for and desire for a Savior.

    So, my advice is: Build your child a great normal. Love your wife openly. Let your service and sacrifice for her show. Keep her prominently second in your life, second only to Christ. Be consistent, and speak often of Christ. Speak gently, and offer grace. Guard the hearts and minds of your family, and give Satan no foothold.

    If that sounds like a huge task, well, it is. Show your child what great effort looks like, but never let them believe you are perfect, because Christ is perfect, and what your child believes “perfect” looks like is what he will believe Christ looks like, and Christ is better.

  5. Make God the center of your family, dedicate your children to His kingdom, and try to get your head around the fact that God has appointed parents to be stewards, not owners of children. Oh, and read your dad’s newsletter each week, he never fails to give great ideas for being a better dad.

  6. Hormones will be raging. Up and down, all the time. Try to reassure her that everything will be okay, even if you don’t feel that way. Your reaction to situations affect not only her but the baby as well. Always remember that the baby is a blessing not a burden or an obligation. Remind her and the baby that you love them. Try to to gauge your stress level with hers, if she’s not worried about it, you don’t worry about it. God will provide! It took me 5 children to figure this out. Your family is there to support you. Talk to your dad, he’s been there. Vent to him not at your wife. He’ll understand. You’ll be fine. You’ve had a wonderful example of what a father, husband and man should be. Blessings of favor, prosperity and increase. Joy, peace and hope. I lift up your wife and child, healing, health and life over mind, body and spirit. In Jesus’s name. Amen and amen.
    Matt Brown and the Brown family.

  7. The next 6 months are going to be hard… and joyful. Your wife just went through labor… that might actually be the easy part. Now there is feedings round the clock. She won’t want to be touched, and she will be exhausted. You will have to carry a lot more of the burden even some of the pink jobs until things normalize.

    On the other hand, watching the new baby grow and smile… will bring a smile to your face even in the roughest of times.

    Don’t worry about the mistakes. Everyone makes them. Just don’t give up.

  8. Well, I don’t know if this is advice or not, but after seeing your “Blue/Pink Jobs” post, I thought I’d add a bit I heard a comedian perform about “BLUE AND PINK HEARING AIDS,” a.k.a.: HE SAID/SHE SAID. Guys wear blue “hearing aids” and they filter what the pink person says. And vice versa. You know the old “What I said is not what you heard” or ” What you thought I said was not what I said.” thing with husbands and wives.

    Another comedian did “There was an accident, but nobody died.” That’s what guys want to hear. Whittled down, just the facts, ma’am, cut-to-the-chase information. Wives need to hash through all the details, innuendo and the emotional ramifications of every incident. Notice I said NEED. Also notice I didn’t say NEED IT FIXED. Unless it’s the car. Then we need it fixed. And we want to know which serviceman worked on it, and how long it took, and how much they charged for labor, and did the dealership sell to someone else because their customer service is suddenly lacking, and did you pay by cash, check or credit card………yadayada.

    Uh….hope that helps! And congratulations to your son!

    The Hestir Family

    ps- you might want a written schedule of who gets up at night with the baby. It might cut back on the screaming going on in your house. lol

  9. I’d say just set aside whatever you have going on and take the time to hold your new baby a lot. All the other stuff can wait, but you’ll never get back the chances to hold your baby once that short period of time is gone.

  10. Ben, When your bride is hormonal (post-partum), grumpy (post-partum), exhausted (post-partum), depressed (post-partum)… any way you get the idea… you will have the full opportunity to demonstrate the way the Christ loves His bride. Die daily and serve fully – that’s what He has done for us.

  11. When the text on the side of the diaper box says 8-14 lbs, it’s referring to the weight of the baby, not how much the diaper will hold.

  12. It’s your job to train your child to know, love, and serve God. Not just kinda know, or somewhat love, or half-heartedly serve. Really know. Really love. And Really serve.

    But it’s going to be awhile before you get to those concepts. In the meantime, don’t forget that changing dirty diapers is a brown job (see the email your dad sent today, 1/26/17)! 🙂

  13. Always change the diaper. It gives mom a much needed break (nursing, etc.) The baby needs dad time, too. Change the diaper and spend some dad time with your baby (talking, singing silly songs, paying) and cherish every minute of it….time flies by so fast.

  14. Ben – congratulations to you and your wife on your first child. Life will never be the same, and that’s both scary and incredible. As the big Wilson brother, you’ve been around quite a few young ones, so you will probably not find the “new baby” stage as intimidating as some first-time dads (like me – I’d never held or even seen a baby up close before our oldest was born). A few “new dad” tips for you, though: (Don’t let the length scare you off. Your dad did say to not overwhelm you. It is only a few tips, I’m just long-winded in my effort to be thorough.)

    – Lots of people are going to want to tell your wife (and you, to some extent) how best to _______ (feed, put to bed, dress, interact with, raise, hold, teach, love, discipline, etc.) the baby. YOU NEED TO BE THE GATEKEEPER. You and your wife will figure out how things work best, whether through books, YouTube videos, listening to advice from those you ask for it, or just trying things until you figure out what works. In the meantime, though, there will be a lot of people (especially other women) who will use their position of “authority” (whether it be because they are older, or more experienced, or a million other reasons) to TELL your wife what she needs to do to be a good mother. She will feel overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, and judged. It is your rightful place to both stand up for your wife’s decisions AND to – when necessary – stand between her and another well-meaning (but ultimately unhelpful) advice-giver. Be sure you are regularly assuring her both verbally and non-verbally that you trust her to make these decisions, and that she is doing a wonderful job. When she actively seeks advice, encourage her to ask for it from other parents that she trusts and admires, but also be quick to help her filter out the nonsense. Just because Mrs. “I had my baby on an every-6-hours-feeding sleep schedule at 2 weeks, made him cry it out and he slept through the night at 3 weeks, had him potty trained at 6 months and reading at a year, now he’s 15 and getting his doctorate at Oxford” has raised a child, it doesn’t mean she is the best source of information on parenting, taking care of babies, or mothering (and – hint – probably isn’t truthful). Learn the difference between when your wife is “overwhelmed” (as in, she is just feeling down and doubting herself like every mother does) and when she is OVERWHELMED (as in, she truly has no idea what to do and needs help figuring it out). Offering your support and encouragement in the former instance, and your guidance to sources of wisdom in the latter will help HER learn to trust her God-given instincts as a mother.

    – Your relationship with your wife is still the 2nd most important one (the 1st being the relationship you both have with God). The baby will take more of your time and focus, but continually work to ensure that she knows that she is most important. And, in a gentle, loving way, be sure she reciprocates. It can be very easy to get so wrapped up in the time and energy demands required in the day-to-day of parenting that over time, the relationship priorities shift without anyone noticing. You have to mindfully practice keeping each other as the “most important” or you won’t.

    – Give her “baby” time. I learned this the hard way. When our kids were little babies, my wife would spend all day long doing for everyone, and her “snuggle time” with the new baby was always the bare minimum needed to feed, change, soothe, etc. I’d come home from work and “volunteer” to hold the baby so she could do other things. It wasn’t until our fourth was nearly out of her babyhood that I discovered that what she really wanted and needed was for me to come home and “volunteer” to do some of those other things so that she could just enjoy snuggling with the baby “just because”.

    – Don’t demote your wife’s needs. Moms seem to catch on to parenting more easily than dads, and it can often seem like they have it all together and don’t really need us. This one has 2 parts (and part 1 has 2 benefits):
    1 – Your wife still needs time to be a friend, daughter, sister, etc and pursue her interests. So when she has the opportunity to do something without the baby, don’t offer to “babysit”. Tell her to go do those things so you can spend more time being the at-home parent.
    This has two benefits: First, she will more readily see you and respect you as the other half of the parenting team, instead of feeling like she’s the “varsity” parent, and you’re the JV alternative that only gets called up when absolutely necessary for the least amount of time possible. That means you need to take time when she’s around to figure out changing diapers, entertaining and soothing, how to make a meal or clean up a mess AND take care of the baby. If the very first time she leaves the baby with you, you call her after she’s been gone 20 minutes because you don’t know what to do, she won’t feel like she can easily go the next time. In other words, don’t be the hapless dad that every TV show and movie makes men look like. You won’t spend nearly as many hours one-on-one with your baby, but you can spend the time you are with the baby when your wife is around to learn how to competently be with the baby when she’s gone. When you’re both home she should be able to take a nap or shower, work on a craft, fix a meal, etc while you hang out with the baby and not be interrupted because you need her to do something (or tell you how to do it) for the baby. [PS – you learn how to do this the same way she did. Just keep trying things until you figure out how to do it.]
    Second, you will BE the other half of the parenting team. You’ve probably heard the joke about the wife who never asks her husband to do anything because when he does, she just has to re-do it “the right way” (the punchline of that unfunny joke is, “so just do everything wrong and your wife will never ask for help”). It’s one thing to parent differently than your spouse (and that thing is fine as long as you are in agreement about the major things), but it is quite another – and frankly, a nearly criminal thing – to avoid basic parenting responsibilities or do them poorly just to keep from having to do them. You should want to rival your wife’s abilities to change a diaper, run a load of spit-up covered clothes, soothe the baby, teach a skill, etc. And while it might not always seem like it, your wife wants you to be able to do those things well, cheerfully, and easily. [This is probably a good place to also mention that while you and she might load the dishwasher differently or change a diaper in different steps, none of those things is a hill worth dying on. It won’t kill you to learn how your wife prefers those jobs to be done, and in most cases, she’ll find some pretty awesome ways to express her appreciation for your desire to do those things to her exacting standards. 😉 ]

    2. To meet your wife’s needs, you must understand that when your wife says “I need you”…SHE. NEEDS. YOU. You’re still fairly new to marriage, so I’d wager that you both still have plenty of days when you or she (somewhat-jokingly) says or implies, “I don’t want you to go. I need you to be here with me.” just because being together is better than not being together. That isn’t the context I’m referring too. As a mother, she will gain confidence in her ability to handle the pressures of day-to-day life, and though she might occasionally tell you she “needs you” in the “I miss you and want you around” way, she will not often NEED YOU in the “drop everything and get to her immediately” way. But when she does, DROP. EVERYTHING. AND. GO!
    I just hit the end of the 2nd decade of parenting today (our oldest turned 20) and this is probably my biggest regret in all my husbanding/parenting mistakes. We had several rough patches when our kids were young because my wife had actually been in enough need that she said the words, “please come (or stay), I need you” and I brushed it off as inconsequential or momentary weakness on her part because I was under the delusion that my job’s needs were a higher priority than her perceived needs. One of those times, she had literally been up with the baby at least 8 times a night, every night, for over 3 months with our youngest (a very demanding newborn) and was run ragged by overly-full days of parenting a toddler, a pre-schooler and a 2nd grader, taking care of the household, and homeschooling with no nearby friends or family to help out. On top of all that, she came down with a debilitating case of the flu the morning she asked me to stay home from work simply so she could get some sleep. I said something along the lines of “just put on a movie for the kids and rest on the couch” and left for work, and my callous disregard for her needs that day had far-reaching consequences. She began to shut down and distance herself emotionally from me purely for self-preservation, to keep from being continually hurt by my screwed-up priorities. In fact between that day and the day I nearly lost everything, she stopped asking me for ANYTHING.
    Rock bottom (the day I nearly lost everything) was a couple years later. Our son was sick and my wife was told to take him to the ER immediately. Faced with the prospect of having to drag along and deal with our other 3 very young and needy children in the midst of our oldest child’s medical emergency, she called me at work – knowing I was in the midst of an “important” all-company conference – and said, “I need you to come help me.” Instead of coming and helping, I brushed her off, told her I was busy doing important things and suggested she could figure out an alternate plan (I may have even implied that our son wasn’t as sick as she was claiming). By the time I got around to being available, our son was in emergency surgery, and my selfish decision had made it crystal clear that she and her needs (and to some extent, our children’s needs) were not my priority. Those mistakes on my part nearly destroyed our marriage, and it was only through her willingness to forgive me and work towards rebuilding our relationship that I have been able to work on being the trustworthy husband she and our children deserve. I breached her trust in a way that was not easy to repair, and that kind of trust takes a LONG time to rebuild.
    I realize that was an incredibly long story to make a pretty short point, but it’s such a critical point, I didn’t want you to miss it. Do NOT demote your wife’s needs.

    I’m praying for you as you embark on fatherhood. You’ve been blessed with an incredible responsibility and awesome privilege. Enjoy it and savor every moment; it won’t seem like it when you are in the thick of things, but the time will go by way too fast. It seems like just yesterday I was holding my son for the first time…I blinked and two decades flew by.

    So, if you don’t mind one last piece of advice… We’re living in a really fast-paced, information-saturated age. There will be many moments to come when you’ll be summoned by a glowing rectangle. In those moments, you’ll have to choose between putting down your kid and picking up the phone, or putting down the phone and picking up your kid.

    Always pick up your kid.


  15. Remember, you are the father. Your wife is not the father, your dad is not the father, her dad is not the father, your mom is not the father, her mom is not the father. It is your responsibility, don’t abdicate. Take ownership. It is a blessing.

  16. It doesn’t matter how tired you get. Remember, your wife is even more tired than you are. She is more hormonal than you. And somehow, she is handling it despite all that better than you.

    She will gladly push her body to the breaking point for love of your child. So be quick to get out of bed. Be quick to get up from the table. Your wife need you know more than she ever has before.

  17. Hi Ben,
    – Always help with changing diapers (I don’t mean –just the wet ones) and dressing your baby.
    – Feeding time—NEVER prop a bottle up for feeding your baby—always hold the baby.
    This helps with bonding with the child and makes the child feel more loved. It also helps with the digestion of the child (not kidding)
    – If your wife is breast-feeding, sometimes have your wife sit on your lap with your arms around them (mother and child)
    – invest in a moby wrap (you will be glad you did)—-if you don’t know what it is, google it
    – Have a sign made for your door–“baby sleeping” or “mother and baby resting”—-babies tend to cause more visitors
    – Help more with the house chores– cleaning, cooking, dishes, laundry
    – Time management—have play time with your child, but always make time for your wife
    – After a short time you will get the hang of it and it will all become routine
    – Remember—you are now the “DA’ DAD”

  18. Don’t worry about making mistakes as a father. Just be humble enough to learn from your mistakes and be willing to apologize to your children when needed. Kids are very forgiving.

  19. Above all else teach your precious daughter to love the Lord God with all her heart, mind, soul, and strength. All else will fall into place. There will be bumps, turns, twists, and joys, but lean heavily in the arms of Jesus.

  20. I will pass on the advice my Mom gave me when my wife and i were expecting our first and I asked her for parenting advice. She was a Mom of 16 [that is not a typo], and kind of a parenting expert in my opinion. This is the only advice I give unless people ask me a specific question [I guess I am an expert as well as we are expecting #8 [also not a typo] still learning myself].

    1) Children bounce, they don’t break. You won’t be a perfect parent and you will make mistakes. Learn from the mistakes & act on what you have learned. Your kids will be fine and so will you.

    2) It is ok to say “No” and mean it. The word “No” has become an bad word in parenting and in society. Spoiler alert…it isn’t. Use it freely & use it often…yours kids will appreciate the boundary and will respect you for it later.

    Blessings to you and yours!

  21. Hi Ben,. I grew up with your Dad. We went to school together.. Church together…You have a great example of what it is to be a good man. With that said……. …………. First…Pray often…The answers don’t always come easy…They’re do come easier when you have God’s ear…In a quiet drive…A walk out back….Any where anytime…Have a walk and a talk with God… Second….Take care of Mom…I can’t stress this enough…Love her support her…Give her whatever she needs to be that awesome Mom…She will shape your child in so many ways…And your love and support of her will directly affect her abilities as a Mom…Love her with all your heart…Third… Remember always….They WILL do what you do…NOT what you say….Don’t preach and lecture…Teach and show….Be the example….You me not feel like they are always listening…But they are definitely paying attention….Listen to them….Give them a voice….When they don’t agree with you…Give them a “why’ ..Set boundaries and stick to them….Be slow to anger….Be there for every moment you can…Another hour at work is a lot less important than showing up for the little league….Or dance class…Or band concert…Or just keeping your word to play catch in the back yard…Be there….Love them for who they are…Help them live there dreams….Not yours….Allow them to see your failures….Allow them to see you get back up….Allow them to fail…And get back up…Last …Be a family…Do things together….Love and support each other….I think you have had a great example for his….Keep an open and honest relationship with your parents…They are your biggest fans…And can be a great support….I’m sure your Dad will love to share more of his wisdom…Lol… Honestly..I’m 52 and I consider my 89 yr old Father my best friend….He’s always been there….Your heavenly Father is always there…Your Father Todd…Will be there… Enjoy the Journey….When in doubt…Love first!

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