You are a father now, and what your child wants from you is quality time


‘Father Effect’ is real and includes fewer psychological problems for children raised by present and engaged fathers.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Change the diaper, feed and burp the baby, hold him to your chest until he sleeps or pace around the house with him to comfort him. While at it, watch that his mouth and nose is not covered. And yes, give him a bath too.

 “She has no time for me since the baby arrived,” you tell your friends when you meet, which is not often nowadays.

Stop with the whining and step up to be counted. You are now a father, a daddy. Your wife, the new mother, did not go to any class to learn about newborn care. She’s just winging it. Follow suit.

Parenting is for the both of you. Claiming that you are providing, your wife does as well, is so old school, even the dinosaurs are yawning with boredom. Plus, provision does not exempt you from parenting your offspring.

The mother of your child carried the baby, but she knows zilch about what to do with a tiny human being whose only job is to eat and expel. And yell. You made the bed, now lie in it. You must play a part in your baby’s journey. A new mother is exhausted and sore, sleep deprived, experiencing a confusion of hormones and simply overwhelmed after carrying a baby for nine months and then giving birth.

The nanny, even three of them, can never replace your time, attention, and presence. Gentlemen, I will pluck off all my grey hairs – they are many - if one of you writes another email complaining that your wife no longer has time for you because of your newborn.

If your buddy or brother shares a similar grievance with you, ask them to read this, shape up and re-order his life afresh, as a daddy. This is a whole rite of passage. Being a daddy should transform you, forever. The prolonged celebration with the boys can wait. You should be petitioning for at least 30 days of paternity leave, not sneaking away to avoid your crying baby. They come with a package.

Pardon me. I needed to get that off my chest because not a week goes by without a man somewhere complaining about his newborn competing with him for his wife’s attention. Dude, that’s his mother and you are his father! You want your time back? Give in your time. Time is like love. It is those elements where the more you give off, the more you get back.

You give to get, and the more you give of it, the more you get, in good measure, shaken down overflowing. To a child, quantity is quality. Being present speaks love is love. Reading your child a story, crawling on the floor together, making silly faces, laughing with them, making faces, and stuff like that is your child’s love language.

In addition to experiencing every of your child’s milestones, your baby will also get to grow in the midst of one of the greatest of loves: a father’s. Often underrepresented, research has demonstrated that a father’s presence and engagement from early on in their child’s life affects the overall outcome of the child. Children raised by a loving father grow up confident and bold.

‘Father Effect’ is real and includes fewer psychological problems for children raised by present and engaged fathers. In contrast, father wounds are a reality in adults who experienced father absenteeism. Even if they had a father but he was emotionally distant, therefore the child did not feel their father’s affection, time, and engagement, the consequences include low self-esteem, anxiety and even anger.

Since sons tend to model themselves on their father, imagine how great a society we would be if more fathers were engaged in the everyday mundane aspects of their children’s lives? It is encouraging to see programs driven by men to empower men as fathers, husbands and leaders in their families and communities.

Theodore Hesburgh (1917-2015), an educator and author, asserts that the most important thing a father can give to his children is to love their mother. While at it, demonstrate this love often and let your children see it. It is the best way to teach them that leadership is service by word and deed.

Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage. [email protected]


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.