Men Are Sharing The Things They Wish More People Knew About Fatherhood, And Wow, I Needed This

Becoming a dad is a life-changing experience.

An adult man and a young girl read a book titled "Just Ginger" together on a couch, both smiling and engaged in the story
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With Father's Day right around the corner, we recently asked men in the BuzzFeed Community to share the things they wished more people knew about fatherhood. Here's what they had to say:

1."I’ve noticed that in a lot of movies, or books or whatever, you see a lot of things where a man’s life is completely changed the moment their baby is born. Blow is a really good example. Johnny Depp's character literally has a heart attack and quits a serious cocaine problem the second his daughter is born. I’m not saying that's not real... But I’ve seen lots of posts from new dads freaking out and feeling like failures because they haven’t felt this 'immediate connection' to their newborns the way mom has."

"And I would tell new dads: That’s ok. Relax. Of course you don’t. Mom grew that thing. You’ve just been stressed. The connection will come. (And it will). If you do have that come to Jesus moment first time seeing your child, then great! But if you don’t, that’s ok, too. It’s ok to process your life changing forever. Give yourself time to adjust, destress, and support your partner and new little dependent (😂), and try not to worry about how you’re supposed to feel. You’re not a bad person or a failure as a father or partner."


2."There is nothing more rewarding than getting to watch your child grow. To start with a tiny helpless baby and watch as they learn to walk, talk, run, ride a bike, play sports, read, etc. I don't know what type of impact I'll leave on the world as a whole, but I do know that if nothing else, I'll leave a massive impact on my two daughters."


A man holds a baby sleeping on his shoulder while another man sits beside them, smiling and holding a coffee cup
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3."First-time dad of the most perfect 10-month-old girl. This isn't so much of a thing to know as it is a statement; gents, if you want to be a father, you better be prepared to step up and accept something; the baby comes first over drinks at the bar with pals, over nice long gym sessions after work, over going to sports games on the weekend, or all-night gaming sessions."

"I'm sick of seeing 'men' get all excited about fulfilling their reptilian brain cell urges to procreate, and then failing to accept that their lifestyle must change afterward. Also, if you want to glorify that 'trad life' nonsense, then you better have a seriously, seriously substantial income to back it up. Otherwise, get ready to become as equally well-versed in nappy changing, sleep scheduling, bottle preparation, and early childhood developmental science as your partner. There are many more things I could say and probs will, but this sticks out to me."


4."My job requires a lot of travel. My wife picks up the solo parenting duty while I'm away. However, she gets emotional when we are apart and insinuates that I'm 'vacationing' from the family. Outsiders to our relationship do the same. It is no picnic being away from the ones I love, and my heart hurts from being less available to my children while on the road. I only wish society as a whole better understood that the sacrifices dads make to support the family are not done lightly or with some sort of motivation to get away."

—Anonymous, 45, Michigan

A father kissing and holding a young daughter with curly hair at home, guitar and plants in the background
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5."Do show emotions around your children. We are their first teachers, and one thing we can teach early is how to express emotions. Your children will learn how to process themselves emotionally primarily from how you process yours. I’m not saying don’t get angry, but show them how to process anger in a healthy way."

—Anonymous, 34, Pennslyvania

6."Fatherhood is the best thing a man can experience in life. I lost my father four months after the birth of my daughter, and she has been the glue keeping me sane and allowing me to heal with gratitude versus depression and going to a dark place. I get I’m a new guy who experienced a full circle of life moment; however, in this day and age anything that can genuinely keep you grounded and full of constant joy is rare. It’s taught me a lot about myself, patience, and most importantly that time is our most valuable commodity on this floating rock. Too often we get caught in the rat race or chasing the almighty dollar… All of that is irrelevant when it comes to seeing your child’s face upon waking up in the morning and coming home from work at the end of the day. I thought I knew what love was prior to her birth… I had no fucking clue."

—Anonymous, 37, Michigan

7."Birth trauma hits dads, too. My wife had an emergency C-section, and it brought up loads of emotional and mental health trauma (i.e., PPDA). Not only was it immediately apparent (and important) to be there and be supportive, but also recognize how the entire situation impacts you as a dad. Name it, find ways to manage how it manifests, and be forgiving as you try to navigate being a supportive but afflicted partner. We carry a lot, but it doesn’t mean you have to carry it alone."

—Anonymous, 36, California

Man embraces and kisses a baby on the forehead. Both are in casual clothing. Names unknown
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8."The love is in the word 'No.' I tell my kids that if I didn’t love them, I wouldn’t care what they ate, what they watched on TV, and what time they went to bed. It’s by setting these boundaries that we show kids that we are there and we care about their well-being. They grow up happier and more secure as a result."

—Anonymous, 56, BC

9."It's really hard, and doesn't get easier. I love my kiddos who are 11 and 8, and when I went to my mom to ask for her advice, she said, 'Little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems.' That has scared me for the last five years, and is 100% true. At the end of the day, a good dad is selfless, and that takes a toll."

—Anonymous, 45, Colorado

10."I was told early on the importance of making time for your spouse after having kids. It’s important to remember that as much as raising your kids is vital, it’s also as important to have some alone time with your spouse. Whether it’s a simple date night or activity that you both enjoy, it really can help deal with the stresses of parenthood when you and your partner are able to dedicate quality time together. In the end, we hope our kids can branch out and do their own thing and it’s just you and your spouse. So make sure you keep them in mind as well as your precious child/children."

—Anonymous, 38, Florida

A man and woman sit at a dining table, smiling and clinking wine glasses. They are having a meal in a modern kitchen
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11."Your relationship with your spouse will change. And it needs to be made a priority as well."


"I really think this is THE change that doesn’t get addressed enough. You tend to both focus on the baby, and finding that time to focus on each other is so hard to find. This is my current challenge, making the time."


12."Every TV show, etc. depicts parenthood as this horribly impossible chore. I think it has its challenges, but it's also the deepest, most meaningful thing I've ever done. My kids bring me so much joy. Yes, they can be difficult, but I've never felt that feeling of completeness before having them. All the small things and adventures you can have together. The appreciation that they have for you. It knows no bounds."


13."The ‘I loved you the moment I saw you' thing, good chance that’s not going to happen. Might take months."


A man with a beard wearing a white shirt smiles while giving a piggyback ride to a cheerful toddler girl in a garden setting
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14."There is an immediate change in your time. There is no more free time. Either you or your wife need to have eyes on that baby 24/7. The baby may not want to sleep in its crib, might want to sleep on you. The ability to just go play a game or watch something is gone, but that is ok. The rest of your life is filled with the purpose of caring for your little one and wife. It takes an adjustment, but it’s pretty great."


15."I wish I was more prepared for my wife’s postpartum depression. She has anxiety and depression, and we knew going in she was much more likely to develop PPD because of it."

"My wife had nothing but trouble with trying to breastfeed and pump, and even though we previously talked that we're 100% okay doing formula if we have to, that just fucking crushed her. She felt like a failure of a mother no matter how much I reassured her that she was not, and that our boy would be perfectly fine being formula fed. Ten months in, and he is an incredibly big and healthy baby boy. He is a 99th percentile, super happy, super sweet boy, and all the 'breast is best' formula naysayers can suck it."


16."The little bits of sadness when they mature and need you less and less."


Two men, one in a green shirt and one in a striped shirt, hold and kiss a smiling baby wearing a floral dress outdoors
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17."I went into it expecting no more free time or social life. Pretty soon, the wife and I figured out a routine. Friday night is free time: I play games with my mates online, and she usually does crafts or watches TV. Saturday can be together time or free time, depending on if either of us has a plan we announced sufficiently early enough for either activity. Sunday night is family time. The rest of the week nights we try to strike a balance and spend at least one of those nights not watching TV. It might be puzzles, games, crafts, budgeting, meal planning, DIY home improvement, or dealing with a problem in the house."


18."It's more fun than anyone lets on. Everyone talks about the no sleep, no sex, yada, yada, but no one tells you how much fun it is to be a dad. You're like a celebrity that parties with your fans."


19.And lastly, "I was SO pumped at the stage when my girl only wanted me. But that happiness was tempered by the fact my wife was devastated and thought she was no longer needed. The pendulum of a child's parental needs swings back and forth for the first few years. Support your partner in both cases: when they’re the Number One Parent, and when you’re the Number One Parent. Both situations require love and understanding."


Do you have some advice about fatherhood you wish more people knew? Let me know in the comment section below!

Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.