Advice for Expectant Fathers
Expectant fathers go through profound changes, too, even though their bodies don't change. Overcoming fears and assumptions is part of becoming a father.
Dealing With the Boss continued...
Exhibiting some tact might also be a good idea. "I strongly
recommend that you don't go into your boss's office armed with a copy of
the Family Leave Act and slam it down on his desk, saying 'These are what my
rights are!'" says Brott. "No one wants to hear that." Instead, go
in with suggestions, perhaps with the offer to work from a home office a few
days a week.
Although it may not be an easy conversation, Brott says that
having settled the issue with your boss early will allow you to feel much more
"Men also tend to have exaggerated fears of what could go
wrong with their jobs," says Brott. "Your boss may be more
accommodating than you expect."
"Guys have trouble letting go of their freedoms, their
routines, their self-imposed duties that they actually relish," says Swain.
"But taking care of a child full-time demands that you shelve all that. The
challenge of being a good dad is relinquishing some of yourself and giving it
to your child."
Brott agrees. "As your kids grow, you'll learn to be more
patient and understanding of people's foibles and mistakes," he says.
"For instance, I used to be the most uptight person about being on time and
about other people being on time. But once I had kids, I'd get ready to go and
one of them would fill her diaper. By the time the diaper was changed, I was
late. But it didn't matter as much anymore."
People who aren't parents might assume that parenthood causes
an inward retreat; after all, new parents seem to talk about nothing but
feeding and nap schedules. But Brott says that fatherhood often spurs people to
have a wider and more comprehensive view of the world.
"When you have a kid, you start thinking about stuff you
didn't think about before," says Brott. "You start thinking about
childcare, neighborhood development, and the state of education in this
country. You start worrying about landfills and disposable diapers."
"It may sound kind of silly," Brott continues, "but
you may realize that you don't really want your child to grow up in the same
world that you did, or you want to give them a better chance that you had, and
so you start trying to change the world in any little way that you