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 in control.
"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 can."