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How to stay cool as a first-time dad

Becoming a dad for the first time is challenging at the best of times let alone during a pandemic. Here’s a handy guide for all first-time fathers

Will Smith and Jaden Smith in The Pursuit Of Happyness.

Learning that you’re soon to become a dad is one of those moments when reality seems momentarily suspended.

It’s amazing and terrifying in equal measure – a bit like the unforgettable seconds when you’re poised on the edge of a bungee jump and you’re about to take the plunge.

And no matter how thrilled you are at the prospect of fatherhood, there are bound to moments of wistfulness.

Will you have to give up the lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to build up?

Must you trade your sports car for a station wagon?

Relax. You can do this in style. Sure, there are going to be some changes, and that sports car, if its a two-seater, might just be due for a trade-in, but you don’t have to swop your Gucci for baggy sweaters and stop enjoying the finer things in life.

For now, keeping your cool means knowing what to expect – especially as the big day when your little one is born draws nearer.

Get off to the Right Start

Before your child is born, it’s a good idea for both you and your partner to know what things you will need in order to be ready to go in the middle of the night.

For you, that’s comfortable, easy-on clothing, your wallet, mobile phone and a backup power source, and for her, it’s a whole lot more.

Remember that you could be waiting for anything up to 18 hours, so although her hospital bag is the most important one, you may want a handy pack with whatever you need to freshen up so that you can both look and feel like the perfect dad when you’re first introduced to your bundle of joy.

The First Months

You’re likely to find that you’re spending more time at home during the first weeks of your baby’s life.

Don’t become a couch potato. Lockdown should have given you some insight into how to keep fit as a stay-at-home, so keep up that training routine even when Baby has kept you awake all night and you’re feeling a bit frazzled.

Personal care remains important, no matter what, so keep yourself looking and feeling like the stylish dad you are with street-smart casuals (think Kanye West) or sophisticated yet laid-back ensembles a la Steven Yeun.

If you can get through those first months without letting yourself go, you should be on a good wicket and ready to put your best foot forward no matter what fatherhood throws at you in the years to come.

Keep a Good Balance

As Lakeith Stanfield, the versatile actor and all-round cool guy best known for his role in the TV series Atlanta observes, being a dad changes your perspective.

It’s a whole new world. Although women and the changes that motherhood brings receive more of a media focus, being a dad alters you too.

There are real physical, emotional, and mental changes as you enter the ages-old role of fatherhood.

As so many women have been warned, and so few men have, don’t lose yourself. You still matter.

Fatherhood is quite possibly the most important thing you’ll ever do, but your identity needs to remain intact.

Be a dad, but also be yourself. Find a balance between your social life, your career ambitions, your family time, and time with your partner.

Your priorities may have shifted, but maintaining a well-rounded lifestyle will help you to be a fulfilled, happy, and always super-cool father.

And if you really screw up? Well, just remember: 'Mum's the word.'

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