1. Don’t put the kids before your marriage
If I had to give only one piece of advice to new dads, this would be it. Too many couples make this mistake and it destroys their family. Your kids need to know that your relationship with their mother is the most important thing. You bolster that by spending plenty of time together without the kids—and this includes vacations. It will be a great example for their future relationships and will also set the tone for your family from the top on down.
2. Buy a protective cup
You’ll get hit in the balls more than you ever thought. I wish someone would have told me I’d be punched in the junk at least twice a week when my kids became toddlers. And just like on America’s Funniest Home videos, you never see it coming.
3. Get ready to worry
You can’t fight worrying. It starts when you cut the umbilical cord until the day they stick you in the ground. You start by worrying they’ve stopped breathing in their sleep, and then you obsess that they’re going to choke on a meat stick. As the years go on you lose sleep about them going on dates, not fitting in, or getting into a situation they can’t handle. Then there are the worries that never go away like making enough money, paying for college and making sure you’ve taught them the right things to survive without you. The list goes on and on and it takes a major toll on you. But you worry because you love.
4. You’ll go soft
I don’t care how big your truck is or how much you paid to watch that last UFC fight; you are going to get soft. This goes double if you have a daughter. It’ll probably hit you right about the same time you sell your first box of Girl Scout cookies out in front of the grocery store.
5. Put away the credit card
Do not buy them whatever they want. Our generation has this mindset that if their kid wants a “Kinect” for Christmas, well then dammit, that’s what they’re going to get! There are few worse things than spoiled kids. But know this: if you buy them everything they want, they will never be happy. Never. You’re better off spending your money on experiences for them. Great memories are always better than crap from Target.
— Photo Robert Bouza/Flickr