Becoming a dad is one of the most fulfilling stages in a man’s life, and quite possibly the most challenging. Part of the reason it’s so challenging is that you don’t have all of the information—nobody fills you in on what you can really expect when joining the ranks of new dads.
Maybe our dads think it’ll be funny to watch us struggle …
One thing they don’t tell you before you become a father is that you need to develop superpowers. You’ll be expected to perform miracles and transform yourself from a mild mannered fellow into a full-on superhero.
I came up with my own list of essential superpowers for dads, but this is only a start. The full list could fill a book (hey, that’s a great idea!).
1. Superhuman Strength: Can you carry a diaper bag, a screaming toddler, multiple bags of groceries, a handful of toys, and still have an arm free to open the car door? Better start practicing.
2. X-Ray Vision: Finding a lost toy in the middle of a messy room, locating a missing hamster, and seeing through a wall to make sure that your kid is not shredding or coloring on your taxes, or eating the soap will be a valuable skill to develop.
3. Mind Reading: Can you tell if your wife really doesn’t mind that you’re leaving her at home with the kids while you hang out with your buddies? (Now how would she answer that question?) When your child says they don’t need to pee (for the third time), are you able to look deep within their brain and see the puddle on the floor ready to happen? You’ll find mind reading to be one of the most indispensable of the superpowers.
4. Bi-location (Being in two places at the same time): Learning to be in two places at once is a fatherhood skill that sometimes escapes the best of us. Imagine pushing your daughter on the swing while spotting your son on the monkey bars. See yourself changing a diaper while you also stir the dinner and answer the phone, dropping none of them. Visualize changing the oil while also balancing the checkbook and shopping for groceries …
5. Extraordinary Diversionary Skills: The focus and drive of a child is amazing. Amazing, and sometimes maddening. Your toddler really, really wants another kid’s prized possession, and is about to have a major meltdown. Or you’re trying to leave the store without the toy that they just need to have. How are you going to distract them? Threatening them or dragging them out screaming is not an option …
6. Transmogrification: You’ll need to be able to turn a fridge full of leftovers into a meal to please even the pickiest eaters, and the ability to take an almost empty pantry and make it into a feast for a gang of starving kids (most useful in the middle of the night during a sleep-over)
7. MacGyver Fix-it Skills: “Dad, my [fill in the blank] is broken! So-and-so dropped it (or stepped on it, or ran over it) and it doesn’t work anymore. Fix it!” Alright dads, take your Swiss Army knife, duct tape, and super glue, and rebuild it. You have an hour. Go! You’ll find your inner engineer and your latent handyman skills, or you’ll be driving to the store right at closing time to buy a new one. Your choice.
Don’t let this list scare you off. Just pretend that under your (spit-up stained, spilled on) shirt, a big S is tattooed on your chest. Fake it ’til you make it, right?
What are your favorite dad superpowers? (Or ones you wish you had?)