Eight Pieces of Advice I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Dad

by Jason -- November 30, 2017

Life update! Immediately following our year living in Seoul, Sharon and I decided to start a family. In fact, our oldest daughter, Jerah, was conceived in Seoul.

Fast forward a few years and Jerah is now 5 and has a younger sister, Adlyn, who is 2. Another, very different, adventure for Sharon and I!

I was recently reflecting on being a Dad because a good set of friends became pregnant. I don’t see these friends often, but got to spend a weekend with the husband at a bachelor party. After a night of moderate drinking, he started asking questions about what he should read to help him prepare for fatherhood. I unfortunately had zero helpful answers, but it did make me think through the things I wish someone had told me before having kids.

With that, here’s what I came up with —

  1. Breastfeeding is crazy hard and many mothers are unsuccessful. This was hugely surprising. Very related: lactose consultants are amazing. When you have the opportunity to work with one, say yes every single time they offer.
  2. Create an email address for your kids, then set a reminder to write them an email every 6 months. When they’re old enough, give them the password. This is as much for my daughters as it is for me. Reading the emails I wrote to my now 5-year old when she turned 3 months old or 2-years old are amazing and bring me great joy.
  3. The feelings I have towards my daughters and being a father is truly indescribable. If I had to try to tell my younger self I literally don’t think I could. Which, coincidentally, is probably the best way to describe how great being a father is. The other crazy thing is knowing that my parents feel this way about me.
  4. Check out this article on the 5 S’s, it was amazing for us: https://www.happiestbaby.com/blogs/blog/the-5-s-s-for-soothing-babies
  5. Sleep training your kids is painful but so, so worth it. My wife and I agree that this was one of the best decisions we made with our daughters. Because of it, they have been sleeping through the night (~11-12 hours) since they were both 5 months old.
  6. This is counter-intuitive, but the best time to go out to restaurants, travel and take your baby places is when they’re a newborn. They mostly sleep and can’t walk or talk yet, so strapping them in a carrier and going out is easy. After they start moving around, it gets hard very fast. It seems to get easier again around 3-years old. Between 10 months to 24 months are particularly hard because you can’t just give them a device.
  7. If you have a daughter, set a reminder to read this article every 6 months: http://lifetoheryears.com/50rules
  8. No matter how awful (or good) things are at any given moment, remember that everything is a phase. One of the most common things my wife and I text message each other is #phases. No matter how difficult the phase, know that it will pass.

Your turn. What would you add to this list?

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