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I’m not an expert on many things, and by “many things”, I of course mean “anything”.  People rarely seek my advice unless they (A) are seeking factually incorrect information, or (B) are really drunk and have confused me with someone they would take advice from, like Oprah or that guy from the Allstate commercials with the deep voice.  That guy seems like he’s got it together you know?

In truth, I’ve never been disappointed by the lack of confidence people have in me to deliver sound guidance.  I mean I’m rarely to blame for the mistakes of others, and when the stars do align and I magically pull a rabbit of wisdom from my hat, I go out on top like a pinch-hit home run or a low-budget, second-rate movie that actually turns a profit.

In my dangerously close to 31 years, I’ve managed to avoid conflict by keeping my two cents tucked safely between the couch cushions with a handful of Cheerios and several television remotes.  After three and half years of parenthood however; and at the risk of exposing myself as a trusted source of fatherly advice, I’ve decided it’s time to bring all you soon-to-be-baby-daddies into the loop about what’s coming your way.

I’m not here to insult your intelligence.  You know that there will be diapers to change and I know that you know that there will be diapers to change.  But I’m betting there’s a few trade secrets that no one has informed you of and I refuse to let you walk into an ambush completely unarmed.  So here are a few arrows to add to your quiver before the big day arrives and you realize you brought a knife to a gunfight.

You can’t save up sleep- You may be thinking that if you start getting 10 hours a night and taking naps during the day, you’ll be topped off prior to the arrival of your little bundle of screams poop spit up joy.  Think again.  You are going to be tired no matter what you do now.  You are going to be tired like you’ve never been tired before.  Like you’ll wake up one day and be all, “Wow, I have never been this tired before.”  Then the next day, you’ll be all, “Remember yesterday when I said I had never been this tired before?  Neither do I, because I’m so tired I don’t remember yesterday!”

No matter what you say now, your life IS going to change- I remember thinking that becoming a parent would change my life, but that some things I considered important (like watching every sporting event ever televised or going to bathroom in privacy) would remain in tact.  This is not the case.  Every aspect of your life will be different now, but don’t misinterpret what I’m saying.  It will be different in the best way possible.  Sure, you might miss a game now and then and you’ll never “do your business” with the door closed ever again, but I promise you won’t miss these things as much as you think.  Well, except for the “doing your business” in privacy part.  That’ll take awhile to get over.

You will absolutely, positively NEED a calendar- I was never much for keeping track of dates and times and appointments.  Probably because I never had many appointments to keep track of.  My iPhone told me what day it was and that was good enough for me.  But today, the calendar is the only thing that keeps our lives from veering off track and into a roadside ditch.  On the plus side, doctors appointments are really the only thing you’ll have to worry about during the infant stage.  But as your little one gets older, finding a blank calendar day will be harder than finding a good Kevin Costner movie.

No two kids are alike- So, you think you’ve mastered the art of parenting and are ready to throw another little one into the mix?  Let me tell you something friend, this next one will turn everything you think you know about being a parent upside down.  The first one slept through the night at 8 weeks?  I hope you’ve enjoyed the sleep you’ve been getting then, because this one is an insomniac.  Little Suzie loved it when you swung her back and forth in your arms?  How sweet.  I hate to tell you this, but little Johnny is just going to scream and puke in your mouth when you do that.  Sorry buddy, but that’s just the way it is.  Hey, God has to have a little fun somehow.

You will cry- You did two tours in the military?  Climbed Everest with nothing but a wind breaker and a 5-hour energy?  Never even flinched when Forrest Gump finds out he has a son and tearfully asks if he’s smart or stupid?  I’m impressed tough guy.  But here’s the thing, no matter how tough you think you are, it’s impossible not to shed a tear when the inconsolable screams of your baby cut right to the very depths of your soul.  Don’t be ashamed.  Don’t hold it back.  As parents, we live and die with every breath of our children and that tear rolling down your cheek is as natural as a keg stand at a frat party.

And last but not least…

There’s nothing better than being a Dad!

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