Alright dads, listen up.
Have you ever looked at your kids and wondered what the heck you are supposed to do with them? Is your wife leaving town and going to leave you to "babysit?" (By the way, it's not babysitting - it's called fatherhood.) Do you often feel completely clueless as a father? Do you want to be an accomplished father to your children?
You're probably not alone.
Even if you're not prone to reading manuals or instructions in your normal daily life, there might be one you'll want to keep on hand at all times. I recently read "Dad Rules: A Simple Manual for a Complex Job" and thought the author, Treion Muller, hit the nail on the head (after all, he is a father of five children himself). This quick-reference guide includes many short, easy-to-follow rules that every dad ought to at least consider.
Granted, I myself am not a dad. I am a mother. However, as I read Muller's book, I could see some places where my husband is doing extremely well, and some things that need work (this also applies to me - we can all improve in some ways!).
Muller has divided the book into three sections that discuss what dads should know, say and do. He also has a list of helpful go-to resources.
Some of my favorite rules are:
Rule 3: Throw-up and toxic diapers come with the job
Don't try to get yourself out of this. Man up and help your wife! She will love you for it. My husband has been pretty great in this area. (Even if he uses three times the amount of wipes that I would.) I am just grateful for the help. I am always appreciative when he steps up as my wingman when the bathroom has throw-up everywhere besides actually IN the toilet. Moms aren't at all fans of these disgusting jobs either, so taking some of the burden shows that you are capable and an actual partner with your wife in parenting.
Rule 7: Your yard, car, electronic devices, and favorite recliner will be trashed
If you haven't already experienced this, give it time, you will. You can try to protect your items and teach your children to be careful, but inevitably, destruction will occur. The important thing to remember is that things can be replaced, but your children cannot. Don't overreact and do something you'll soon regret over something that doesn't really matter - even though it may have been expensive.
Rule 25: Become a competent chef
This doesn't mean you have to cook as well as your wife, but it does mean that when your wife is not available to prepare a meal, you shouldn't cop out and just grab fast food to feed your kids. There are a lot of simple meals that you can prepare. Select several favorites and make those when it's your turn to cook. This is not only healthier for your family - but cheaper too (and what dad doesn't want to ease the burden on his wallet?)!
Rule 37: Don't "@#$%&"
I really love this rule because it shows that you respect yourself, your family and are intelligent enough to have an adequate vocabulary without the vulgarities. I respect my husband so much because he NEVER swears and never has. Not even when friends tried to bribe him. Not when he's really mad. Not even when he has gotten badly hurt. That shows character. Your kids will observe and follow whichever example you set, so choose wisely.
Rule 50: Show your children you love them
This is so important. Actions often speak louder than words, so it is imperative to show love to your children by spending time with them, listening to them and making them know that they are a priority in your life.
Regardless of whether you're a new dad, an experienced dad or not yet a dad, it's OK to get a little help sometimes. There are many tools available to help - from websites to books to other dads. Use these tips and keep them ready in your "dad tool belt" and you'll be prepared for whatever your kids throw at you - and if it happens to be a football or baseball, sounds like you're up for one of the fun parts of parenting!