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For a woman becoming a mom is a gradual thing because of the carrying of the baby. However, for a man, it's a bit more sudden in terms of the day you fully become a dad. It's almost as if you went from driving a Pinto to a Ferrari in 12 hours, except the Ferrari has a manual that is written in German. Especially when you come from a home that either has no father figure or a terrible one, so what does a man do to prepare for the day his life both ends and starts?
The most important thing to remember is that you are not defined by your past or the example you had to learn from. The only thing that you have to do is remember to always stay calm. You are the head of the house and the rock that your family depends on when things get hard. There will undoubtedly come very shaky times in the future with sicknesses and random rashes and heartbreak occasional choking on food etc. Being a dad means you're the guy with many faces. You wear a calm face when things are hectic and you'll wear a happy face even when you're stressed to the max.
Being a dad also isn't all about finances—just because you're rich doesn't mean you a great dad. Hollister and iPhone does not equal great dad, trust me your kid would much rather you be there with target pants on. Having a good job and a bank account full of money is great, but if you can't name one of your kid's friends or where your kid goes to school or even a favorite food, you're doing the parenting thing all wrong. I used to think that as long as I provided for my family, that meant I was a good dad until I talked to my kid. That's when I realized that it's not that you give your kids what you never had but to be the dad you never had.
Perhaps one of the most difficult things that come with being a dad is to know how to handle discipline. I know I struggled with this a lot along with giving advice and wisdom. The best bet on this one is just to feel it out and make your best judgement call. The only wrong decision is to do nothing and also do too much. You want the discipline to match the action but you don't want to just keep letting it slide. As most kids at this point they are trying to test their limits, so just try to think of what the closest to equal for this specific infraction and how to teach him/her what would have been the correct course of action. All of this also equates to the giving wisdom. You don't want to tell them how to do everything because you want them to learn.
So when you're getting ready to have a child, the best thing to is be as close as possible through the pregnancy and have a game plan while you have nine months to perfect it. It's natural to feel overwhelmed and extremely unprepared when you're months away from having a living person that depends on you and your decision.
At the end of the day, it's really fun being a dad because you get to be the father you always wanted to have. You also get to teach your child all the things you wish you had been taught during childhood. So as long as your child ends up better than you, well then you can call yourself a successful parent.