As everyone knows, being a parent is easy. If you were to visualize what parenting is like, most of us would have to describe it pretty much as a river of strawberry yogurt, with islands of chocolate and nougat dotting the landscape, until somebody’s 18th birthday. Then, you watch, a little tearfully perhaps, as your progeny goes off to the best colleges, earns a job-guaranteeing degree, steps into a high-paying job with benefits, and begins the rapid paying back of mom and dad for all of their years of fun, understanding, and bliss parties.
With this foolproof roadmap, it’s amazing how many people seem to get it wrong. I get emails every week asking my advice about how to make parenting, a job we’ve already determined is incredibly simple, even breezier.
I’ve decided to make this facile task easier to read and digest, by breaking it into separate articles. If you are a mom, or are thinking about becoming a mom, (or if are a dad, and want to see how your wife is probably doing it wrong,) please read How to Be A Fun Mom In 8 Easy Steps.
If you are a dad, today is your lucky day, because I’ve laid out my how-to guide, How to Be An Awesome Dad In 8 Easy Steps.
Step 1 – Birth
This seems like an obvious one to most of us, but a lot of parents forget this step, and then wonder what went wrong. You’ll see them, sitting at convocation or commencement ceremonies, looking around with bewildered expressions plastered on their faces, wondering why little Johnny or Suzie isn’t up there. Simple – they forgot to conceive.
For this step to go just right, you’ll want to impregnate your wife at least eight to nine months before the birth. This way you can be sure your son or daughter is ready when you are.
Keep in mind, however, that the best and easiest pregnancies are the unplanned ones. Make it fun! Throw your condoms and birth control pills away! Play Russian Roulette with your wife’s uterus! Then sit back, drain your savings, and let the good times roll!
Top Tip: Pregnancies are the most fun when there is no nest egg. So don’t hang on to annoying savings accounts and investment portfolios. You’ll regret it later if you do.
At the birth, dads-to-be, make sure you stay with your wife throughout the delivery (fancy word for baby extraction). If you leave, you might miss your wife’s screams of pure joy as the baby painlessly claws his or her way towards the light.
Another thing you may want to do during the birth is to fold your fingers into cones. This will ensure that she doesn’t shatter the phalanges of your hands (fancy words for “finger bones”). See fig. 1.
As your baby exits your wife and enters the world, hold your breath and count to ten. There is going to be a moment when you will doubt that your baby is yours. That is because when babies come out, they tend to look like Inuit Asian African-American Alien spawn, with just a hint of purple. Don’t let this freak you out. Nobody tells you this stuff, but I just did.
When my daughter was born, the midwife thought that I was having a hard time with the gore and blood and carnage that was coming out of my wife, added to the fact that my daughter was a month premature, and was having a hard time breathing on her own. Boy, was she wrong! I was trying to do math in my head, calculating if we’d met anybody from the Arctic, the Far East, or sub-Saharan Africa in the last nine months.
Don’t worry. Once the trauma from being forced, head first, out of a bone tube, your baby’s head will (sort of) look like yours.
Step 2 – The Diaper Years
Over the next two years or so, your baby is going to wear diapers. Sure, we’ve all seen them in the movies, but how do they work in real life, right? Simply! You put them on your baby and then you never have to worry about cleaning up after him or her ever again.
We used mostly disposable diapers, because we love a challenge, but if you want an even easier solution, you can always wimp out and use cloth/reusable diapers. The drawback of disposable diapers is that you have to throw them out when they get dirty. Not so with cloth/reusable diapers. No, these little beauties give you the ease and comfort of having to wash out the detritus your Mini Me leaves behind within minutes of eating, which it does all the time. Nothing could be easier than washing out a cloth/reusable diaper at four in the morning when you haven’t slept in weeks and weeks and weeks.
Which brings us to Step 3 …
Step 3 – Sleep. (Sleep?)
The best thing about being a new parent, and for the rest of your life, is all of the sleep you don’t get. When you’re single, and to a lesser extent, when you’re in a relationship that doesn’t have kids, you are probably getting too much sleep. Science proves as much any time someone studies the effects of sleep on health. The great part about being an Awesome Dad is that it’s mostly your job to not sleep. Your wife will sleep a little more than you, partly because of all of the restful breastfeeding/bottle feeding she’ll be doing throughout the day and night. You lucky dog – you get less sleep because you still have to go to work NO MATTER WHAT!
You’ll find that society loves babies. The real spoils, however, go to the man who can put his health on the back-burner to maintain our obsession with “keeping up appearances.” Enjoy your dwindling sleep schedule, dads! You’ve earned it!
Remember: nothing helps makes raising kids easier than going on two hours of sleep or less – especially when you’re thrown into a high-stress environment that you’ve never experienced before!
Step 4 – Nutrition: Nothing But Candy
The best part about being an Awesome Dad is that children don’t require much by way of food. As long as you maintain a diet of mostly candy, high-fructose corn syrup-based cereals, and flavored milk (or the C-HFCSC-FM triangle), you should be fine. Dapple in fruits and vegetables AS A TREAT from time to time, but try not to stray too far from the C-HFCSC-FM triangle. If you stick to these three food groups, guess who’s life just got a whole lot easier?
I’ve spoken to dads who insist on feeding their kids organic diets that focus on minimal to no gluten, dairy, and meat. Their kids are literally BOUNCING OFF THE WALL with energy and over-achieving. Hopefully, you’re reading this early, so you’ll get the most reward from sticking to the basics.
Step 5 – Don’t Let It Bug You … and Quit Drinking
Children never say things they don’t mean. When you say “No” to them hurting animals, stealing from grocery stores, and playing with power tools, you’re going to hear a lot of “Thank you”s and “You’re the best, dad!”s, so BE PREPARED. Don’t let it bug you. It just means that you are firmly in the groove of being an Awesome Dad.
Welcome to the club.
Oh, and you might want to quit drinking. Drinking relieves stress and helps you sleep – two things you DO NOT NEED, thanks to reading this helpful guide. Also, drinking can lead to unneeded extra fun in your life. Boring! Skip it. You’ll be having too much fun already, and nobody likes a Greedy Gus.
Step 6 – Save Your Money
If there is one Step that I really can’t push hard enough, it’s this one. SAVE YOUR MONEY. As your kids get older, they are going to want to join clubs, play sports, go to birthday parties, and dress up for Halloween.
Kids don’t really NEED those things to be happy, and you don’t really need to put in the time driving them to all of those things and staying up making costumes from scratch (Princess Dinosaur and My Little Pony Iron Man? Those aren’t even real things …). Let the dads who want to make their lives harder than they have to be take care of that stuff. Besides, do you really want to stay with them while they enjoy the non-essential bonding experiences and socialization that will only hurt them later in life? Didn’t think so.
You money is better spent on you and your wife taking vacations, going out for dinner, and having tons of sex.
Step 7 – Sex Is Overrated
You don’t need it. All sex does is bring you closer as a couple, maintain established intimacy, and relieve stress. Awesome Dads don’t have stress, unless you count being awesome as stress, so sex is a pointless waste of time.
That being said, sex is a necessary evil if you want to have more children to show off your Skills of Awesome to.
Step 8 – Sit Back and Enjoy the Ride. You’ve Earned It
Right about now, your kids are going off to college, and you can get back to following your dreams, building your career, and reliving your college years. Time stops when you have kids, so all those things will still be exactly where you left them, 18 – 26 years ago. Having children IN NO WAY requires sacrifice and dream-killing.
Remember: having kids is all about you.
Keep these things in mind, and you’ll see how easy being an Awesome Dad can be.