There’s no doubt that being a new dad is tough, but imagine your first brush with fatherhood is double the trouble with twins. That’s what Alex Cullen, host of the popular podcast Being Dad, faced and now he’s sharing what he’s learned through the experience. Here are his top 10 tips for raising a family and keeping your sanity in tact.
1. Get involved
Do this from the very beginning and don’t wait to be asked to change nappies. Take the kid(s) out for walks and let your partner sleep or go out for a coffee with a friend. This is a must. It helps your partner and makes for an easier life.
2. Get down on the ground and play with your kids
It’s important to get down on their level where you can really connect with them and bond.
Your partner is bound to have books. Read them. It will help you to help her. Don’t think you can just wing it. Information is key to understanding what is going on with your baby and get as much information as you can.
4. Nothing said after midnight should be taken seriously
You’re both dog tired and are bound to grumble at each other over the smallest thing. Address it, apologise and move on.
5. Try to get decent sleep
Tears and tantrums should be restricted to the children but without sleep the whole family can be subjected to them. It’s often good, if you can, to sleep when they do.
6. Get your baby into a routine…
This is PARAMOUNT with twins and multiples because once they’re out of sync, all hell can break loose. This is difficult at first but so rewarding after about five to six weeks when you are able to plan and give yourself a break.
7. Get help. If you have family nearby… call it in
Not everybody has this but if you do, it can restore the sanity that lack of sleep can take from you.
8. Stay off the grog
Have a couple by all means but the last thing your partner wants is you out at the pub with your mates getting home at all hours. Dealing with small children with a hangover is not worth it. Neither is a very upset partner and a screaming child.
9. Learn to swaddle
Babies are used to being nestled cosily in the womb… it helps them to sleep and keeps them feeling secure. If they’re peaceful, you’re peaceful.
10. Take time for yourself
Exercise, get a coffee with a friend and talk to people – make sure you are not feeling isolated. It helps to talk. Life changes dramatically and it’s important to realise that you’re not alone.
It’s often this isolation and the feeling of being alone in this journey that can make blokes really vulnerable. The first episode of our Being Dad podcast addresses what can happen to guys if they feel isolated and alone, like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. This podcast is about learning as much as we can to be better dads and a central theme is our mental health. We as dads are more involved in the raising of our children than we’ve ever been and with that can come new pressures and new challenges. Being Dad will deal with all the challenges of the modern day dad and help dads from all walks of life be the best dads we can be.