Dads, Don’t Try and Skip the Early Years

Today is what we like to call Q&A, where we listen to you guys’ questions that you write in or we try to answer a common question that we hear a lot. And today for the fathers is the question, we just had a baby and my wife feeds and cares for the baby all day and night. What should I be doing during this season, besides waiting until they can throw a ball. Now, that’s a short, concise way to basically say, dads, you have to make sure that you are actually actively pursuing and attempting to get in there early on, from the very first day of birth.

And the reason I think this is so important is actually, Jeremy, you guys pretty much convicted us or helped me see this vision early on with Kinsley, because I asked that same question and I think some dads may be do ask it out of, Oh this child’s maybe not offering me much. I’m going to wait until they can actually give me something in return. That’s pretty damaging and insidious. But I don’t feel like that’s as common. I do feel like the common thread that most dads, it’s kind of like the fumbling around of, I just don’t know what to do. I can’t feed them, I can’t help them. I don’t really know what to do until I can play with them.

And I remember I struggled with that, with Kinsley, And so I think one thing you encouraged me is just bond, right?


Just be there. So what I encourage dads now too is I almost turn the phrase on its head where they say, what do I do with the baby, when my wife’s taking care of the baby all day. I say do nothing, but do nothing with the baby. Just sit there. Just lay down and hang out and be with them, and hold them and let them fall asleep on you. Let them throw up on you, change the diapers and do all these things that are just micro moments throughout the day that actually add up to a catalog of hours, that there’s some pretty significant research I think now, for attachment and bonding there.

So I think it’s very important. I think it’s very pivotal. But what would you jump in and say there?

Yeah. I think a lot of times, we really want to interact with our kids and it feels like we didn’t have a role during this season. I’ve heard so many dads say, “I can’t wait till I can play with them, but right now it’s just sort of my wife’s thing”. The most important thing that I think a father can do, that’s happening during their first, let’s say six months of their child’s life, is actually not what’s happening in the child. Yeah, they’re being fed and nurtured by the mom a lot, but it’s what’s happening in the heart of the dad.


In terms of, you need to bond with the child so that you personally feel, that your heart and your spirit, this is not something that happens automatically, especially for men. Our wives have had the whole nine months of imagining and bonding with the child, thinking about the child. And then obviously, they’re nursing the child, if you do that and they have all this time, oftentimes with the baby, that oftentimes the dads don’t have. So it’s important that you are allowing that fatherhood part of your heart to bond and come alive.

You have to sort of trigger that part of your spirit, that part of your heart. And I think one way to do that is just hold, and all of the stuff that Jeff just said, be with your infant, love them and spend time bonding with them. I can tell you on this side of things, Kelsey is right here, she’s producing our side of the podcast and she’s 19 now. And I don’t know that a week doesn’t go by that I’m going not hanging out with her and I’m at the same time remembering what she was like before six months old.

That that is such a powerful thing. I had that with each of my kids because I did learn early on just to be with them. And so I have lots of memories of holding them and letting them crawl into that fatherhood part of my heart. That has been so powerful for me as a dad, to allow that part of my heart to come alive so that it can really be a foundation of our relationship for the rest of our lives. So, sometimes I picture that 80 year old man, holding his 60 year old son or daughter and thinking about where did that come from? What is that relationship really based on? When she, the 60 year old might call him daddy or something, what’s going on there? How did that happen? Where did that get founded?

And I really think probably the most strategic time for that to be such a special bond, it really happens oftentimes in infancy. That’s the place or the time where no one else can remember like you can, what you experienced in those moments. And that same chubby little face that turns into that mature adult person, getting to experience that entire continuity is so powerful as a dad. And I think let yourself do that. And I just sometimes grieve when I see dads just sort of throw that whole part of fatherhood away, like it doesn’t matter. And I think oftentimes, they just don’t see the vision for it.

Yeah. Let’s end on this too, which I think is kind of a cousin of this, of like what it can turn into. And I think I’ve heard you talk about this too, but I’ve seen it also is usually the dads who don’t make an effort to bond at a young age, whether it’s on accident, whether it’s on purpose, either way, it tends to, what I’ve seen, turn into the father kid relationship when they’re just a smidge older, five years old, 10 years old, et cetera, where it almost becomes, and they don’t realize they’re doing this, but it’s kind of like, “Oh, I don’t really want to hang out with you unless you’re fun, or unless you’re doing something for me or unless this is is enjoyable”.

Yeah. Using me.

Exactly. Almost like a little jester in the court.

And again, sometimes that’s really obvious and hard, but sometimes it’s a little bit more under the radar and you don’t realize you’re doing it. And so, do you have a relationship with your kids that you’re really making sure, because kids are hypersensitive and they pick up on this like crazy guys, that if they know that they’re only wanted when they’re dancing for you, type of thing, that is like a jester in the court, not a son of the King.

That’s right.

And so those are two very, very different parallels in relationships. So just be very mindful of that because that’s usually it turns into. But when you do have that bond of doing nothingness, but you’re still together when they’re two months, then you usually have that bond of doing nothingness, but hanging out when they’re 12, when they’re 18, when they’re 30 and so make sure to set those foundations and set those principles starting today.

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