father holding newborn child flickr / Family O'Abe
Fatherly Forum

7 Lessons I Learned In My First 7 Days Of Being A Parent

The following was syndicated from Medium for the Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].

I’m not a daddy blogger and when I do blog it’s usually only about business, but seeing as though I had my first child last week and have time to think (between feeding and changing nappies) I have compiled a short list of thoughts that have crossed my mind. So, here are 7 things I have learned in the first 7 days since baby Stella was born:

The Self-Payment Gap

We are with Discovery Health Medical Aid and have been for quite some time now. I am always in the self-payment gap. Someone needs to explain to Mr. Gore that the space between the embankment and the train in London’s Tube is a “gap” and that the Discovery “gap” is a giant chasm that spans 2 Grand Canyons and not even a giant leap for mankind will ever reach the other side.

Google Is Not Your Friend

If you need to know anything about being a father or managing your baby, stay the-f-ck off Google. It’s a place of complete mayhem dominated by angry mothers and old school American thinking where dummies are evil and colic a guaranteed result of not breastfeeding. Did you know there are at least 28 ways of burping your newborn?

Baby City Owns Me

Let’s be clear — I hate shopping (unless it’s for motor bikes) but for some reason, the cashier and assistants at the local Baby City know my name and my wife’s bra size. I have spent more money with Baby City in the past few weeks than any other non-food retailer in the history of my shopping career. I reckon I now own shares in the chain.

Forums Are Massive

You cannot believe the amount of mothers who have something to share about their “most talented” child, online. The conversations are essays theses [Yes, that is the plural of Thesis] on their lives being a parent and their expert opinions. I don’t see many dads online though. Come on dads…

Forums are a decent place to find out how to fix a throttle cable for your new Ducati, but not so good for which bum cream to use or even why you should use them.

The Advice Never Stops

For some reason, I thought that once we would have had Stella, that people who were all about prescriptive advice would back off, but NOOOOO!

“Do it that way”
“Never use that!”
“Always use that!”
“Sleep more”
“Gets some sleep”
“F-ck sleep — enjoy her!”

The advice is good, bad and harmful. I now just nod my head and go with my gut. This leads nicely onto point number 6 …

Trust Your Instinct

A mother’s instinct to keep her child alive is astonishing. It worked for millions of years (only if you are an atheist), long before we had sterilizers, baby monitors, inoculations, milk formulas and electronic breast pumps. A mother knows. I know rely on my wife’s instinct to be the best mother she can be. Trust your gut — when something feels off — it usually is.

Involvement Is Key

Get shit on your hands. Get peed on just before you leave the house. Have your baby burp some yellow shit over your shoulder at 2 AM on a Tuesday. Clean the bottles, take the nappies to the bin and bring your wife decaf cappuccinos when she wants one. Fill out all the paperwork [there will be lots] and submit your claims to close that self-payment canyon. There is actually very little you can do for a newborn being a new dad, so support your wife and do what you can to make her life a little easier. Don’t be a selfish bastard.

Be a cool dad.

Brent Spilkin, affectionately called “Spillly with 3 Ls” has spent the last 20 odd years discovering what makes him happy besides architecture, riding motorcycles, pickling mango achaar, distribution and redeveloping the inner city. He now gets his kicks from growing talented creative individuals in their businesses around the world by putting them through his Growing Pains Business Consultancy and cuddling with his new daughter, Stella. Check out his website, instagram, and twitter.