Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Your first 90 days as a father

By Adam Elder, Esquire
updated 8:39 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
"Getting him to fall asleep in your arms is the dad skill sine qua non."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The birth of your child makes you feel immediately like an adult
  • Interrupted sleep might be something a new dad never gets used to
  • Stress of raising a baby can take a toll on your relationship -- try to stay strong

(Esquire) -- Every day will be hard, but they're supposed to be, aren't they? And most days will be amazing. They should be, too.

Esquire: 5 things to know about being a father (Featuring Frank Azaria)

Day 1: Buckle up! The day of your child's birth is a wild ride that features a bit of everything: tension, anticipation, sleep deprivation, delirious joy, friends, family, in-laws and sketchy hospital food. There is no moment that compares to holding your baby for the first time. You are relieved and overjoyed, yet feel the arrival of massive responsibility. You truly feel like an adult now. Try to be cool, calm and supportive throughout.

Esquire: Why fatherhood matters

Stay in touch!
Don't miss out on the conversation we're having at CNN Living. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest stories and tell us what's influencing your life.

Day 2: Unless you're a firefighter, you might never get used to interrupted sleep. Agree to take the early-morning stretch: You're awake well before work, alone with your baby, watching the sunrise -- and watching him watch the sunrise. Getting him to fall asleep in your arms is the dad skill sine qua non.

Esquire: Things your father should have taught you

Day 3: Your meals are now eaten in shifts, amid the plaintive, desperate screams of a newborn. You will understand the importance of the little rituals in your relationship like dinner-table chitchat (sharing moments of your day, the latest gossip, laughter), and now need to create new ones.

Esquire: The 12 styles of American man

Day 7: You agree to buy anything -- swings, bassinets, rockers -- that might make your baby sleep easier. Most of them won't. The fine folks at the Babies 'R' Us return counter seem to be understanding.

Esquire: The 75 things every man should do

Day 10: Outside of work, everything you do will now be subject to interruption. Finishing a meal, seeing a movie all the way through or even making it out the door is an unexpected triumph.

Esquire: The 50 best manly movie quotes

Day 11: On his bad days your baby will cry nonstop, for no discernable reason (he's fed; his diaper is clean; he appears comfortable). You each put hours into calming him, without result. You feel awful losing your temper on a 10-pound little human. You vow to do better next time.

Day 13: There is a song out there, whichever one it is for you, that will calm your screaming baby. Search every stop on the FM dial, the Internet, and your iTunes library until you find it.

Day 15: You will think dark thoughts. Remind yourself your baby won't be this helpless and irascible for long. Everything shall pass. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Day 17: After months of harboring quiet resentment for your childless friends, for the first time, you suddenly -- and most unexpectedly -- feel pity for them.

Day 19: The first text from your partner that involves adult conversation instead of baby photos, videos, updates or a shopping list will take you back, Proust-like, to your once-glamorous, carefree, kid-free relationship days.

Day 21: Cards. Flowers. Effusive flattery. Find the right moment. Cross your fingers the baby stays asleep.

Day 30: Going anywhere with your baby is an event. A table of pretty girls will turn in unison through the window of a restaurant as you walk by. Old ladies at the market will ask how old he is. Gay men will unfailingly compliment him. He controls a room wherever he goes. You will enjoy the attention.

Day 32: Small disagreements with your partner metastasize into ugly ones as you each become a conduit for all the stress of raising a baby that you can't take out on the baby himself. Be aware of it. Apologize when you're in the wrong.

Day 38: A thousand new photos on your phone since birth. You'll be glad you took every single one. Back 'em up before you run out of memory!

Day 52: Now finally seems like a good time to connect with old friends you haven't seen since they had kids.

Day 61: You discover that introducing your baby to your grandfather and getting that multi-generation photo is one of the more underrated moments in a man's life.

Day 67: It's difficult to walk out the door to work some mornings. You envy your partner getting to spend all day with your baby, and you daydream about all the things you'll do with your family in the coming weekend.

Day 77: Before he was born you promised yourself that you'd keep baby paraphernalia to a minimum. His stuff is now everywhere. Your home feels smaller than ever.

Day 78: Ask for that raise.

Day 80: You swear your partner has never looked this good. And her nascent maternal skills have added a whole other dimension to your affection for her. Let her know -- she needs to hear it more than you realize.

Day 85: A hotly anticipated new restaurant will open, and chances are you won't notice or won't care. If you do go, you'll dine there at 5:45. The hostess will seat you near other young families.

Day 90: There comes a day when you can palpably feel the change -- suddenly your baby is crying less and sleeping more. After 12 manic months of pregnancy and new parenthood, you too have come a long way, and without turning into a hapless TV dad. You realize that more than anything else, babies make you appreciate the present and look forward to the future.

And isn't that ultimately what we all want most in life?

How were your first 90 days at a parent? Share your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter @CNNLiving or on CNN Living's Facebook page.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:52 PM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Ask any teen if they suffer from social media anxiety and they would probably tell you no. But the truth is getting "likes" and the fear of missing out are adding stress to teens' lives.
updated 9:13 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Many photographers have taken it upon themselves to document stillborn and terminal babies' precious moments after birth.
updated 3:46 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
As part of the insurance coverage offered to its female employees, Facebook is paying to freeze their eggs.
updated 2:15 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Amal Alamuddin was well-known in many important circles long before she snagged the world's most eligible bachelor. But Amal Alamuddin is now Amal Clooney, according to her law firm's website.
updated 12:42 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Trends in young adult fiction have shifted from wizards to glittering vampires to bloodthirsty "Hunger Games" and now, to teens coping with illnesses and realistic issues.
updated 8:56 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Before he died this year, 14-year-old Martin Romero wanted to do something for his community.
updated 6:33 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
A 12-year-old girl called Dick's Sporting Goods out on its lack of female athletes in the Basketball 2014 catalog.
updated 12:36 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Before he was even born, Shane Michael Haley had already met the Philadelphia Phillies, been to the top of the Empire State Building and shared a cheesesteak with his parents.
updated 3:39 PM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I read the initial comments from Microsoft's CEO on how women who don't ask for raises will receive "good karma."
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
A photo series "From the NICU to the Moon" imagines premature babies in future professions with a series of imaginative doodles.
updated 1:33 PM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
Jessica Dunne and her father Michael P. Dunne
"I don't think anyone is ready for grief. But when it hits you, it knocks you out cold," Jessica Dunne wrote after the sudden loss of her father.
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu October 9, 2014
Most moms will say they long for a day when moms stop criticizing one another, but most of us are guilty of tearing each other down.
updated 4:28 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
When we think of terminal cancer patients, we don't imagine Brittany Maynard -- 29, vigorous, happy. But she will soon take a handful of pills that will end her life.
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Wed October 8, 2014
"Back in my day, we used to walk five miles uphill, carrying all our books in the blistering cold and the pouring rain..." Some schools have found a new way to making walking to school safer -- and more fun.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
The death of a New Jersey boy, the first health officials are directly linking to Enterovirus D68, has parents wondering whether school is the worst place to send kids susceptible to the virus.
updated 10:22 AM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
It's a heartbreaking time for three families, football teams and communities after three players died last week. Investigations are under way, but some parents are wondering, is the sport safe for children?
updated 1:26 PM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Here's what some schools are doing to create welcoming environments for transgender and gender nonconforming children.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Nothing could prepare this mom-to-be for what she learned at her first ultrasound.
updated 12:58 PM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
A 15-year-old British schoolboy has struck a chord with his eloquent response to actress Emma Watson's United Nations speech encouraging men to join in the fight for gender equality.
cnn, parents, parenting, logo
Get the latest kid-related buzz, confessions from imperfect parents and the download on the digital life of families here at CNN Parents.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT