Becoming a parent for the first time is exciting yet scary. There are no instruction books, so you’ll have to figure things out on your own along the way. The Cheat Sheet sat down with Austin Null, a vlogger who along with his wife, Brittany, posts snippets of their life on their YouTube channel, The Nive Nulls. Austin, who recently became a dad for the third time, gave us a few tips for new dads and dads-to-be.
The Cheat Sheet: What advice do you have for new dads?
Austin Null: Just be patient and pay attention to detail so you can learn quickly. It’s not as hard as it seems, but you just have to do things that seem slightly unnatural to us (men) at times. I guess there’s a reason why we’re the ones who don’t have babies! But most importantly just enjoy the process and the time when you first have your child. They will grow up and you’ll be able to play sports with them or teach them an instrument or whatever, in due time, but they won’t always just sit still and let you hold them. So enjoy it.
CS: In your opinion, what is the hardest part about being a dad for the first time?
AN: I think learning self-denial is hard for anyone, but being a parent very quickly shows you the reality that what you want to do and what the baby is doing will conflict at times and you will never have precedent. That may seem like a “duh” thing to say, but it’s sometimes hard to get used to if you’re used to doing your own thing. So try to work on self-denial leading up to the baby arriving (I’m sure your lady won’t mind) and learn to love others above yourself.
The Cheat Sheet: How do you juggle cleaning the house, cooking, and taking care of young children?
Austin Null: That’s hard for me because I’m usually terrible at cleaning and cooking… However, what I’ve found is that it’s good to be able to master certain things in certain areas to make things easier for yourself and your partner. For instance, I’ve learned to master cleaning the kitchen (95% of the time…I’m not perfect). This helps Brittany, my wife, out because when it’s not cluttered and she can come grab a glass of water without worrying about a mess that she feels she has to clean, she’ll be in a better mood for me and, most importantly, the baby. Cooking…eh…Chipotle is life. Also, Trader Joes has delicious frozen chicken fried rice that’s easy to make.
CS: How do you make sure the first-born child doesn’t become jealous when a new baby arrives?
AN: This is something that will, in one form or another, pretty much 100% happen. So just accept it and learn to approach it with grace, in regard to your first-born. They don’t have the mental capacity to understand that it’s not personal. However, you can totally do things to make them temporarily forget about the new baby and feel like they’re the king or queen. Take them on a daddy-child [play] date, buy them a fun, small toy and tell them it’s a gift from the new baby, etc. Or just be a “bad parent” for a couple of days and let them watch the mess outta some Disney Junior. You binge watch Netflix like it’s your day job and you’re turning out fine, so your child will survive until things normalize!
CS: How can new dads help mom out during the first few months?
AN: This is hard for me because I have a hard time multitasking and my wife is already a superwoman, but I would say make a very conscious effort to be present. Check in with her constantly and let her be tired. Take the other kids off her hands and assure her that she is totally fine to rest and you’ve got everything under control. Also, surprise her with flowers/gifts/chocolate/Chipotle/Hot Cheetos/You get the idea.