13 Things Dads Need to Know When Having Kids

Last updated on May 26th, 2021 at 11:29 pm

Though I know that I’m one of the few dads publicly sharing his fatherhood story up here in the Great White North, my story isn’t the only Canadian fatherhood story out there, and I’ll continue reminding the world that it’s only one of the 4.5 million in Canada.

4.5 million dads live up here in Canada—and probably even more who aren’t parenting children full-time—and each of their stories is just as valid as the next to tell the full story of what fatherhood’s all about. And with my fatherhood story only being seven-and-a-half years in its making, there’s a whole heap of fatherhood I haven’t even experienced yet.

What’s it like to raise a teenager? What’s it like to have an empty nest? How do you give the sex talk? How do you handle it when they want to learn how to drive?

With all the communities I’ve joined in my time as a dad, there are so many other men whose experiences I rely on every day to show me what I should expect in the years to come. And so a week into Forty Days to Father’s Day, I want to share some gems with you from all the wisdom they’ve given to me.

First Steps to Fatherhood: A Year Makes a Difference!

Last updated on May 20th, 2021 at 01:22 am

I have a theory—if more fathers were able to stay with their babies till they were six months old, we’d have far fewer deadbeat dads in the world.

Just wait a minute—hear me out.

Casey holding his son in the Palmer household dining room, May 2014

Not all dads are created equal. We come from different backgrounds with different circumstances and carry different toolkits to get the parenting job done.

But not all fathers make it to the Dad Life.

Life is very complicated—we react to its curveballs in all sorts of ways. Some babies come unexpectedly and their fathers are unwilling to step up to the responsibility. Some fathers are kept away from their babies because they can’t get along with the mom, and the letter of the law doesn’t often fall in their favour. You end up with prospective fathers who are too young, too broke, or too irresponsible to be there for their kid.

I was fortunate to enter fatherhood with it all very planned out, growing our family after two years of marriage seeming like the next logical step. But even though we’d read the books, watched the videos, and taken the birthing classes at the hospital up the street, nothing ever fully prepares you for what fatherhood’s going to be like.

Getting Ready for a BABY: First Steps to Fatherhood!

Last updated on May 20th, 2021 at 01:27 am

Alright—so now that the pleasantries are out of the way, it’s time that we get into some practical information about fatherhood, and where better to start than the very beginning of the journey?

Baby Shower — Casey Palmer reading off the track list for Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Kanye West
I’m real happy for you, parents, and I’ma let you finish — but this album is the best lullaby music of all time!!!

2013—the year we had our first child through induced labour in November—is admittedly a bit of a blur, with me doing as much as humanly possible to get things off of my to-do list before my life changed forever.

See—what you don’t fully understand about parenthood before you have kids yourself is that while everything changes once you have a kid in tow, it doesn’t just stop. You just find new ways of doing the things that you would’ve before if they still prove important to you.

But try telling that to 2013 Casey, convinced that his world was crashing down around him, trying to do everything he could before it was too late.

Who Wants to be a Dad, ANYWAY?

Last updated on May 20th, 2021 at 01:26 am

Once upon a time, I tried to write a post on why more of my fellow thirty-somethings should want to have kids and join the ever-bustling ranks of parenthood just like me. Recently becoming a father myself, it changed my world entirely, giving me someone demanding more of my attention than anything else in my life, yet also insisting that I love him while he did it. But I’ve said it a thousand times before and I’ll say it a thousand more—I’m a much better man for having my kids in my life, and I want the people around me to experience that, too.

And so I wrote. I wrote the intro several times over. And after two lines and multiple attempts, I ultimately decided to scrap it.

What I realised was this—you can’t fully explain parenthood to anyone who hasn’t experienced it themselves, and at a few years in to parenting—heck, even right now if I’m honest—it’s still too early for me to fully understand why I became a parent.

Who Wants to be a Dad? Figuring Out What Makes Fatherhood Appealing, If ANYTHING.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — Who Will Save Your Soul — Casey and Kid Sleeping on the Plane
When fatherhood makes you so exhausted that you can sleep just about anywhere, it makes you wonder: who wants to be a dad?

I mean, sure, there’s humanity’s biological imperative to produce the best possible offspring for the next generation. The societal expectation that having kids is just what you’re supposed to do. Fatherhood’s so often characterized by all the negative associations surrounding it—a loss of freedom; financial burdens; and in some cases, building a permanent connection to someone you only planned to see for a night—that you’d wonder why anyone would want to do this in the first place.

But what I can tell you is this—there’s a reason why we don’t remember much of the lives we led before we had our kids.

It’s because so little of it really mattered.

The Importance of Sharing Fatherhood Stories

Last updated on May 20th, 2021 at 01:26 am

One thing I’ve love to see from my fellow dads this Father’s Day is for all of us to learn to communicate better.

I know—it might be the last thing on your mind with everything else you’ve got going on, but it’s because we keep so quiet about our experiences that the world’s so slow to change.

Live from the 3.5, 2020 2 — Do We Even NEED a Black History Month — Black Dad Reading to their Kid
Source | Nappy.co

By the numbers here in Canada, moms and dads aren’t all that different, with 5.5 million moms to the 4.5 million dads we have. But even without doing exhaustive research to validate this, we only have dozens of dad creators sharing their stories as opposed to the thousands of mom creators doing the same.

The difference is that while moms are great communicators, establishing communities for advice, support and safe spaces to share their stories, it’s taken us much longer to do that for ourselves. And even when we do, it’s only in private groups of our peers, so the world can’t see every side of ourselves instead of just the positive aspects we want the world to see. It’s a bit better than what we were taught—to bottle our thoughts and feelings up inside—but we still have a long way to go before we represent ourselves with any justice.

Why Fatherhood Stories Are So IMPORTANT.

I get it, though—I almost didn’t become a dad blogger myself, thinking that parenthood would make me too busy to keep up with a blog. But when some forward-thinking friends helped me see that the Canadian market sorely lacked fatherhood content, I kept writing about my experiences, and nearly eight years later, here we are.

But things won’t change based on my stories alone.

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