The big day finally comes. After a lot of yelling, and shouting embarrassing things about you to the hospital staff, your wife has finally given birth to your first child. And then the panic sets in. Holy crap. You're a dad now. Take a deep breath. You can do this. Here are a few things you should know.
You're going to have less time with your wife. No matter how in love you are, the helpless infant is going to take precedence. And it's going to hurt you more than your wife. How do you deal with it? Take your shifts getting the baby at night. Take your turn changing the diapers. Tell your wife your love her every chance you get. Don't try to compete for attention. You wife still loves you.
You're going to be sleeping a lot less. It's going to affect your health. Eat right. Exercise. Take your vitamins. Nothing can make up for getting a good night's sleep, but if you do everything else right, you'll get through it a lot easier.
People are going to give you a lot of opinions on what to do. Your parents will. Her parents will. Well meaning friends will do it too. Some of it will be good advice, so don't ignore it all. But in the end, you're right. It's your kid. No other person on Earth can tell you how to raise him or her. You're making decisions for 3 now.
The first months and years stay with a child forever. Maybe you can't remember details about your early life, but it helped shape who you are now. You can't keep your kid in a bubble, but don't let your little bundle of joy be exposed to harm in this crucial stage either. Watch your entertainment. You may love heavy metal, but classical is better for your baby's brain. You're going to have to set aside your favorite action flick for some cheesy cartoons. Practice reading. A bedtime story every night makes a big difference in a child's development, even if you think they are too young to understand. Oh, and try to keep conversations with your wife calm.
There's a reason why a lot of new parents suddenly find God. Whether you actually believe or not, it may help you reign in some habits that are undesirable for a parent to have.
Oh, and one more thing. Enjoy your first few months of being a new dad. You only get to be a first time parent once. As scary as it is, it should enjoyable and rewarding too.