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Balance. Breathe. Read: Tips for New Dads

Read along as Zack Bush, the best selling author of Made for Me, shares his tips for getting through the first years of fatherhood.

Being a dad.

When I was ten years old, I remember daydreaming about two very specific things. Instead of imagining a career in medicine or a life as an astronaut, I knew one day I wanted to surround myself (somehow) with live music. This was one of my vivid childhood dreams. The other, plain and simple, was one day to be a dad—and an awesome dad at that.

I am proud to say that both of these dreams came true. I was always told that there are no words to describe the true love and joy of being a parent until you are one yourself—and I can now confidently say this is so very accurate. Holding my son in my arms three years ago, and my daughter a year later set off a whirlwind of emotions that I never imagined I was even capable of. Let’s just say I’ve been mind-blown.

So while many know me as Zack Bush, club owner, bar owner, restaurant owner, music aficionado, author, etc.—at my core, I am none of these things. At my core, and in my heart of hearts, I am Dad. For me, there is no greater or more important title in the world. Being a “dad” is my purpose. In this post, I suggest three tips for new dads.

Step 1: Create a new balance.

Whether you are a go-to-work dad or a stay-at-home dad, we all have our daily routines. These routines obviously get disturbed when the new role of dad gets thrust upon you. It is important to create a new balance. Make the time to embrace your new role. Wake up earlier, go to sleep later, do whatever is necessary to show your family and little one how much they are loved. Family is everything and now is the time to practice what you preach! This includes putting the phone/computer away (this was a hard one for me, but so very worth it).

Step 2: Breathe and cherish—take it all in—enjoy the little moments.

The joy of fatherhood also comes with moments of chaos, crying, tears, trips to doctors, etc. It is important to breathe. Take a deep breath in these moments of chaos. More than anything, cherish each moment. I know it sounds cliché, but it really does go by so fast. My wife and I see newborns today and, even with our own kids ages two and three, it is so easy to forget the beautiful infant stages. It is truly remarkable how time flies and you need to be fully present to truly enjoy the magic. Cherish all of the tender moments—there will be plenty of them!

Step 3: Read to your child.

While I am certain there are learning benefits to reading to your child daily/nightly, this is not why I suggest this. I found that reading to my children from day one has provided a great way to connect. Sure we have plenty of playtime and silly time, but when we snuggle up and read (and I read with tons of expression), I feel a tremendous amount of connectivity between myself and both of my kids. There is no better feeling than watching the magic in their eyes and seeing their imaginations at work. In fact, I love reading to my kids so much, I wrote a children’s picture book titled Made For Me, which has become a part of our goodnight family ritual.

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