For people who are going to be fathers for the first time, the experience can be equal parts of exciting and terrifying. Fatherhood is considered to be a big responsibility and it is okay to feel a little anxious as the due date gets closer and closer. However, there are many ways to get prepared to welcome your new family member and be in the best position to raise him or her right. Orrie Markfeld is a father himself as well as the founder of DadBod Fitness, a fitness app that helps dads to regain their confidence and break the ‘dad bod’ stereotypes through fitness and family bonding.
In this interview, Orrie shares some of his own lessons from his experience as a father and gives his best advice for dads-to-be and new fathers alike.
What does ‘Being a Dad’ mean to you?
To me, being a dad allows me to be a kid again (with more responsibilities of course). Every night before I go to bed is like Christmas Eve and the following morning is like Christmas Day where I can’t wait for my kids to get up so I can play with them.
Being a dad is like being an artist. Our kids are our masterpieces. We have an opportunity to create something so great and beautiful through our interactions and lessons. We get to make the world a better place by leaving with someone better ourselves.
In your opinion, what are the key characteristics of being a father?
There’s a big difference between being a father and being a dad. Being a father takes little to no emotional investment. Being a dad on the other hand is a dedicated and lifelong duty. It’s honestly a joy.
Dads don’t just interact with their kids for the sake of wasting time – we play on their level. That means reading the same book countless times till we become those actual voices of the characters in our kid’s mind. It means that we show love and compassion not just within our family, but with people in general so that we set a good example.
We look forward to the activities that will strengthen the bonds within our family. They may be minor moments in the day for us but they are lasting memories for our kids that build a level of trust and comfort that solidify their view of us.
What tips would you give to someone that is about to be a father?
First of all, be there for your partner. Just because she gave birth does not mean her journey is done. The recovery process also takes a toll.
Also, consider Paternity Leave if possible. This is a time in your child’s life that you will never get back. Make sure you establish your paternity leave with your employer early on, so you both know what to expect once your new bundle arrives.
Finally, Prioritize some time for yourself. Things may seem to get overwhelming and it’s okay to have some time for a little mental decompression. This can be at the gym or by maybe even taking up an activity or hobby. Most importantly, share the same courtesy with your partner. Let them go and spend time with their friends or do something while you have the baby.