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Guest Post #3 – The Unexpected Dad

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By Al Ferguson

Al Ferguson is the CEO and founder of The Dadsnet.

Published on 16/09/2014

At The Dad Network we wanted to to provide a place to work with other dad bloggers. It seemed like we all had the same motivation and the same goal, so why not work together. We want to encourage and promote other dad bloggers in order to encourage and promote the role of dads within family life. As a result, we’ve teamed up with some other dads and each week, we’ll be publishing a guest post from another dad blogger from around the globe. Be sure to check out their blogs! 

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Paul Carlson and I run the web site TheUnexpectedDad.Com.  I work as an IT manager for a large global IT services company by day, and a father both day and night.  My wife and I married late in life; I am in my mid-forties and we have been married for 3 years.   In my spare time (this doesn’t really exist anymore), I enjoy music, outdoor activities including hiking, biking, camping and backpacking.

What’s your blog about and why did you start it?

As I mentioned, my wife and I married late in life and we didn’t really expect to have children (thus the title of my blog).  We weren’t opposed to the idea of having children, but just assumed that it was not in the cards for us.

My blog is about is about being an “older” dad and the learning curve associated with assuming the role of a new dad, at any age.  When I started the blog several months before my daughter was born, the intent was just to document the trials, tribulations, joys and accomplishments during the pregnancy and then as I continued my journey going forward.   I wanted to share what I had learned, but not necessarily give advice.  

I am also using my blog as a timeline and journal, noting at the bottom of each post either the current week of the pregnancy, or the current age of my daughter.  I think the posts will be something interesting I can show my daughter when she gets older; the “time stamps” at the bottom of the posts will help to put them into context based on where I was in my journey as a father.

What’s been your favourite post to write and what do you think is your readers’ favourite post?

My favorite post so far has been the description of my daughter’s birth, titled:  The Unexpected Birth – Week 37.  It’s probably not the best written piece, it’s really just a brain dump of the events that led up to my daughter’s birth, the delivery and what followed immediately after.  These events in the hospital were a whirlwind, and this post was an attempt to capture things the best I could in a short blog post.

I am a dad guy, and I have to go by the numbers on my reader’s favorite post, which looks like it is  15 Ways to Wake A Sleeping Baby.  This post tells about different strategies we have tried to keep our baby awake while we try and feed her.  This was a problem we had in the first couple weeks of her life; she wouldn’t stay awake while we fed her.  Now it is not such a problem, it seems like she’s always awake these days.

What 3 tips would you give to dads or expectant dads to help them on their quest into

For Expectant Dads:

1. Be as involved in the pregnancy as you can.  Go to the doctor appointments, work on the nursery, read books, go to classes, etc.  The more involved you are during the pregnancy, the more connected you will feel with your significant other and in turn with your baby once he or she arrives.
2. Be patient.  Your wife/significant other is probably very uncomfortable during the pregnancy, so do everything you can to help her out.  This more than likely means extra chores around the house; suck it up and get it done.
3. Enjoy alone time with your wife/significant other now, while you can!  Once the baby arrives you will be hard pressed to find time to do things together.

For New or Current Dads:

1. It is easy to get frustrated when your baby seems like he or she is constantly crying, and it can be quite maddening at times.  Remember that your baby is totally dependent on you, and has no other way to express him or herself. 
2. Sleep deprivation is standard, so get used to be tired.  Be ready to sleep when the baby is sleeping.  I should take my own advice; my daughter is currently sleeping, but I am writing this instead of sleeping.
3. Practical tip:  Sign up for Amazon mom.  20% discount on diapers and wipes and 2-day shipping (although there is an annual fee).  I’m not sure if this is just available in the U.S. or in other countries as well, but check into it.

What’s the best thing about being a dad? (Or expectant dad?)

For me the best thing about being a dad (I have limited experience here since my daughter is only 7 weeks old at the time of this writing) is spending time with my daughter and wife as a new family.  I am amazed at how quickly my daughter is growing and I am looking forward to the various milestones that are coming up in the near and distant future.

What’s the biggest challenge(s) about being a dad? (Or expectant dad?)

Our doctor says that my daughter has colic (which seems to be the diagnosis when they aren’t sure what’s wrong with a baby); she cries a lot and rarely sleeps for longer than 1-2 hours at a time.  In addition, she wants to be held all the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy holding her, but it makes it very difficult to do other things and can get physically tiring.  So the biggest challenge for me thus far has been getting sleep, and trying to engage in activities non-baby related.

What message would you like to give to The Dad Network readers?

Our modern culture seems to depreciate the importance of the role that fathers play in their child’s life.  This is readily apparent by just watching television for a short time:   As you watch, you will see commercials and TV shows that involve family dynamic portraying the father as a bumbling fool.  This dad-fool needs to be guided like a child so that he doesn’t do or say anything stupid, which would irreparably harm his family.

This is a lie.  The truth is that the father’s role in his child’s life is not only important, but noble and necessary.  A father is a mentor, protector and teacher (among other things) and as Dads (with a capital “D”) we have the responsibility and privilege of taking an active role in shaping our child’s life.  Awesome!

Bio – Paul is a Christ follower, musician, outdoor lover, computer geek and father, and writes about his experiences as a new dad on his blog TheUnexpectedDad.Com.  He lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA and can be contacted on Twitter at @Unexpected_Dad.

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