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Wednesday September 18, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday September 18, 2013 MYT 8:55:05 AM
by robert nickell
It’s a gathering for dads to stand in solidarity as they take on fatherhood.
IN just the last 24 months the term “dadchelor party” has been heard across the United States, in radio, TV and magazine articles. A lot of new families-to-be, as well as experienced mums and dads that already have one or more children, want to know:
“Is it a good thing?”
“Should we have one?”
“Is it good for my marriage?”
“Is it like a bachelor party?”
“Why are dads doing this?”
I have thoroughly researched the topic and in order to experience what the dadchelor party is truly all about, I hosted one for a friend, had one for myself and proudly hosted several dadchelor parties for celebrity dads as well. I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are fun, great for male bonding, but more than anything help push the new daddy another step forward to be ready to engage himself as either a first time dad, or an experienced dad adding a new member to his expanding family.
I firmly believe that any event that enables Dad to be ready to take one more step into the family arena for birth and beyond is good for the whole family.
I can tell you first hand that new dads-to-be want to be involved in the process, but they are nervous, and sometimes afraid to ask questions. Simple things, like changing a diaper or swaddling, to the more difficult task of helping to calm the new baby, or even dealing with postpartum depression needs to be understood by Dad.
After the first baby, it seems to get easier, but with each addition to the family the dynamic changes. I have heard parents say one baby seems like a “piece of cake” compared to having two, or having twins. But to the family with their first newborn baby, it is a life changing and sometimes overwhelming event that truly requires a team effort.
Thus the birth of what is now known as the “dadchelor party”. This is not about going to Vegas, doing shots of tequila and making improper decisions. It is about bonding with your guy friends one last time before “daddy-lock-down”, as well as getting some good and fun “dad advice” and information from other dad friends at the party.
First let’s look at the daddy-lockdown. A first-time dad quite often does not realise that from the last month of pregnancy through about the third month of life, the family unit will go into shutdown mode.
The last month of pregnancy becomes a waiting period. The Braxton-Hicks contractions (sporadic contractions that are not true labor contractions) start up, the baby can nearly double in size, mum often has trouble walking, sitting and sleeping, and every burp causes concern about the baby. Babies can come anytime once that last month starts, so everyone has to be constantly ready to go. The first three months of life will take some getting used to for everyone. The first month will pass in a blur, and it will get easier after that.
For the new dad, this means a complete change in lifestyle, going to the gym on Saturday morning, or hanging out at a sporting event during a weeknight needs to be put aside at least for the next four months. So, the dadchelor party is the night to say thanks to the guys, and remind them that you will not see them for the next 120 days. However, if Dad really has some great friends, then they will set up a meal schedule and each of them will take a turn at bringing over some food during the “lockdown”, at least then they can say “hi”, offer to run an errand, or just say “hang in there.”
The other important part of the dadchelor party is the advice from current dads. Sometimes the most simple of questions goes unanswered and becomes a worry.
Well, that is where the dad-advice comes into play. Listen up to the experienced dads at the party and discover that you are not alone, there are a lot of commonalities in Dad’s role of raising children, going through labor and delivery, and learning how to integrate a new child into your family. This is the time to not only hear firsthand, but to feel like you have someone you can reach out to during “daddy-lockdown” if you need some further help or advice.
For my dadchelor party, we got together with about 14 dads and played Texas Hold Em’, drank some beer and wine, and I got a few “gag” gifts as well as some useful items. Since I was a dad-to-be with No.7, I was celebrating with my guy friends and reminding them I would not see them for the next four months.
For the dadchelor party I threw for a friend, we went skeet shooting, held a contest, ate BBQ and had a few beers. Everyone stood up, and rather than giving a toast, they gave a piece of advice, sometimes in a funny or teasing way.
There is nothing more important than getting the new or experienced dad-to-be engaged in the process of giving birth and having a new baby added to the family unit. I believe that as a dad you can begin to bond with the baby in that last month before birth, and then just keep stepping up and doing whatever you can to help with the newborn after birth. Having a family is like a lot of life lessons: “The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.”
Good luck and happy parenting!
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of six, is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, where he covers topics about parenting and the latest babies’ and kids’ gear, all from a dad’s perspective.
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Lifestyle, Robert Nickell, dadchelor party, Fathers, Dads
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