Our home life with twin girls is a blessing, but to be honest, it can be rough. We are mixing a sleep-deprived couple, two rightfully demanding babies, and a to-do list of tasks unrelated to babies. It’s not the best mixture. As a first-time dad of twin girls, I joke about how I am outnumbered in the house – it’s dad vs. girls.
Though I joke, there are several things I have noted in the time these two additional ladies came into my life, causing me to balance loving my wife and loving my two daughters. As dads, it seems like every day a new tool is needed to help repair something, but we don’t always have all the tools needed. So, here are four tools I’d love to share from my toolbox to yours.
#1 – Don’t forget about mom
A few weeks after the twins came home, it came to a point where I wondered if my wife and I had forgotten about each other as the twins became our main focus. After a couple of comments and expressions of annoyance passed between us, I realized that in some cases, I had put the twins before my wife. Though it is not intentional to forget our spouses, we dads (moms too) may tend to do this as we are absorbed by babies’ feeding schedules, their sleep schedules or simply the twinkles in their eyes that wrap us around their little fingers. Being deliberate about how you are also going to love and take care of your spouse daily is important as you both adjust to a new norm. Even if it’s the little things you do in showing your appreciation for her, don’t forget about mom.
#2 – Be open to learning and implementing new things
I will never forget the day I confidently dressed one of our girls with the clothes mom left out for me. There I was, proud of how I overcame the rigor that some of these baby blouses bring when trying to place them on newborns. As I walked out of our nursery with my head held high, my wife busted out laughing. “Honey, her blouse is on backwards.” As dads, many times we will have to humble ourselves, especially when it comes to the girl stuff. At times, we’ll need to laugh and take the egg off our faces if we get it wrong (and that’s okay). Always be open to learn and implement new things that aren’t second nature, especially as a dad of girls.
#3 – Bond, The Dad Bond
Imagine a connection with your 18-year-old daughters that started from the moments you rocked them in your arms as infants. Today, there is so much research available that teaches us about the art of bonding with our newborns – through locking eye contact with them, reading to them, speaking words of affirmation over them, or just talking to them about the plans for the day. Even when they aren’t responding yet, there are so many non-verbal ways to bond with our little ones. As a new dad, I have learned how bonding not only helps developmentally with our daughters’ cognition as they grow, it also forms the foundations of our relationships. Simply aiming to be the best father you can be today makes a great place to start a lasting relationship with your daughter. I encourage fathers to investigate ways they can strengthen bonds with their children at every stage of their lives, even newborn!
#4 – Go ahead and plan it!
You know how money typically grows over the years when you invest? The same thing applies for investing in our newborns now for tomorrow. When I became a dad, I was thrilled to plan a life for the future of our daughters with college funds, journals filled with letters from me throughout the years, and traditions formed now that we would hold as a family later. I want them to know they are beautiful, special and loved. Sometimes it feels silly to plan for such things, years in advance, when they aren’t even saying “da-da” yet. But after learning from an older generation about things they had done years ago that their kids are benefiting from today, it reminded me that though we don’t see or feel the investment today, we shouldn’t lose stamina in being intentional in planning for the future. We can’t always know tomorrow, but we can do our best to help their tomorrow. Though our labor in sentiments, traditions and literal investments may not seem to be worth much today, they will be worth more every day that passes by.
Ashford Sonii is a writer, primarily focusing on family and fatherhood. He is co-founder of YoungHearts Ministries. Visit youtube.com/c/YoungHeartsMinistriesKidsFamily.