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Fatherhood changes everything.
Your dads probably paced around the maternity ward waiting room when you were born, then handed out cigars and went right back to work. That was then, this is now. Today, you guys are not just going to OB-GYN appointments, you're asking, er, probing questions of the doc; you're also cutting umbilical cords, swaddling newborns, even "wearing" them out in public. (Note to moms-to-be: Your results may vary.)
This new brand of fatherhood has obvious benefits for families, but plenty of awkwardness and discomfort as well for you, dad. You worry: With all this parenting and nurturing, will I lose my edge? Go broke? Watch sports or have sex ever again?
"Well, yes and no," says experienced dad Brian Ried (aka Rebeldad, who blogs at rebeldad.com). "Fatherhood diminishes the amount of time a guy can drink vodka and tonics, but it opens up a whole new world of opportunities as teacher, mentor and role model. He can teach his son to make an omelet and his daughter to bait a hook," Ried says. "That's the greatest expression of adulthood and manliness."
Let men be men.
In the meantime, laughing at the awkward moments (together, hopefully) is a good way to go. That and having the shared knowledge that the greatest gift a dad can offer his partner and kids is bringing his male characteristics to the family table. And the rewards are incalculable.
"Epic emotional attachment is not something we're ready for as guys," says Kurt Voelker, a writer/director and dad living in Los Angeles. "But when my child sees me and jumps into my arms? Pure gold."
To help you both get to that happy place, here's a guide to a few of those awkward new moments, some suggested reading so dad can bone up on his mad skillz, solutions for the fears he may harbor (so mom will know what's going on) and a few cool gizmos for that fatherhood toolbelt.