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Dads share what surprised them about having kids

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

Dads answer: What is the most surprising part of fatherhood?

You may be pleasantly surprised about what dads say shocked them the most about having kids. From making them feel vulnerable and overprotective to re-prioritizing career goals to, yes, even how expensive they are, dads share their innermost thoughts on how having kids changed their lives — and their hearts.

What surprised dad Patrick Riccards? The things he does for kids that he never thought he would do. “I learned that the one thing my 7-year old daughter loves more than life itself is getting pedicures with me. We now go every month and I have had painted toes, in all colors of the rainbow, for more than a year now,” he said.

He also admitted that he was surprised at how well absorbent diapers work. In fact, they work almost too well. “I learned that new, absorbent diapers don't feel wet when they are wet. A lesson learned after I left my newborn son in the same diaper for the entire day,” he confessed.

Don’t worry. Many other dads (and moms!) have been guilty of this rookie parenting mistake.

What else has surprised dads about fatherhood?

They make you want to get out the Bubble Wrap

It sounds like moms aren’t alone in feeling overprotective of their kids. “I am shocked by how overprotective I am of my little girls,” Randy Levin reveals. “If I could put them in Bubble Wrap and keep them believing in the tooth fairy and Disney princesses, I would.”

The emotional attachment

“My biggest surprise came in the form of emotional attachment,” Dave Dyer told us. “Having been of the mindset that I was above such things and had no real feeling capacity. I was stunned when my first child was born as to how much those feelings changed. I found myself getting up in the night, regardless of need, to check in on him and make sure all was OK. This bond continues today with all my children and they have all left the nest. I actually stayed in an unhappy marriage for 25 years just to make sure they were taken care of properly and had the skills and ability to be on their own before I left.”

They are expensive

Dave Swerdlick has two teenagers (17-year-old Hannah and 14-year-old Zoe) and he is surprised at how much money they want to spend on certain things. "I had no idea my teenage daughters could spend so much money on clothes. $98 yoga pants, $100 T-shirts and $500 purses."

They love to spend time with the kids (and don't call it babysitting!)

“I've learned that dads don't babysit. And I get angrier and angrier by those who assume I am 'babysitting' just because my wife isn't home,” says Riccards. “These are my children. I am parenting.”

Kids never fail to make you smile

Jon Babu has two children and he revealed that he was surprised that his kids can always make him smile — even when they don't mean to. "I remember, when our son was only a month or two old, changing him and putting him down to sleep. He was calm and we locked eyes, and I got all emotional and told him I loved him. Then, as if on cue, he passed gas and smiled,” Babu remembers. “It put my sappiness in perspective and made me laugh."

There is no cheat sheet for fatherhood

Jason Graham-Nye says that parenting is a lifelong learning process. “Becoming a parent for most coincides with the adult phase of life when the college notebooks have been put away, perhaps the degree is on the wall, and you regard yourself as an expert in something. But when kids enter the equation, you are placed back on a learner's permit, with no user manual and no notes to buy from the smartest kid in the class,” jokes Graham-Nye. “Once I figured out how to change a diaper and got pretty good at that, for example, it was on to the next thing and the next thing. This morning it was assessing a persuasive essay from my 10-year-old about his 'need' for a phone."

It drastically improves your time management skills

“You get so much better at managing your time. I can get an incredible amount of work done in two hours. It's a skill I wish I had in college,” confesses Mark Aselstine.

Your life doesn’t have to change drastically

James Baussmann was surprised that his life after having kids didn't change as drastically as he thought it would. “Yes, I attend much fewer after-work happy hours. However, many social activities are still possible. For example, during the first three months after my wife gave birth to our son, we found going out to dinner with the baby quite easy and enjoyable. During this time, the baby is marathon sleeping and would sleep right through dinner. It helped us realize that while many things will change, it is possible to still lead a fairly normal life," he says.

This post was brought to you by New York Life.

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