Dad to Dad: Parenting Tips for Prince William
Dear Prince William,
Firstly, apologies if there should have been a more formal Royal naming convention that should have been used instead of "Dear Prince." I'm just shooting from the hip here, and really that's not what's important right now. I'm writing to say: Welcome to fatherhood. It's not the most exclusive club in the world, but hey, aside from being males I'm confident saying that you and I had pretty much nothing in common until this.
Earlier this year, I was initiated into the fatherhood clan when my son was born. Frankly, I was terrified up until the very second he entered the world, given that I've been around dogs far more than babies, and that patience tends to evade me. But then (*audible finger snap sound*), my life changed 100% for the better and I can't imagine it being any other way at this point. Well, maybe with some more sleep.
That said, you're Prince William. You'll have royal nannies, doctors, babysitters, butt wipers and other royal professions that can relieve you of your fatherhood duties when it's 3am and there's a 9 pound version of yourself screaming and generating sound that shouldn't be physically possible out of lungs that small. You certainly should take advantage of all the help and amenities, but don't go overboard. Part of the growing up process -- both for baby and yourself -- will be submitting to the fact that you have absolutely no idea what you're doing, and then doing your best to change that.
Being a parent is 100% on-the-job training. Forget all of those books about how to take care of a baby. Of course, there might be a useful snippet somewhere, but when other factors (See: Feces, spit-up, screaming, tears, sleep deprivation, etc.) are thrown into the mix, it's all on you to figure out. It's much like that old military adage of all battle plans are thrown out the window once the first shot is fired, except now the shots are fired from ... well, we won't go there. You'll see soon enough. What I'm getting at though is: The baby dictates everything now.
That was probably the biggest hurdle for me, and I think most guys will have that issue in some form. You can't go out whenever you want anymore (granted, going out for you requires much more in terms of planning and security than myself), having a nice interruption-free meal with your wife is a prospect about as laughable as finding a lush lemon grove on the moon, and before you know it, your house is taken over with ridiculous looking apparatus that will only be useful for about 3 months at a clip. And yes, it's still totally worth it.
Despite your royal status, many say you're quite humble and down to earth. Kudos on that, and you'll need it. Get in there and change diapers even if there's staff and helpers around. You're going to want to be hands-on … even if your hands are on things you'd generally prefer to not touch. It's part of the magic of parenthood, and it's a ridiculous prospect until you're actually a parent. Then, you'll be psyched when there's a diaper filled with grossness, because it means everything's working properly inside your little one.
So, best of luck, and despite the fact that the entire world will be prying in on every detail of your baby, enjoy every little second of it, because (here comes the cliche) you'll blink and he'll be a totally different baby -- but still 100% yours.
Mike is a news and lifestyle writer, editor, and producer living in NYC. Mike has worked all over the digital media landscape, from hard news to celebrity to television. He is also a new father, and a pretty mean cook who loves fishing on his days off.