In just the last 24 months the term Dadchelor Party has been heard across the USA, radio, TV, and magazine articles. A lot of new families to-be as well as experienced mom’s and dad’s 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 dad’s 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, and even had one for myself. 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 already expanding family. I firmly believe that any event, or process that enables dad to be ready to take one more step into the family arena for birth and beyond is good for any family.
I can tell you first hand that new dad’s 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 dealing with a little post partum depression with mommy needs to be understood by dad. After the first baby, it does seem to get easier but as well, with each addition to the family, the dynamic changes. I have heard mom’s and dad’s say, one baby seems like a “piece of cake” compared to having two, or even having twins. But to the family with their first new born 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 lets look at the Daddy-Lock-Down: A first time dad quite often does not realize that from the last month of pregnancy until the third month of life, the family unit will go into “shut down mode”. Often during the last month of pregnancy, it becomes a waiting period, the Braxton Hicks (pseudo contractions) start up, the baby will normally double in size, mom has trouble walking, sitting, sleeping, and every burp causes concern about the baby. As well, babies can come anytime once that last month starts up, so everyone has to be constantly ready to go. The first three months of life will adjustment time 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 life style, going to the gym on Saturday morning, or hanging out at a Laker game during a week night 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 take a turn at bringing over some food during the “lock down”, at least then they can say hi, offer to run an errand, or just say “hang in there”.
Another important part of the Dadchelor Party is the “advice from current dad’s”. Sometimes the most simple of questions go unanswered and become a worry. Have you ever sat in a classroom, and wanted to ask a question, and then did not raise your hand because you thought the question was just not appropriate? Then within a minute someone else asks the exact same question, and the teacher says “excellent question”! Well that is where the dad-advice comes into play. Listen up to the experienced dad’s 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 first hand, but now to feel like you have someone you can reach out to during “daddy-lock-down”, 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 number 7, I was celebrating with my guy friends and reminding them I would not see them for the next 4 months. For the Dadchelor Party I threw for a friend, we went skeet shooting, held a contest, ate bar b q, 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 new born 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.
Daddy Nickell, Founder of Daddy Scrubs, PAM Advisor, and Dad of 7!