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1 Year, 10 Lessons

Ten Things I Learned in my First Year as a Dad

 For Father’s Day, we sat down with Stelios, husband to Angela Eliopoulos and father to baby Sianna, as he reflected upon his first year of fatherhood. As we discussed the trials and triumphs he experienced as a first-time father, Stelios reveals the ten important lessons he learned.

  1. Fatherhood changes you – it’s constantly testing your patience and your ability to problem solve in stressful situations. And as a result, I have learned how to become more considerate, loving and patient. Also, I don’t drive as fast anymore!
  2. I thought I knew beauty until I first saw my daughter, Sianna. Everybody kept telling me how I would feel when I first saw her, but there really is no other feeling quite like it…except for maybe winning the Lotto 649.
  3. I learned that [my wife] is a natural born mother. Her mommy instincts have completely taken over and she has become even cooler than before, if that was ever possible…
  4. Following up with that, even though I have witnessed first-hand, her supermommy abilities, my wife is still only human. She will have bad days, and that’s okay. It’s my duty as her husband and partner that I support her when she’s having a hard time and that I remind her how much I love and appreciate her.
  5. If you and your wife can make it through the nine-month emotional roller coaster called pregnancy, you two can REALLY get through anything!
  6. Books can only teach you generic things and situations. There really is something called maternal and paternal instincts and I’m happy to say I am a strict follower of the maternal instinct! Go Mom!
  7. You will become overprotective – I basically treat Sianna like a porcelain doll. I can finally relate to why my mother was always worried about me and where I was and what I was doing, because boy, babies are fast and when they’re toddlers, they’re even faster.
  8. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I never thought I that would come to adore Sianna’s toothy grin, dripping with drool, when we play “Super Baby to the Rescue!!!!!” Or even better, when she wakes up in the morning, looks at me and lets one rip!
  9. Being a parent gives you superhuman strength. I really did not expect to be a functional human being while sleep deprived.
  10. Love truly is unconditional as a parent. I never thought it was possible to love someone even more than my wife, but our daughter, Sianna, has introduced me to a love that I never knew existed. You will love and grieve more intensely than you ever thought possible. You will make mistakes worse than you ever thought possible. You will matter more to your children than you ever thought possible.

As we chatted some more with Stelios, we asked him what he would want to say to Sianna 18 years from now and if he had any last words to share with us.

My love for my daughter grows by the minute and getting to know her, watch her grow and change as a little person is such as blessing. Being a father, I’ve grown, because now, I feel complete. No matter what happens, when I see Sianna’s face, everything is better. Like my wife says, Sianna is the “love of my life and the joy in my soul.” Our hearts our full because of her and she is our greatest joy.

If there is anything I would like for my daughter to know is to always be careful, never rush with important decisions and always put herself in other people’s shoes. Be courteous, kind and polite to others, but be brave and courageous when a problem arises. More than anything, I would want Sianna to be happy and to follow her instincts and have her know that we love her with all of our hearts.