. Being a Father is Like Going Through Hell Week |

Aug 21 2012

Five Ways Being a New Dad is Just Like Pledging a Fraternity

Published by at 7:20 am under Editorial

A little less than a month ago I was blessed with my first child.   He was a big little boy.  Nearly 9 lbs at birth.   And despite all of the things I had heard about becoming a father and the challenges I would face, nothing prepared me for when the actual event took place.   Nothing prepared me for the emotions, the insanity, the visits from people I don’t even care about.

And while I was roaming around like a zombie just trying to take care of my kid, I couldn’t help but be grateful that I was at one point a pledge for a fraternity.   Little did I know that pledging would actually help in fatherhood.  And I realized that the first few weeks of fatherhood held some real similarities to one of the hardest times of my life.

Here are five similarities between pledging and new fatherhood I wanted to share with guys out there….

The lack of sleep

This is the most obvious but it’s clearly worth mentioning.   As a pledge during hell week I averaged about 2 hrs a night of sleep.   Frankly that’s way less sleep than I got as a first time dad in my first few weeks.  So that part is great.   However, it kind of evens out given that fatherhood is a 24 hr job and even when you’re not sleeping, you’re doing something to care for your kid.   As a pledge it was no sleep but at least I was partying too.   None of that as a daddy.  But yeah, the smiles and coos and stuff like that are great.

The utter humility of it all

As a pledge you have to do some nasty things.  Things I don’t really want to mention on this site.   Things that you realize looking back that you simply shouldn’t have ever done.   Things that basically strip you of all humanity.  And if you think being crapped on, pissed on, and having to make ridiculous faces and sounds just to keep your baby sane isn’t dehumanizing then you are wrong.  But at least in fatherhood you can laugh about it.  As a pledge it’s just flat out embarrassing.

You have little choice of anything at all

As a pledge and a father you feel helpless at times.  While in the fraternity you are being told what to do, as a father you’re also at the mercy of your baby.   You have no choices.  All you can do is react to whatever the baby is trying to tell you.  As a pledge all you can do is what the brothers tell you.

The Jealousy of your “Free” friends

I’ll never forget how annoyed I used to be at people who got sleep when I was in hell week.  I remember hating every friend of mine who wasn’t experiencing the same thing.   Now?  Now I’m jealous of any couple that doesn’t have a kid.  Of course being a parent is rewarding but clearly the days of doing what I want when I want are 100% over.   So yeah, I get a little jealous at times.

The Ends Justify the Means

In pledging you kind of realize that it was worth it all in the end.  Despite the humiliation, lack of sleep, and idiocy of the whole thing the relief is astonishing and you are so pumped to be a member of the tribe.   Fatherhood is different in that the relief isn’t a one time thing.  It’s nearly every day.   You achieve small victories moments at a time but you realize all the crap time you have to put in is worth it when your child gives you a smile.


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