In keeping with our Father’s Day theme, we asked a first-time dad to tell us about his fatherhood experiences so far. Jacob Hyman and his wife, Rose, are the proud parents of 7-month-old Vanessa. Jacob is a software development manager at Vistaprint in Lexington. In his (precious!) free time he likes to go running through Cambridge, Somerville and along the Charles River. He tells us what he finds most surprising about fatherhood and what he hopes to impart to his daughter.
As a first-time dad, what has been one of the most surprising things about fatherhood?
How much laundry such a small person can generate! More seriously, the biggest surprise has been how quickly my daughter has grown and changed. The first few months went by in a blur. It seems as if, overnight, she went from reacting to the most basic stimuli to being fully engaged with her surroundings. You hear people talk about their children growing out of clothing overnight, but I didn’t realize people meant that literally. The rate of change is challenging because once you think you have things under control, the next day it changes. That being said, it is incredibly rewarding to see her personality develop more each day.
How are you balancing the different priorities in your life, including work, your daughter and your relationship?
What really hit me after Vanessa was born was that her needs immediately became a higher priority than most everything else. The good thing is that my stress level at work is lower because things that used to bother me seem a little less important, and the people there have been supportive. The bad thing is that it is much harder to do the things you used to take for granted, like getting outside for a run or having dinner out on a Saturday night.
Having a child has also changed the amount of work my wife and I have to put into our relationship. It is not easy finding time to spend together when one or both of us aren’t exhausted. However, we both realize that we need to take care of ourselves and each other if we want to be good parents. We are fortunate to have friends with kids who have given us great advice and support. We have to put more effort into it, but we’ve been able to go on a few dates together without Vanessa.
What are the Jewish values that shape your parenting?
I think something important to me is the value of creating a community. I don’t consider myself very religious, and I grew up in an area with a small Jewish population. Since moving to Boston, I’ve had an opportunity to be more involved in a local Jewish community, and I would like to give that opportunity to my daughter. I hope she will be able to find personal meaning in her participation in the Jewish community and that it stays with her for life.
When I think about Jewish values, many of them are about being a better person and trying to improve the world around you. I try to be compassionate and understanding of her needs so she will be able to do the same for others when she is older.
What has been your proudest dad moment so far?
I don’t think I have a single moment, but I love being able to make Vanessa laugh. It is also a wonderful feeling to walk into Vanessa’s nursery when she wakes up from a nap and have her give me a huge smile. Any chance I have to share a cute picture of her makes me proud!
What are the top five things you hope to teach your daughter as she grows up?
How to have confidence and rely on herself. How to ride a bike and ice skate. How to appreciate good music. The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. How to beat Contra without using the cheat code.
What’s the best Father’s Day gift you could receive?
Being able to sleep late in the morning and then spend the rest of the day with my wife and daughter.