Taking on the role of parent is no easy task, so it’s normal to find yourself wondering if your partner will be a good father once baby arrives. Time will tell—but if you spot these signs in the meantime, chances are he’ll nail the whole dad thing.
1. He's in touch with his inner dork.
If the guy can be an unapologetic goofball about Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Italian wines or fantasy football, that’s a sign he’ll one day get completely excited discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each Transformer or the complex friendship of Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia on My Little Pony. And that makes him dad material.
2. He's hard to gross out.
Baby barf, pee, yellowish slobber that smells of pureed carrots—you name it, he's going to get covered in it. Daddyhood is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). The man who can calmly wipe radioactive-green projectile poo from his cheek and go right on singing “The Wheels on the Bus” is in good shape.
3. He's comfortable saying “I love you,” “I'm sorry” and—when appropriate—nothing at all. Immature men want to be right. Mature men want the people they love to be happy. That means doing away with machismo, pretense and the fear of honest emotions. It also means knowing when to shut the hell up.
4. He doesn’t need to be the center of attention.
One of the immediate challenges of going from two to three in a family is that #3 is going to get the majority the attention for the foreseeable future. Guys can be needy, and it'll be an adjustment when he needs to share your attention (and body) with someone else. A man who’s content to take a back seat once in a while will be a happy new father.
5. He's the future king of Candy Land.
Good sign: He can have loads of fun playing everything from Call of Duty to Chutes and Ladders. Bad sign: He’s been known to throw the Xbox controller across the room when he doesn’t win. If he sometimes drags you outside in the dark to see an amazing full moon, his sense of wonderment is spot on.
6. He’s rich in something other than money.
Guys can panic about being able to provide financially for a family, but a good dad knows children need your presence, not your presents (sorry for the cliché). Sure, a good dad is financially responsible, but he shouldn’t measure his self-worth by his paycheck.
7. He's very good at something.
Doesn’t matter if it’s rebuilding a transmission or mixed-pairs figure skating—as long as he knows what it means to be bad at something and struggle to get good at it. The work ethic and patience involved in learning to master a skill will be key when he’s learning to be a great parent.
8. He’s got close friends.
Do his friends come to him looking for advice, not just for a drinking buddy? Can you picture one of his guy friends, one day, giving heartfelt advice to your daughter? If so, that’s a very good sign.
9. He genuinely wants to be a dad.
This might sound obvious, but you’d be amazed what a man will agree to if his partner asks often enough. It’s fine to talk someone into ordering Thai instead of pizza, but having a baby shouldn’t require even the slightest bit of convincing. If he’s excited about the baby-to-be, something tells me he’ll be A-OK.