5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Father

“I came to parenting the way most of us do – knowing nothing and trying to learn everything.” -Mayim Bialik

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There’s nothing I enjoy more in life than being a father to my two amazing children. Seriously, it truly has been surreal watching these mini-humans grow and mature before my very eyes. People will always tell you that being a parent is the most rewarding job on the face of the Earth. True as that may be, raising children is also the most physically and mentally demanding form of unpaid employment in the world.

I was fortunate enough to have been given some tremendous advice before, during, and after the arrival of both children. However, it’s impossible to get the full low-down on parenting until you’re actually in charge of the survival of another human being. Here are a few things I wish I had known before my wife and I decided to make babies (wink wink).

  1. Your Marriage Will Be Tested

My wife and I started dating in February 2007. We were married in October 2010. We had our first child in July 2012. I can honestly say that I can’t recall more than a handful of typical lovers’ quarrels from our first date in Allston to the day we brought our son home from the hospital. Fast forward 5 years and I can’t recall the last time we’ve gone a full week without having some kind of disagreement, big or small. It’s not that we tragically fallen out of love.  It’s that parenting is stressful!

As a parent, you never stop. You’re constantly in flux – playing with the kids, catching up on those work emails that have been piling up for days, cleaning a house that never seems to stay clean, or frantically putting out any number of hypothetical fires that are liable to tear the house down. It’s exhausting. The last thing we want (and need) is for someone – anyone – to criticize what we’re doing, how fast we’re doing it, and how it could have ultimately been handled better. When it’s your significant other giving you the hard time, it’s wholly demoralizing.

While raising children is unquestionably the best thing that’s happened to me, it has required me to truly work at being not only a good father, but a loving husband as well. I admit that it isn’t always easy, but it’s a commitment that deserves nothing but my best effort each and every day.

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  1. You’ll NEVER Have the Social Life You Once Knew

“Bruh, you totally just rocked out in NYC.”

Yeah, yeah. I know. I just spent a few days in New York City and saw three Phish concerts at Madison Square Garden. It was the first time I’d gone away in five years, and I’m honestly not sure when my next vacation (or concert) will come. That, my friends, is the reality of parenthood.

I was once a regular around the Boston jam band scene. Whether it was a show at the Paradise, Orpheum Theatre, House of Blues, or Great Woods, you’d more than likely find me dork-dancing up a storm to an epic 30 minute jam by .

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I enjoyed every minute those shows. They were my temporary escapes from reality. During those three hours at each gig, I’d completely immerse myself in ambient grooves, face-melting guitar solos, and soul-piercing bass lines, temporarily forgetting the tidal wave of external factors that were leading to frequent bouts of anxiety.

The days of dropping everything on a dime and heading to a local show are long gone. I now need at least a good 2-4 months of planning before attending a concert. It’s just the way things are with children. The social life I once had will never be the same, and that’s ok. However, as parents, we need to make sure we find an alternative outlet to keep us sane. Be sure to always make time for yourself. Connect the person you once were with the person you are now! They’ll surely hit it off!

  1. You’ll NEVER Feel Fully Rested Again

I should’ve seen this one coming. Babies are up all hours of the night. Infants aren’t the soundest of sleepers. Toddlers just love waking up around 5:30am on the weekends. Once your day begins, it is full throttle until your head hits the pillow that evening. But just when you think you’re ready to jump into those sweet dreams, you hear the pitter-patter of little feet…

“Daddy, I have to poop.”

“Can you put my blanket back on?”

“I’m not tired. Can I watch Frozen?”

“I’d like a nighttime snack.”

Make no mistake about it…

It’ll be years before you get enough sleep to truly feel 100% rested, if ever. However, you’ll quickly discover that you have more grit than you previously thought, and you will be ready to provide your children everything they’ll need to become intelligent, empathetic, and independent human beings.

You’ll just have to accept the constant presence of massive bags under your eyes…

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  1. You’ll Drive Yourself Crazy Comparing Your Child to Other Kids

Your child is one-of-a-kind. There is no one else on this planet exactly the same as the child you’re raising. Embrace it! Love it! Make sure that your child is always proud of who they are as a person. If you are constantly comparing your child with like-aged peers, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Milestones will be reached when the young one in your care is ready.

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Build your child’s self-confidence now. As we continue to witness all the manifestations of hate permeating throughout our country, it’s clear that they’ll need it down the line.

  1. You’ll Love Your Children So Much It’ll Hurt

Not much of an explanation needed here. While there are certainly many aspects of your life that’ll change when bringing a child into your world, just know it’s all worth it. The love for your child(ren)will become an indestructible force within your soul. You’ll sacrifice anything to ensure their continued happiness. Is there anything more beautiful?

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I know these five things are daunting realities of parenthood. However, this information should not deter you from making babies (wink wink).  With children, you’ll find that every day is a roller-coaster. It’ll be full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and may even end with someone vomiting. But trust me when I say that deciding to raise a child will be the best decision that you and your significant other will ever make.

Just remember to breath!

Until next time,

Ryan

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