Like any other new father, I was eager to experience all the things that parenthood has in store for me. I prepared well for it (or at least I thought I did) by reading articles about how to be a good parent and asking my friends for tips on how to make parenting a blissful journey.
However, it seems like you can never really prepare yourself well for parenting because it’s dynamic. There is no single formula when it comes to good parenting.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to taking care of our family. That’s what I realized when I became a dad. I was idealistic but I was glad that I realized that early on because that meant that I won’t be frustrated when things don’t go out of my way.
Things i realized when i became a father | Image from Unsplash
7 things i realized when i became a father
Anyway, here are some more important things about fatherhood (or being a parent, in general) that I realized along the way.
1. Your child will not always turn out as you’d expect them to
Your child is like a present wrapped in a packaging. Days with your child are filled with moments of discovery as he unravels his personality, his character, his interests, and his dislikes.
We all wish the best for our children but we cannot really predict how they will turn out to be in the future. There are factors that are beyond our control, no matter how society dictates it.
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For example, other parents will tell you that your children should be talking at a certain age. However, your child may not be displaying that particular milestone expected of his age. You might feel pressured but don’t blame yourself or your child for it.
My firstborn has Global Developmental Delay and I would admit that I initially blamed myself for it. Did I not talk to him enough? Did I not play with him? Read to him? Eventually, when we sought medical help, it opened our eyes to the truths surrounding that particular condition. We stopped blaming ourselves in the process.
So, seek help or intervention–professional, medical, therapy–when necessary but just let things happen. They will eventually fall into place.
All the same, this is just one aspect of your child’s development. There are still many things that are bound to happen in the future. Again, readiness and acceptance are paramount.
2. Things will not always go as planned
This brings me to my second realization; things will not go as planned. Even before our babies are born, we start making plans for their future – what age we will enroll them in school, the special skills or talents that we want to hone for them, even the toys that we want to buy for them.
But all of those things will change or adjust based on how our child will grow or become.
Things i realized when i became a father | Image from Unsplash
3. Your child is a person completely different from you
Oftentimes, we expect too much of our child without even realizing that they are a person completely different from us. They may exhibit some personality or character that is similar to ours but that’s just about it.
They have their own wants and desires so it’s not wise to impose or to demand from them the things that we wanted for ourselves. Do not force them to be like you.
4. You will get disappointed
Yes, you will get disappointed a lot, especially when things do not go our way. It’s a natural reaction and can actually be healthy because it means that there is a desire for us to pursue our goals. However, we should also know or learn when it’s time to let go.
As they say, choose your battles. So, allow yourself to be disappointed but also learn to refocus your energy when the situation calls for it.
5. It’s ok to lose your cool
Before I became a father, I had this picture of myself as the ideal dad who is able to keep his cool in any situation. Well, it’s not true, not for me or for anyone else. I once tried hard not to lose it with my son but I felt that it’s not healthy. I don’t go about getting all berserk and wild but I acknowledge my feelings of being tired and frustrated.
I turn away or distract myself by writing, reading a book, or watching video clips on YouTube. We are all human, after all, and we have emotions. We get tired mentally and physically so we are not always in tiptop condition. Our patience will be tested by our children but we have to try our best to handle it well.
6. Be ready to put your own dreams in the backseat
Fatherhood is a matter of prioritization and I choose to focus on my family. As such, I had to put my personal dreams of being a full-time blogger in the backseat for now. I had to turn down several travel opportunities in the past because I wanted to dedicate my weekends to my family.
Things i realized when i became a father
I had to forego attending events before because my wife was pregnant and I couldn’t risk being not by her side when emergencies happened.
On the other hand, that does not mean that I am letting go of my dreams. My blog, for example, has changed its focus because my interests have also evolved.
I realized just recently that it has already become a parenting blog and that I am enjoying writing articles revolving around that topic. Anyway, I am a believer that if one door closes, another one will open.
7. It’s perfectly fine to rest
Yes, it’s okay to rest. How else can you recover your strength if you will not take a break? I had a different mindset though before I became a dad. I thought rest was a waste of time and, by doing so, I was being a bad parent. That was not true at all. My wife and I get tired so we take time to relax from time to time.
A trip to the mall perhaps? Or cooking something delicious at home? Those are things that re-energize us.
Again, acknowledge that you are not superhuman and that you cannot do it all. Rest if you must so that you will have the energy for all the physically and mentally-demanding tasks related to parenthood.
These are seven most important things about becoming a dad that I learned from experience.
I’m sharing this to my fellow parents in hopes that these will also put their minds at ease when they become doubtful of themselves and their abilities. In the end, we should remember to be flexible and learn to make adjustments as we go along our parenting journey.
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