How parenting changes your life
Don’t get me wrong. It was nothing like an overnight transformation from being a carefree individual to becoming someone whom you may refer to as an ideal dad. At least this is what happened to me.
Becoming a “real” dad was a combination of slow and natural process of “awakening” and conscious self-reminding, self-training, or self-conditioning that I am already a father and I have to change my ways. Not all of them are pleasant, or voluntary, I’m telling you.
Here are 5 of what I think were manifestations of my natural process of “awakening” and other changes:
I started to notice other people’s children
Before, kids were nothing but pesky little critters that literally litter the grounds during family gatherings. In a way, I was annoyed by little children. They are rowdy, noisy, and uncontrollable; and they can even pester you with the most nonsensical questions. What’s worse is you are forced to answer them because their parents are looking, smiling proudly and are also waiting (encouraging) for you to answer their pesky little child’s silly questions.
Now that I’m a dad, I noticed that I no longer mind little kids running around and bumping me while I talk to someone. In fact, I am beginning to really “see” them that I even watch them while they play. I also get to be the one calling them and asking them “silly questions” like, “Hi. What’s your name?” and “How old are you?”
Before, my eyes would roll whenever I hear someone engage a kid in an insanely inane conversation like that.
I started to think about the future
Before, I take pride in being a carefree devil-may-care person. I take this bravado as a sign of confidence and superiority. Before, I believed that being cautious and constantly thinking about the future are signs of insecurity and weakness. Before, whenever my friends and I would go on long weekend trips on our motorcycles, I drove the fastest, I raced against strangers on the highway by taunting them, and I chose the most difficult terrains in farms and mountains.
Now that I’m a dad, I noticed that my usual bravado has somewhat tamed. I just realized that I was irresponsible when I thought I was brave. My friends would tease me that I have gone soft, and I would just tell them I want to see my son grow.
The truth is, the scariest thought for me now is not being able to be there for my children whenever they would need me. I have learned to value my life and my health now.
I started to watch what I say and what I do
Before, I was what you might call a selfish self-centered oaf who couldn’t care less if I would hurt or offend anyone as long as I get or say what I want. It’s not that I am insensitive or callous, it’s just that sometimes a man could be carried away by the moment he is in. I could be loud and I could curse whenever I’m watching my favourite ballgame on TV. I could be loud and I could curse whenever I’m mad with somebody.
Now, that I’m a dad, you better watch your mouth when you’re in my house, especially if my kids are around. Strictly no cursing! This is especially true if the wife is around. She’d kill us both before you know it.
Seriously speaking, I could be very expressive and I could blow my top whenever the wife and I have a disagreement. However, I noticed that since our small kids started sprouting inside the house, I find out that I hardly raise my voice anymore. It terrifies me to think that my kids will be terrified by loud quarrels.
In fact, the wife and I are thankful for the discovery that we haven’t been having shouting matches since our first child.
I started to become more money savvy
Before our first child, my wife and I spent a lot on non-essentials. This seemed natural because it was just the two of us, and both of us are earning from our respective jobs. We spent a lot because we thought we could always earn again.
Now that I am a dad, the responsibility of parenthood is just too huge to risk winging it without any form of financial savings. The responsibility of parenthood made me and my wife cut back on unnecessary expenses.
Looking back to our childless days, I realised that no matter how big anyone earns, it would always be insufficient if one doesn’t save.
Having a baby changed my life for the better!
It’s not that I haven’t been going around without a purpose. It’s just that I am seeing life now with a better purpose. I became more grounded. I came to realize the importance of values, the beauty of kindness, and the immeasurable joy of giving someone an unselfish, boundless, and unconditional love.
Now that I am a dad, i look at my parents differently: I love them more. Now that I am a dad, I see my fellowmen (particularly my fellow parents) differently. Having undergone what they have gone through or are still undergoing, I feel more empathy and a sense of oneness with them.
I have matured. Being a dad has made me a better person.