I recently entered a phase of life I honestly never thought I’d be in.
I took on a title, that until recently, I never wanted….
I’m loving (mostly) ever minute of it.
Becoming a dad for the first time has truly changed my life – in ways I expected, and ways I didn’t. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my wife, and my son as he grows. Here are four things I’ve learned along the way…
1. Start Early
I read in The Expectant Father, that the earlier you start talking to your child in the womb, the more they will recognize your voice. The author explains that once your child reaches a certain point in development, they can actually hear very well.
It takes the cooperation of your spouse to do so, but once I realized this, I started reading to my son. You could try to have conversations or whatever with the belly, but I honestly felt weird doing that. Since I love to read, we decided that would be a good approach. And no, you don’t have to read those boring baby books just because it’s a baby. I tried to read through a chapter of The Chronicles of Narnia about 2-3 times a week.
What I learned is that when my son was born, my voice was actually calming to him. No, not the voice most people use to talk to babies – I personally don’t get that. I used my everyday, talking to a person voice. Doing so while he was still in the womb comforts him when I’m around now as he knows my voice.
2. Sacrifice Is Necessary
As a new parent you will sacrifice something. There is someone new in your life that will be very demanding of your time and attention. It is inevitable.
What I didn’t realize though, was how much I would need to sacrifice. I knew sleep would diminish greatly. I knew time with my spouse would be hard to get for a while. I knew date nights would be difficult.
What I didn’t know was coming was this…
Work gets harder.
There are many times I would rather be at home, than working.
“ME” Time, gets put on pause.
When I say “ME” Time, I really mean time to myself. My stuff; reading, movies, my one TV show, and hobbies just aren’t that important for a bit. There is SO much to do when a baby comes. I had no idea the actual time commitment he would require – and I’m pretty sure we don’t have a hard baby.
There are moments when you don’t know what to do.
I love new challenges – only if I can solve them right the first time. With a baby, something works one day, then may never work again. They are constantly changing & growing and it’s amazing.
3. Love Your Wife
I feel like after almost 7 years of marriage, I learned how to love my wife. Did I do it well all the time – No! I fail at times just like the rest of us.
What I didn’t expect after my son came, is that I would have to re-learn, and fight for ways in which to love my wife. Her love language is quality-time, which in my opinion, is the hardest of the five to come by after a child comes into the home. It was easy to do things for her, to bring gifts home to her, or tell her she’s doing a great job. But finding time feels impossible.
I learned after the first time we had a couple of hours together (in which I didn’t handle so well), that I had to figure out how to love her how she is wired to receive love. This, and some other realizations, led into my Quitter Experiment. Basically, when I’m at home, I need to be At Home!
4. Want To Go Back
I imagine I’m not alone in saying this, but there are moments where I want to go back. I want to go back to the time before I had a baby and not do it. There are moments I want my ‘old’ life back. Where I had the freedom to look at my wife and say, let’s go to a movie tonight, or go for a run, or ________________.
It’s usually in the hardest of moments that I feel this way the strongest. Those moments when he is crying and I can’t figure out why or he’s awake and all I want to do is sleep. Sometimes it’s even selfish stuff – I’m the parent on duty at the time, and all I want to do is play in my shop.
But then he smiles. He rolls to his side or coos. He talks in his way and I make up a story to go with it. Last week, he learned to roll from his back to tummy. When I’m in these moments, the selfishness goes away. The desire for my ‘old’ life fades and I look forward to the future.
I Love Being a Dad
My son is only three months old at the time of this post. I’ve only been a dad for three months. And I love it. I wouldn’t dare trade my son for anything. I hope to continue learning and growing myself as he does. I hope to love my wife better now than I ever did. And I really hope, that when my son is an adult, I’ve taught him the value of being a good husband and dad.