7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Dad

Monday, 21 September 2020

We cannot really predict the future, nonetheless, here are seven of the things that I wished I knew before I became a dad.

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Fatherhood is one chapter in my life that I looked forward to with much eagerness. As such, I prepared for it as much as I can by asking my friends and colleagues for tips and recommendations about pretty much anything parenting-related. 

7 Things I wish I knew before becoming a dad

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Dad

    Parenting is dynamic 


    When I finally became a father, it was a completely life-changing experience that had made me brimming with happiness. However, nothing can really prepare you for fatherhood (or parenthood, for that matter) in spite of all the groundwork or your supposed readiness for it. What I just mean is that parenting is dynamic. 

    You can equip yourself with the technical skills and knowledge but you will more often rely on your instinct. You will realize that fatherhood is an evolving experience. 

    Realizations I wished I prepared myself for 


    I never realized how idealistic I still was until I became a parent. You see, even before Khris and I were planning on having children, I already had a clear picture in my head of what I want to be or how I should be as a father. 

    A silhouette of a father and his baby
    Photo by Josh Willink from Pexels

    Of course, like any well-meaning parent who is full of dreams for his children, I had an endless list of things that I want for my children. However, things don’t always turn out the way we wanted them to be. 

    As a matter of fact, we may even get the exact opposite of what we envision to be. Our ideals will change; some may shock us but, in the end, the readiness and willingness to accept is the key. 

    Here are some of my realizations that I wished I knew beforehand: 

    1. Your child will not always turn out as you'd expect them to 


    Your child is like a present wrapped in the packaging of several layers. 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. There are factors that are beyond our control, no matter how society dictates it. 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 many things that are bound to happen in the future. Again, readiness and acceptance are the keys. 

    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 were 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. 

    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 want from them what we want 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 yearning in us to pursue our goals. However, we should also know or learn when to let go. 

    A dad holding his tiny baby's hand
    Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

    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. 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. 

    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 to deal with 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. 

    I had to forego attending events before because my wife was pregnant and I cannot risk being not by her side when something untoward happened. 

    On the other hand, that does not mean that I am letting go of my dreams. This 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 rest? 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 rest from time to time. A trip to the mall perhaps? Or cooking something good at home? Those are things that re-energize us. 

    Little baby shoes and clothes
    Photo courtesy of pexels.com

    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. 

    Epilogue 


    Those are the seven things that I wish I knew before becoming a father. Don’t get me wrong, I completely enjoy every aspect of fatherhood. My family is of the utmost importance to me. It’s just that there were some things that shocked me or caused a lot of concern but that’s just about it. 

    Come to think about it, we cannot really predict what will happen in the future but we can prepare ourselves for the many realities that we will face.

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