You get the special news that you are expecting and an immense jolt of excitement and love pours through your body. You are about to embark on “literally” an adventure of a lifetime and have no clue where to start. Sorry guys, no owners manual here (psshh, as if we were to use it anyways). As the months lead up to the expected arrival date, anxiety builds, fear grows and happiness will soon take over.
Men, you will question everything about your abilities, it’s okay. Enter this new journey knowing that you will not start off where you need to be, but will grow in your abilities and knowledge with the new experiences you face. You’re a redshirt freshman coming off the bench under the lights in your hometown; you’ve got this. 🙂
As you embark on this journey, keep this in perspective. As a father, you are your family’s anchor, the piece to keep all things grounded, stable and steady. When a storm approaches, you may be rocked and pushed, but always holding on, extending reach to keep things from over turning. During the times of peace, you will sit steadily, protecting and ensuring no one will go astray.
When the day arrives to meet your sweet little boy or girl, all the questions and doubts you had are irrelevant. There is little room in life for doubt, only for the immense love of a complete stranger(s). Over the coming days, months and years, you will experience a roller coaster of emotions and new realities, you will question yourself constantly, but I can assure you, that it’s all worth it.
Your “me” time is going to disappear from your schedule, but it’s all worth it.
Some sink into video games and some go to golf league, however, when becoming a father, much of that will expire. Don’t get me wrong, “me” time is essential for everyone and you should do your best to squeeze some in when you can. While you may miss a few weeks of shooting that 60 and slugging back a few brewskies, I can assure you that it is all worth it as you watch your boy or girl pummel some balls into a soccer net, conquer their fears of crawling through the mysterious tunnel or seeing them develop as a leader in their after school program.
You will learn to live and function on a very minimal amount of sleep, but it’s all worth it.
Between the late night feedings, cries for help over a monster under the bed, calls over a break up or staying up late to knock out work projects for a little extra money, you will learn to build mental toughness and survive on smaller amounts of sleep. You will experience what I call “the fog” and will find yourself pounding excessive amounts of coffee to get through the days. The struggle and grind is real, but it’s all worth it knowing that you defeated a monster, comforted your child, and provided for their immediate needs.
Your marriage will change, it will be tested and things may get tough, but it’s all worth it.
Let’s face it, you are no longer number 2, 3 or 4 for that matter. Affection may become dry, you will long to find each other in the midst of exhaustion and fogginess. This exhaustion causes irritability on each side that creates tension regardless of any situation. Your wife may be more concerned about your kids welfare over your own and sometimes that can be tough to swallow taking the back seat. You may feel like this period of your marriage is tough, but focus on small special moments to show compassion and love to one another. Know that your love is greater than anything that you will face. This is only a season, and when the season passes, you will have a new incredible bond and love with your wife that will even go unmatched to the days of when you first began dating. Trust me, it will be worth it.
You will be seen as a superhero, and dang right, it’s worth it.
Seriously, when will anyone ever see you again as a superhero? With great power comes great responsibility and children truly believe their parents have superpowers. They look up to you, mimic you and want to talk and be just like you. In everything you do, you set an ongoing example through your actions and words. We will fail at times like everyone else (no one is perfect), and they will get hurt. Use this time to provide great lessons for them to learn from and give them an opportunity to grasp onto a story they can share and remember. Continue to set out and be a great example for your kids daily, but don’t let the pressures of being perfect overwhelm you, that’s for spider man. Love their mother and show them how a woman should be treated.
As life moves on, you will watch your baby boy or girl grow into an adult, start a career, a family and pursue their dreams giving you some of the most incredible memories. Embrace them, hold on to them, put down your phone and capture the picture mentally, so that you can always hold onto them. The changes and new realities of the past will not even be a blip on the radar any more. You and your spouse, family and friends will determine the direct success of the life of your child. There is no sacrifice that I wouldn’t face to allow for our kids the greatest life in the most crazy world we live in.
I encourage you, practice selflessness, patience, forgiveness and most importantly love. As you look back on the changes you made in your life raising your family, you will see no comparison to the outcome, and that my friend makes it all worth it.
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