What’s Life Like When you Become a Dad?
The other night on our GoodGuySwag online call, Brandon posed the question, “What’s life like when you become a dad?”
Gather around fellas…as I’ve written previously, new dads may awaken to realities no one ever told them about.
Becoming a dad is more fulfilling than your best dream…
…and possibly more terrifying than your greatest fear.
You don’t get to test the waters. You get home and…
The best way to describe it is when an explosion goes off in a movie: the scene slows to a turtle pace and becomes quiet with a slight ring, confusion…and then consciousness sets in accompanied by rapid movement, screams, despair, sirens, PTSD, and eyes glazed over yet filled with terror.
And then your baby calms, makes eye contact, coos, smiles (5 weeks later mind you)…and the greatest heavenly peace swells over you. You’re happy to do it all over again when chaos revives 20 minutes later.
You have a whole new respect for moms when you become a dad
Driving yesterday, a woman crossed in front of me at a stop sign with an infant AND a toddler. I would’ve never thought twice about this before. But in that moment, I bowed my head, raised my hand towards her, and prayed, “GOD BE WITH HER!”
I have a whole new respect for Kristen and my mom.
I don’t understand how my wife does it. She has such an intense love for our baby. While she has dreams and ambitious plans, she lays so much of her life down for Aurora. She rarely gets to do the things that give her life, so I jump in as often as I can, so she can have her space. A baby is all consuming.
Your social life goes ZAP!…gone
You have a new boss now. While you might believe this tiny being is rather tyrannical at times, you also willingly give absolute power to this creature who can somehow hold your gaze for hours.
While you don’t want the baby to have full control of your life, you also weigh the pros and cons it takes to prepare for any event outside of the home.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) disappears and is replaced by FOMM (Fear of Missing Moments)
At any given moment, your child might do something new and groundbreaking.
On Monday night I was at my men’s group. Aunt Kenzie came over and Aurora tried to repeat vowel sounds. This might sound inconsequential to you, but every moment of development is cause for celebration as a new parent.
If you were a germaphobe before…
….you become a full on hypochondriac.
I work in the medical field and find myself way more cautious around sick people. My hands are itchy as I write this because I seem to wash or use hand sanitizer way more frequently now.
If you were fashionably late before…
..you make it just in time before the event ends now.
Aurora is just 7 weeks old, but I’ve already lost count of the times we’re walking out the door and hear a diaper explosion or baby decides it’s feeding time.
Timing revolves around the diaper. Last night, I changed Aurora and debated whether I should bathe her or put on a diaper. She decided for me.
Showers and eating become luxuries when you become a dad
I’ve become a pro at whizzing and holding a baby simultaneously…my wife as well.
I lost 15 lbs in the first few weeks. The other night, I gave Kristen a night out with her friends. When she came, I handed her baby, and she asked, “Where are you going?”
“To the fridge!”
If you were stingy before…
You will tear baby wipes into four pieces.
You will attempt to rationalize changing the diaper.
You will check the price per ounce on everything at the grocery store because you are already contemplating college and future wedding costs for your daughter.
You spend more time with other new parents…
because you face the hard truth: you know nothing.
You are literally raising a life and you awaken to the harsh reality that a baby doesn’t sleep when you’d prefer, take a bottle on demand, or even naturally take a pacifier.
You have a million questions and Google is overwhelming…so wisdom from other new parents is priceless.
You become completely unaware of outside culture
Both of my sister in laws asked me why I wore a pair of cargo shorts out in public. “Probably because I became a dad.”
I have no idea what’s on TV, who’s in, what’s cool…I had no idea Twinkie ice cream is out!
Style, radio hits, TV shows, box office movies…suddenly I have no idea.
Going out to restaurants
…just forget it. Date night in a nutshell: Aurora carries this unique special power…the ability to wake up right when the food comes out. Then we take turns eating while the other strolls around the restaurant (between tables) burping a cranky baby.
Priorities shift when you become a dad
In Los Angeles, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race. Almost everyone is trying to prove something. However, I’ve found some great role models in a few local pastors who seem to care little about being insta famous.
Last week I met up with Aaron Crumbey, the LA pastor of Saddleback. He gave me some great advice I’ll never forget: prioritize family and that will take care of the rest. He has very defined boundaries and is more than willing to say ‘no’ to anything that takes away from his family.