Everyone tells you that your life will change once you become a parent. If you ask about specifics though, you won’t get too many details about exactly how it will be different. Most friends and family members will just give a sly smile, put a reassuring hand on your shoulder and say, “You’ll see”.
Well, I want to share 9 ways that my life changed since becoming a new dad so that it may help you in your transition to fatherhood.
…and if you are about to become a dad and want to know MORE, check out my NEW DAD COURSES.
1) I talk about poop a lot
I had no idea that poop would become a daily conversation topic when I became a dad. I am continually surprised at how much time is spent on the questions: “Did he poop?” “How much did he poop?” “What color was it? “What was the consistency like?”, etc.
My life would be a lot easier if my son could learn how to update his “PoopBook” status on his own so I could just “Like” or add in an appropriate emoticon in the Comments section (photo updates would be blocked however).
2) I don’t sleep much
I was told about this one before my son was born. But I have a whole new appreciation for how significant this part of parenting really is now that it’s my reality.
Sleep deprivation is devastating. I can’t remember what waking up feeling rested feels like anymore. Gravity seems to be turned up to ‘11’ around my eyelids and I can’t figure out who keeps switching my coffee to decaf all the time. Either that or coffee just doesn’t work anymore.
My advice is to bank as much sleep as you can before your baby arrives because you’ll need it. I’m told I’ll feel rested again once he’s older and sleeping through the night. That day can’t come too soon.
3) I don’t eat hot meals anymore
Sitting down together as a family for dinner must be something done later on in life because right now, a warm meal set down on a table is just a signal for my son to start crying. I don’t know how he knows the exact moment when our meals are ready to eat, but he does. And I don’t know why our ready-to-eat meals seem to upset him so much, but they do.
The inventor of the microwave must have gotten the idea for it during their first days as a parent. I don’t use a microwave much myself, but I’ve now added “reheating new parents’ meals” to my short list of uses along with being a good popcorn maker and a convenient kitchen clock.
4) I eat too quickly
Regardless of the temperature of the meal, I find myself wolfing down my food nowadays. It’s a combination of the fear that #3 might happen at any moment and the feeling that if there’s time to eat, there’s time to do any one of the dozens of clean-up chores that need to be done (see #5) and I’d better get to it ASAP. I joke that my son eats way better than I do. I guess that’s part of the “changed priorities” of parenthood that everyone told me about.
5) I spend a lot of time cleaning up
Every time I was told how much cleaning I would be doing as a parent, in the back of my mind I always thought, “How much of a mess could a little baby create anyway?”
Well, turns out I have a really messy baby, because when I’m not talking about poop, all I seem to be doing is washing everything in sight: bottles, dishes, clothes, countertops, floors, chairs, toys, faces, hands, etc.
Oh, and there is no “done”. The job of cleaning up when you have a child feels like playing “Whack-a-Mole” with someone feeding an endless supply of quarters into the game slot.
6) I see my parents much more often
This is a huge positive even though the front half of this list has been complaints. This is their first grandchild and I really had no idea how much joy this little guy would bring to them. My mom drives down from LA every week to watch my son for a day. I’m grateful for the help, but as my mom reminds me, “I’m not doing this for you. I’m doing this so I can spend time with my grandson!”
7) I have a shorter fuse
AND 8) I’m more patient at the same time
This is a weird one for me. On one hand, the sleep deprivation has made me much less tolerant of time, money and energy wasters, and while I still would describe myself as pretty easy-going, I now don’t put up with as much as I used to. Parenting is focusing for sure. I just don’t have the bandwidth to waste it on stuff that doesn’t really matter.
But on the other hand, seeing how my son experiences everything in this world as brand new, slows me down and makes the world brand new for me as well. This is probably the greatest gift I’ve been given since becoming a dad. Watching the bugs walk across the sidewalk, opening and closing cabinet doors over and over again and even simply rolling a ball down the hallway have become peaceful, content moments for me again because to my son, in that moment, these things are magical to him.
9) I think of the future differently
I’ve never been accused of being a selfish person, but since I became a dad, my priorities have certainly changed. Now I ask myself “WWBBFMC?” = What Would Be Best For My Child?
This question makes me buy more insurance to protect my family. It inspires me to communicate better with family members when there’s an upset so harmony is restored. It is now calling me to stretch my body more so I can play with him on the floor more comfortably and therefore, for longer with him.
I’ve found “WWBBFMC?” to be an incredibly powerful, humbling, grounding and simplifying addition to my life. All because of my son, who has been the most powerful, humbling, grounding, simplifying and loving addition to my life by far, when he made me a Dad.