Everyone talks about how becoming a parent makes you different, how you will never be the same after having a child. In my circle of friends, I heard it would be the end of my life, as I knew it. What I found was that nothing I was told was true. In fact, I found so much more life after having children than I had when I was single.
The first change I noticed was that my focus shifted from myself to my kids. I no longer cared about only myself. My focus shifted to my family, specifically my children. Knowing that I was this little person’s only hope at survival made everything else melt away into nothing.
Because my focus shifted, I started to gain self-confidence. Ina sense, I needed to have that confidence in order to survive and defend my family. Without that inner drive to push past life’s more resistant obstacles, our family would have never lasted. We would have crumbled, leaving our children without any hope of a stable future.
Sadly, not everyone thought my decisions were wise. Having already expressed disgust over my choice of a bride, my decision to have children was met with even stronger, negative emotions. Eventually, long-held friendships had to be severed for the sake of my own sanity and my family’s emotional well-being. As unsavory as it was, the decision to sever the relationships were for the best. Since both of my children are special needs children, I do not believe those fragile friendships would have survived the hardships that come with special needs kids.
After being a parent for a number of years, my view of other parents changed. I started to understand why my parents made the decisions they made, whether I agreed with them or not. I began to understand how certain parents could become overwhelmed with their children and why grandparents are so incredibly relax around their grandchildren. I also had much less patience for those who did not take responsibility for their children.
Ultimately, becoming a parent gave me a reason to keep fighting. I felt many times like giving up on my career goals or my dreams. What kept me driven was knowing how those decisions would affect my children. I love them too deeply to let them have a fatherly example of someone who gives up when put under pressure.