When my first child was born, I had no idea what my life was going to be like. I had advice from other people, lots of advice, and stories of how they changed and the emotions that came along with the changes. I was in for a wonderful awakening.
The very minute I held our baby in my arms in that hospital room, I was awash in emotion and the evolution of a young man into something else… a father, a parent. In those moments, while I introduced myself politely and baptized our child in my tears of joy, everything changed.
These five ways my life changed are all for the good, even though they may not seem like it at times. I would not trade being a parent for anything.
Starting from day one, I knew that my time was no longer mine, or my wife’s and mine. I had aspirations of getting so much done around the house while I was on paternity leave. None of it happened. And even now, as my children are growing, I find that most of my time is spent with them, on them or for them. When I do get time to myself, I want to spend it with my wife, or with the family, because that is truly where my heart is. That, is the number one way my life changed after I became a parent, but not the most important.
You remember the times when you could get up on a Saturday and stay in your pajamas all day long, watching television and doing what you wanted to do? Once you have children that all changes. But that’s just fine with me.
I can’t remember the last time I slept until 10 a.m. on a Saturday. Now I wake up early, either to make breakfast, spend time with my boys or get to the grocery before it gets crowded. And it’s just fine with me.
When I was younger, I was focused on my career. I wanted to be the best, the brightest, the most valuable to the company. Everything I did revolved around my job, and I rarely took vacation without having some tie to my work. When I became a parent, I shifted my priorities to my family, and my career took a back seat. I realized that, when I die, no one is going to do a eulogy on how great of a Project Manager I was.
This one is interesting. I used to pride myself on being well dressed, groomed and having my finger on the pulse of technology and current events. Now, my pride is in my children, their achievements and making them smile. I will frequently walk around with baby drool on my shirt and worry more about our youngest having a clean bib than changing my own shirt before church. My wife and I share this and laugh from time to time at how we typically have matching stains.
And my number five, and yet the most important way my life changed when I became a parent is:
I love my wife. If you read some of my other articles you will see that reflected time and time again. Our children taught us the love that a child has for their parents. We are their heroes. When I see the way that our children view my wife and I, it is a different kind of unconditional love. There is no place on Earth I would rather be than at home, with my wife, and under a pile of my kids, all laughing and having a good time. That is my sanctuary.