Becoming a dad is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The end.
Really though, it actually is. Okay, I’ll elaborate. I was lucky that, for me, becoming a father was a considered decision which my wife and I had made together at a time that we were certain we ‘were ready’. Are you really ever ready though? Is there ever a ‘perfect time’ to make that decision? There’s always something in your life that could potentially persuade you to wait longer to make a decision that size; your age, your health, the effect it will have on work/socialising/money/hobbies etc. etc. Sacrifices you will have to make. Change is daunting. Becoming a parent certainly brings a hell of a lot of change.
It turns out that actually we were ready, just about as ready as we could be. We were married, we’d moved into our second home together (large enough to house kids without them living on our faces), we had enjoyed living a foot-loose and fancy free and (very) social life for some time and were ready for the next phase. The serious family phase! Plus we had been the parents of a crazy little Shih Tzu called Vinnie for three years already so we were basically now fully qualified to parent kids! How hard could it be? The main reason we were ready though is because this is what we wanted. We wanted a family. We wanted to have our own little creations; half Sam and half Emma!
The reality though is that nothing can prepare you for becoming a parent. Not even something as complex as looking after what you believe to be a ‘demanding’ dog for a few years. It is still a dog. It is not as demanding as you think it might be. Ultimately if push came to shove it could look after itself to a certain degree. Sure, you have to feed it and you have to walk it and yes it does depend on you somewhat. However, dogs are born with a built-in survival instinct, and no matter how much of a soft and fluffy house pet they are, they will generally find a way to survive. Yeah babies don’t have that. Babies rely 100% on their parents. This was the thing that I found most daunting during Emma’s pregnancy; facing this oncoming responsibility. To me, the prospect of being a dad would almost certainly transpire as being completely and utterly responsible for a tiny, helpless human. And honestly, this scared the shit out of me. Of course, deep down, I was confident that Emma and I were both mature (ish) enough, intelligent (ish) enough and able (ish) enough to adapt our care free lives and evolve into a world of parenthood. We would be able to work it all out and we would do it together. If we didn’t truly believe this then we honestly wouldn’t have made the decision to start a family. So, the decision had been made… we were going to start a real-life proper family! We were to become Mum and Dad!
Now carrying a baby is obviously an absolutely huge deal for a woman. I mean, Duh! It is a completely life changing event and it really is amazing what our women go through to enable us to have kids. All dads salute mums! We just do. They are inspiring! Clearly the changes for men are not the same, not so extreme, no physical changes to your body (unless, like me, you join your pregnant wife in eating for two and go up a couple of dress sizes yourself; I’m still trying to shift the baby weight FFS). One thing it is, however, for us dads-to-be, is a mental rollercoaster of mixed emotions. Well at least it was for this particular dad-to-be. Complete and utter excitement and anticipation like I’d never experienced before was combined with a huge amount of apprehension and a massive fear of the unknown, again, like I’d never experienced before. This time for me was an emotional hybrid of feelings that I had not had together at the same time before and it was just plain odd. Personally though, I found that the closer we got to the due date, the more I found myself swinging towards the excitement and gradually the fear was fading.
That is, until the main event. The big day. The birth. The big arrival. At this moment it all changed. This was the moment of clarity for me. I had spent the entire labour by Emma’s side, I was both utterly mind-blown at what I was witnessing and in complete awe of what she had just gone through. It wasn’t shock; it was an overwhelming sense of pride and respect. It was admiration, complete and utter admiration. She fucking smashed it! Of course she did!
Seeing my first son for the first time was a complete game changer. There was no more fear, no more apprehension, not a single concern. Just love. Love I’d never felt before. Probably the purest of pure love. He was incredible. He was perfect. He was ours. Our amazing, tiny little baby boy. Our son. Suddenly nothing else in the world mattered. He was everything!
This feeling has never changed. Even now, three years later and with another amazing, incredible and perfect son, they are absolutely everything. Along with their mum, they are my entire world. Life goes on after kids. The same things you needed to do before kids you still need to do after kids. Sure, there is a lot of change. We all know about all the clichés that kids bring; less sleep, more money being spent, the teething, the crying, the nappy changes, the feeding. The endless list of things. Usually perceived as ‘negative’ things. Why are they negative though? They’re not easy things to deal with, particularly things like teething and inconsolable crying. Of course they’re not easy. Seeing your child distressed and screaming is horrible, utterly horrendous . The worst. But it is part of it. It is part of becoming a parent. You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. Nothing worth having is easy to have. The tough times are all forgotten though when they look at you and gurgle and coo with wide eyes and perfect little smiles. Or when they giggle as you try to dress them. The good outweighs any bad 1,000 times over. And some.
Above all though, the change that is most prominent for me is the unconditional love. The way my sons look at me. The way they need me. The way they love me. Nothing in the world compares to this. It is, in essence, the most perfect feeling you could ever imagine . It’s also two-way. My love for them is unconditional too. The love I have for them is probably even stronger than theirs for me. I’m not really able to put this feeling into words. I guess it’s just the best feeling imaginable, and then some. The ultimate sense of being. It makes you feel like you are in this world for this one single reason. To become a father.
My two boys have brought me constant joy and happiness every single day since the day they were born. They are both hilarious in their own ways. They make me laugh uncontrollably all the time. They constantly make me proud. They are always doing things that amaze me. They are always doing things that melt my heart. They have both become the most influential and inspiring people in my life and I can’t wait to continue to share every single milestone in their lives with the both of them.
Becoming a dad is the best thing that has ever happened to me.