As a new father approaching my first Father’s Day, I have been reflecting on the past 5 months. My first child, a son, was born on Dec 22 2021, since then life has changed in so many ways.
Parenthood is a often a crash course that no life experience or advice can really prepare you for. While I’ve seen the impact of fatherhood in my client’s lives, there’s nothing like first hand experience. In a moment, priorities and plans are forever altered. It would take entirely too long to explain the changes in detail so I’ll attempt to sum up what I have learned in the last 5 months with a short list.
5 Reflections before My First Fathers Day
- When people hear you are going to be a father everyone has advice and honestly most of it sucks. People are quick to tell what you should do or what you should never do. They tell you it will be wonderful. Then they tell you which stage of life was “the best” and which was “the worst.” The best and most truthful advice I got was this: “there is something awesome and something challenging about every stage of life, just enjoy it.” I could not agree more and I will pass this advice along to all new fathers I meet.
- A healthy marriage to the right person makes life much easier, especially when raising children. Watching my wife become a mother has been an incredible experience and has further confirmed that I picked well.
- Becoming a father has exposed me to a level of joy and love I did no know was possible. A close friend of mine said for years “It is impossible to love another human being as much as you love your kids.” I was skeptical of this for a long time, but now that I am a father I totally agree with this statement.
- While being filled with excitement, joy, and laughter, fatherhood is also scary and confusing. There is no way to prepare for the realization that hits you on the ride home from the hospital with a new life in the back seat, whose sole existence relies on your ability to make good decisions. Also, I find that on a regular basis I am filled with more questions than answers as to what is the best decision for my family.
- Parenting is not a spectator sport! It is active, involved and constant. Being physically present is not enough, we need to be mentally and emotionally present as well.
As a therapist I get to see firsthand the impact fathers have on their children and trust me, it has an impact.
TRIGGER WARNING: If you don’t want to be challenged, stop reading.
I want you to take just a second and think about your father’s voice. What do you hear? Is it kind and encouraging? Or angry and demeaning? Whatever it is shapes how you see yourself and how you see the world around you. Then ask yourself what will my children hear when they think about my voice. This is my gauge for how I am doing as a parent. If my voice to my son is something I can be proud of then I am doing it right, and If I am ashamed, I need to make some changes in how I interact with him.
Becoming a father is the greatest experience in my life thus far. It has introduced me to a version of myself that I did not know was possible. It has given me the power to make changes in my life that needed to happen for a long time. My son gave me this gift and I will treat him accordingly.