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14 things nobody tells you about becoming a daddy

Posted October 19

Becoming a dad does not strip you of your freedom or end your social life, but it will completely change your life. (Deseret Photo)

Many things in life are thrilling and becoming a parent is definitely one of them. Even though by carrying and delivering the baby, the mother's body and life are completely impacted, but dads are intensely impacted as well. You might have to give up some things after you become a parent, but you will also gain many, many things.

Here are 14 things nobody tells you about becoming a daddy:

1. No matter what you do in the birth room, you can never do enough

The moments leading up to the birth of your child are plagued with angst about what could go wrong, and what you want to go right. After her water breaks and labor begins, it becomes clear that all you can do is offer as much support as possible, but you cannot really share in the rigor of childbirth.

2. Sleep is for the weak… or for a newborn

With a newborn in tow, you will be thrown from your usual sleeping patterns into an unpredictable array of naps. Your newborn, on the other hand, will also be following this erratic pattern, but it will meet their needs.

3. They will always let you know about their needs

From the moment a child is born, they do not hold back on expressing their needs. It is actually a reason for concern if they do not express their needs. In the initial stages, it is all about food, rest, and comfort, but even a baby does not hold back letting you know about their needs. This is one behavior that will not change as they grow into teenagers and adults.

4. Your children will challenge you

Children only become aware of the limits we teach them. Prior to that, there are no limits. They are concerned only with their wants and needs and will rarely consider how you feel about their behaviors. You will always find yourself constantly stopping your child from getting into things that they should not be getting into. Of course, children mature into teenagers and eventually adults, but they will challenge you at every stage.

5. You created a mini-you

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I notice the good and bad about myself in my children. I wonder if I am projecting my feelings, but family and friends usually confirm my personality traits in my children. Don’t be surprised if you get a call from the school about something your son did, because it was something you did in school that warranted a phone call home as well.

6. You realize that adults are just big kids

Your perspective on others does change. Adults metaphorically kick, scream and cry about the things they want, just as children do. The difference is adults have to take responsibility for their behaviors.

7. Your decision making changes

When you become a dad, there is less room for spontaneity. Going where the wind takes you is only suitable if that wind is taking the family. Even a spontaneous decision has to fit in with the family schedule.

8. You learn more through your children than you would without them

The majority of what we learn in life happens away from our desk. In the space of roughly two years, your child will go from being completely helpless to being able to run and share in conversation with you. Their rapid learning causes you to learn things that you would not be concerned with otherwise.

9. Your dad becomes your superhero again

Even though you might resent your parents for things they taught you, when you become a dad, all of a sudden you realize how you might have treated your parents differently as a child.

10. You become an unpaid referee

My children are always bickering over something: “I was sitting there.” “It’s my turn to choose the movie.” “I had it first.”

I always have to step in and settle things that they could have easily settled on their own.

11. You are either a big ‘softy’ or a big ‘meany’

With children, there is no middle ground. There is no place to negotiate. There is no collaboration. Either you give into their demands, or you are big ‘meany.’

12. You will compete with your children

Your children will detract a lot of attention from you. Your wife, your parents and your friends will generally pass their attention to your children. They will take the attention you have for yourself away from you because they take away a lot of personal time.

13. You get blamed for your children’s behavior

The way a child behaves is generally reflective of their experience at home. However, there are instances where your child might react in an unconventional manner. While this might surprise you, a passerby might think this is the child’s normal behavior and blame the parents.

14. Prepare to repeat everything you say

Your children taking you to the limit every chance they get will require them being disciplined each time, more times for repeated offences. Sometimes they just want to be reassured of your promises.

Gary is an economist and post-secondary educator. He graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He and his beautiful wife are stewards of four amazing children and founders of @LeadingandLove.

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