I always knew becoming a parent would be a huge life changing event. I believe that’s what you call stating the obvious. There was always going to be limitations. But I didn’t give much thought to just how much of a non-stop thing parenting was actually going to be. For some rather silly reason I just naturally assumed that I would still have plenty of free time and the freedom to do whatever I wanted. Pfft! Like F**K!
But like many other new parents, I’ve quickly realised that the life I used to be able to live is no longer available to me. I could resist it and try to cling on to what once was, or I could accept my limitations and embrace my new role as a father. As you might be able to guess from the title, I’ve chosen to go with the latter.
Before and After Becoming a New Parent
I’ve been a little more thoughtful about my life as a new parent recently due to one reason. Conor McGregor. Wait, what?
Yes. Conor McGregor. As many of you might have noticed, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor had a little boxing match. It was only the most talked about sporting event of the year. And it was something that before we had Isabelle we would have easily either stayed up and watched, or gone out and had a few drinks and ended up in a random hotel.
But since we now have a four month old, we can’t. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. It did. The idea of everyone out with their friends watching a sporting moment like that was something I was gutted that I missed. But whilst it still bothered me, it didn’t bother me quite as much as it might have before. All I did was acknowledge that I felt a little gutted, and simply looked at what I had instead.
It’s always easy to look at what you’re missing out on. There’s so much going on in the world, and so many examples of someone having something seemingly better, that it’s incredibly easy to look past what you have. I might not have the freedom we once had, disposable income to go wild with and hundreds of friends waiting to go out and party. But what I have instead is a wife who shares the biggest mutual love I’ll ever know, and a daughter who smiles and laughs every morning she sees me. When I put it like that, I have everything I’ll ever need right here.
Accepting My Limitations
I accept my limitations with a warm embrace. Becoming a parent has obviously limited what I am able to do in life. And I’m ok with that. When it comes to being a new parent, there are four simple words that will never do you wrong:
Let it change you. It really is that simple. Let yourself become the person who’s in bed at 9pm on a Friday night reading Harry Potter to a baby who does’t even know what Quiditch is. Become the person who joyfully cleans an exploded nappy at the M4 services. Accept your limitations as a new parent.
Yes, you can’t go out and get hammered on the weekend, or waste £980 on a lifesize bust of Deadpool (contact me if you wish to buy that for me). But now you’re something else. And what you’ve become is something far greater than what you were before. This is an amazing journey, and the sooner I told myself to let it change me, the sooner I embraced it and started loving it a whole lot more. Well, at least most of the time.
You Don’t Have to Throw All of Your Old Life Away
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like when you become a parent your old life is gone for good. You can still do some of the things you used to do. If you’re happy leaving your baby quite a lot then you don’t even have to miss much of a beat. Of course you can still go out and party if you want to leave a baby with some relatives for the weekend. But this isn’t something we’ve chosen to do.
Everyone’s different when it comes to parenting, and everyone has to do what works for them. I’d never judge a parent for leaving their baby so they can go out and party. If that’s what helps you mentally then do that. As for us, we’re happy to let our lives change in the ways that it has. Can I say I’ll always be happy in the fact that I’m a parent with tied responsibilities? No chance. But the vast majority of the time I’m happy to accept my limitations as a parent.