It wasn’t until we actually had Isabelle that I realised what I had gotten myself into. I always knew it would be difficult. But I guess I didn’t think just how much of a 24/7 job it was going to be. Yes, you can choose to bottlefeed, and therefore hand your baby off for a few hours and regain the freedom you once had. But we, or more accurately, my wife, chose to breastfeed, and inadvertently we’ve gone down the attachment parenting style, making this a far more demanding job than I ever thought it would be.
But this weekend, as many of you might have noticed, saw the much anticipated fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. 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 single-life freedom that always seems appealing, 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. I accept my limitations with a warm embrace.
And as I’ve introduced Isabelle into my life, I’ve realised that I have four simple words to keep me in focus:
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 what you are now limited to. 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 are now 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.