The transition was jarring to say the least. One minute I'm scheming about ways to spend the minimum amount of time to get the maximum pity, and the next I'm brushing aside any tired feelings to re-assure my offspring that playing with the black flashlight with the black button is DEFINITELY going to happen. For the record, I had no idea what he's talking about.
Something which constantly passed in one ear and out the other while my better half was pregnant was that your life becomes about your kids when you're a parent. You become their role model. I didn't understand what that meant until recently - well into my first child's life. I kinda thought I could just do stuff that I always did, but I'd have to do it while not around them. Reality check - they're always around, and when they're not physically around, the things you do still absolutely affect them. Selfishly, this kinda sucks, as it means I have to be a role model 24x7, which is super tiring. Also selfishly, it's cool to see the good stuff I do echoed in another human being. It's humbling and depressing to see the bad stuff echoed, so it's an excellent behaviour modification process. I was never a super bad dude, I was always kinda boring, and I liked it that way. Now I'm like bland... bland stuff. See, even my imagination is bland!
Overall, I'm better off now psychologically than I have ever been to my memory. With less time for introspection (and sleeping), I feel like I know myself better now than I ever have. Weird and backwards sounding, eh? My wife is amazing, and is keeping the house together completely. I'm just along for the ride, and helping when I can. I want to do more, but we're in a place where if I do more, I'll be an awful person (sleep deprivation makes me into Mr. Hyde).
Here are three positive (I think) things that have changed in my life since becoming a parent:
- I'm less of a risk taker. That makes it sound like a daredevil, but in reality, When offered insurance in the past, I literally said "why gamble on something like that?". Now, I'm clambering to sign on the dotted line if it means an iota of security and well-being. Chalk it up to self-worth, or knowing that I'm worth something - either way = awesome.
- I don't need as much to get me to sleep. I used to require that I go to bed, think about the day, process it, zone out for a bit, and then I'd sleep. If I got up in the middle of the night, I had to start the whole process over again. Now I just go to sleep. If I'm up for 5 minutes, and can go back to sleep, I do. My dad has the same ability, and my jealousness of it is over.
- I'm less of a gossip. I used to kinda thrive on the trials and tribulations of other peoples' lives, both thinking and talking about them. I'm glad to not do this one anymore. Wasted energy.
Here are two negative things that have changed, but they might flip back into my parenting life:
- I don't watch many movies anymore - they're too long. I feel old, but I worry about falling asleep, and I'll miss all the awesomeness that is film. Very sad.
- I don't play video games anymore, as they require too much attention - mental and physical attention. Based on past experience this will change, but I'm ok with it now - an acceptable tactical loss.
- Television viewing - the times have changed, but we still watch what we used to watch, just after bedtime.
- When driving, I still speed, but when my kids are old enough to read the speedometer this habit's gotta go.
Overall, we all win. Thank you kids, you're shaping me into a better adult, while I strive to shape you into good people! Yay!