Before I became a father I placed a high, if not extreme, value on my time. If you messed with it, I was ready to fight. I had my hobbies and my vices, but my life didn't revolve around either. It was just that my time was simply that --- mine.
Upon learning of the inevitable arrival of a child into my life, I was initially resistant for all the obvious, "how will I afford/manage/handle this?" reasons and also because if kids require anything, they require time. Not only do they require it, they deserve it! I was faced with having to give up that which I consider priceless. This was my thinking before I had my children and instantly fell in love with them. Now that I'm a father with some years on me, I can barely remember what I was doing with all the time I had as a single, kid-free man.
I don't regret the "freedom" that I've traded for becoming a father. I've gained just as much in the process. The key is to get out of the mindset that being a parent, although a very real lifestyle change, will cramp your style. You may have to get creative in order to do the things you personally want to do while being Dad. But if and when possible, you can even include the kids in your experiences. They'll only love you more if you are able.
In losing my time, I've experienced the following:
- Being a protector, teacher and sage to my young daughter. Knowing when to hold her hand and when to let her do for herself.
These are just a few of the unexpected joys that have come my way since I became a father. They make the hard work of being a parent feel like a cakewalk most days. And on those challenging days when it's not so rosy I think of the joy, privilege and honor of it all, and then I'm okay.
Have some examples of your own unexpected joys? Please share.