As a New Dad, Are You Afraid of Losing Your Independence? Don’t Be.
If there’s one thing I understand, it’s how terrifying it can be when you think about the possibility of losing your independence. After all, it’s what makes us unique and defines who we are in this great big world. One thing I learned, however, is that becoming a dad may FEEL like you’re losing your independence, where in reality, you’re just redefining it.
True independence is nothing more than the freedom to make your own choices. As a dad, I’ve learned that this is one of the most important things you can instill in your kids by teaching them age-appropriate means to take the reins. My own life choices have helped create the perfect teacher in shaping younger children's minds by sharing those same experiences in my life. Nothing has changed; I still make decisions freely with an asterisk that says: Remember, you have kids now!
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone, Take This!
One thing being a dad has taught me is how lonely pre-responsibility I was. Sure, I could do whatever I wanted, no wife to answer to, no children to consider before making a spur of the moment decision; In reality, I had no one of value to share the experiences with. It was me against the open road, and had it not been for this new “character development” point in my life where I unlocked the achievement of becoming a father. I wouldn’t understand the value that this unique point of view adds to the quality of life.
Your kids follow in your footsteps, watching, listening, learning, and absorbing every little thing you share with them. They get excited to learn from you and with you. It’s like having an impressionable shadow that follows you around, taking in the experiences you were willing to share with them.
It’s not forced at all; they’re not being dragged into something they don’t want to participate in. Children genuinely enjoy any moment that you’re willing to share with them, and you’ll gain the benefit of never having to do it alone; Whatever it is.
Unconditional Love Meets Companionship
I’ve learned that the best part of being a father is less about me and more about fostering a healthy love for learning with your children. I’ve realized, unlike parents of past generations, it’s okay to admit to your children that you don’t always know best or have the answer to all of life’s questions.
It’s about admitting you and your child are learning together, growing not only your relationship but also shaping how they take in information. Of course, there will always be situations where you are the parent, and you know best, but generally speaking, it’s okay to find out new things together. Approaching this role with the right mindset is probably one of the most important things I’ve found you can do.
With the right approach, you’ll help your child discover their passions and what they enjoy doing most. You’ll help them discover early in life what it is they love doing, which is huge because I know adults who still don’t know what it is that drives them. All it takes is an open mind and a willingness to learn, and you and your child will learn and grow together as an unstoppable team.
Yes, This New Found Responsibility can Feel Suffocating
Coming into this new world of responsibility for the safety and well-being of another human being much smaller than yourself is absolutely an anxiety-inducing concept. If you’re like me, you’re asking yourself this exact question:
How can I be expected to take care of another person when I can barely
take care of myself?
Take it from me: Aside from a slightly elevated level of attention required by being a dad, not much is going to change. Develop better habits on the fly, take in all the available information and knowledge a new dad can, and be willing to ask for help when you need it; That’s all there really is to it.
I remember first becoming a dad, a feeling like I was totally out of place for this new leading role I was expected to overperform in. It was like standing in a pool where the water rests just underneath your nose, making it difficult to keep your head above it in choppy water. Looking back, I feel like a veteran dad who’s seen his fair share of war and famine, and in reality, it wasn’t so difficult.
You’ll learn ways to deal with new situations as they come, and with so much information available on the internet these days, you can always reach out to any source or person for a second opinion. My advice is this: Don’t panic; it’s not as bad as your brain is making you feel like it’s going to be. The enjoyment you’ll get from being a dad will heavily outweigh any initial fears you have in both the short- and long-term periods.