Becoming a father for the first time is usually met with excitement – but often with overwhelming dread about the life you will inevitably give up and ALL the sacrifices that will bang on the door of your tomorrow. And while there is some truth to a lifestyle change, being a father does not mean that you have to forfeit ALL the things you enjoy for the rest of your life. There is absolutely room for you in your life. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
When my wife told me that we were pregnant – and after we found out we’d be having a son - there was an idea in my head that looked like this:
Before Fatherhood = Freedom.
After Fatherhood – Servitude.
I feared that the above tenet was true – because hand over fist – as soon as someone found out my wife and I were expecting – they would take great joy in telling me about the fearsome “boot camp” I was about to embark on, a boot camp they barely survived, and one I was getting locked into.
This pissed me off. A lot.
The reason why it got under my skin so much was because it felt like they were happy to give me the bad news. Under the guise of advice, it felt like I was being hazed. “Kiss your sleep goodbye!” or “I hope you enjoyed your life, because it’s over now bro!” All of this was said with a big smile on their face, which was menacing and unacceptable. People like this are fucking demented and if you let them inside your head with thoughts of doom you will end up living a life of doom.
I’m here to tell you: You are not doomed in Fatherhood.
You are still allowed to be the person you are today. The only caveat, is that you’ll have to inject more discipline into your life. Things that make you happy don’t have to be forfeited, you are not required to club happiness into submission in order to be a good Dad. You don’t have to eliminate every secret stash of happiness (watching the game, having some drinks, sleep, etc) in order to fit the mythical role of subdued fat dad.
However, you will need to make some strategic adjustments. You will have to re-set your routine. You will have to harden your willpower and clearly envision what type of life it is you want to live.
It is easy to surrender your happiness. You can be the victim of servitude if you allow a punitive perspective to take over. Or you can rage against it. You can find workarounds. There is an escape, if you really want it. There is a savage within you. A Spartan. A warrior that has the strength and endurance to shape his life from malleable fear into hardened happiness.
He’s in there, we just have to find him. (I'll show you in part 2)