My Life Began When You Were Born

I became a parent for the first time six years ago and my life changed overnight. I became the one thing I’d wanted to be for as long as I can remember. A dad.

But, I also changed as a person too. My life began on that day.

Becoming a dad at 37 was seven years ahead of the plan I had in my head growing up. But then life never really works out how you expect it to, does it?

What I’ve come to realise is how much I’ve changed – not just in becoming a parent responsible for another human, but in myself as a person. I was a painfully shy kid growing up and my time in school wasn’t brilliant. Don’t get my wrong, it wasn’t overly bad either. I did pretty well academically and I had a decent set of friends. But I didn’t particularly excel at anything, whether it was socially, academically or sporting related. I was also bullied, mentally more than physically. The scars are still there.

Since becoming a dad my confidence seems to have grown exponentially and I’m now so much more comfortable in both social and work situations. I’m no longer that guy who keeps his head down and avoids eye contact and the dad who ends up playing with all my daughter’s friends at birthday parties. I’m the person who now can hold a random conversation with a complete stranger relatively easily. I smile more and make a point of being polite to the people I interact with. Being nice has always been my mantra. Confidence hasn’t. Until now.

I’ve changed, not just in becoming a parent responsible for another human being, but in myself as a person.

My attitude towards health and general wellbeing has also improved. I wrote about this in a blog post a while ago and have now added a press-up challenge to the mix which I’m still doing now. This has all happened since my daughter came into my life.

I’m by no means perfect or the finished article. I still overthink way too much and I’m still prone to bouts of anxiety. I still embarrass easily when put under pressure in certain situations. But all of this evaporates when I’m with my daughter and we’re having one of our many daddy-daughter moments.

Before becoming a dad I was “Mr Social Organiser”. I’ve been told a number of times in the past that I’ve been too nice and have been taking advantage of as a result. No more. It’s noticeable how my social life has changed now I’m not the one constantly making the effort.

I have an theory on this. In every social group there are the people who make the effort to keep in touch and the people that don’t. That’s just the way it is. That doesn’t necessarily mean some are more considerate than others. It just means people have a certain roll to play within a group. But there’s a line.

Currently, for me, that line is a bit blurred. I’m at a stage where I know I have the most important people around me and I don’t worry about the rest. However, if those I’ve lost touch with come back into my life there’ll be welcomed with open arms.

I just won’t be doing the running any more.

This article was previously published on OneDadsView, a parenting blog about one father’s life as a working dad to a 6-year-old daughter “iBear”, and has been republished with permission.


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