Day 71: Changing your Lifestyle when You are a Parent

Today was a big milestone for us – our little guy turned 6 months!  It’s a big deal for a lot of reasons, and one is that from now on, things apparently go even faster with a child’s development.  I like tracking the development of the little guy; it is absolutely fascinating to see a little human learning such basic things for the first time.

I have been reflecting a lot on the last 6 months, and one thing is undeniable: having a child fundamentally changes your life.  Or, it should.  For me, I knew going into this “dad thing” that life as I knew it as a childless guy was not going to be the same.  I have talked to my wife about this a lot of times, and I think this is only considered a bad thing if you are trying to live the same lifestyle – for example, maybe if you want to go to bars every night, you will really find parenting a drag, or you will continue to try to live that lifestyle and will not be an involved parent.  There is nothing wrong with staying who you are, but I guess my point is that who you are should probably shift to involve the best for your family.

Yesterday, when we were looking for our new stroller, we were in a few different baby stores on Hong Kong island.  In these stores are numerous couples who are pregnant or with babies or small children.  1 year ago that would have been a version of hell to me –  a utopia of stuff that I had no interest in and no connection to (why should I if I do not have children?).  But now, as a dad that is involved in raising my child, I find these places as meccas of potential.  I heard a couple walk by and the guy said, “what are we doing here, I have to get going, the rugby game has already started.”  I do not know that couple’s story, but at surface level, it sounded like a guy who is desperately trying to hold on to the “non parent” lifestyle.  Maybe it is important to watch the rugby game for this guy, but if you are not involved in the things that impact the kids, you can’t complain later when your wife or the kids are not listening to you or don’t involve you.

As a parent, your kids come first, right?  So for those parents who have hobbies or interests that are difficult to do when you have a child, it might be time to re-analyze them and/or modify them (ex, if you like photography, take the camera with you on walks with the stroller).  It is super important to maintain hobbies and be active as a parent, but if too many of them are not “baby friendly”, then it seems to me like you as a parent want to analyze what it is you are holding onto.  I have learned that having a baby in my life means completely letting go of any old lifestyle and welcoming the new one 100%.  Some things carried forward, but what I have now is richer, more meaningful, and altogether more rewarding than I could have imagined.

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