Even though it’s only three months until the big one year mark, nine months feels like a big milestone. I guess it’s because our son has now been out of the womb for as long as he was in it. These last nine months have moved so fast. Our family has changed so much for the better and as a father, I have experienced more in these first nine months into fatherhood than any other nine month, year or probably even two year period of time. With that, I have also learned more in these months than I ever have.
Although my journey into fatherhood has been short thus far, it has undeniably been the most rewarding and challenging time of my life. I have never smiled, laughed, cried, cared or loved so much and that will always outweigh how little I’ve slept, worried so much and worked so hard. And there are things I am grateful I already knew and there are things I really wish I had already known. There have been some hard lessons learned. It’s a whole other world caring for and providing for a little human. But I can tell you one thing; it’s been completely worth it. Most of what I’ve learned so far has made me a better person, husband and has brought more love and joy into my life than I thought possible.
Changing diapers and living on little sleep are the sort of things that are on the easier end of things and just happen. Navigating how to communicate with your wife in a whole new way and figuring out how to actually get work done from home with a baby are the some of the more complex lessons learned. What I do know is that the love and care I have for my family pushed me to figure these things out. There is no doubt that it’s hard, but man I now cannot imagine life any other way.
Before meeting Forrest, the only deep love for a human being I truly knew was the love that I have for my wife. During her pregnancy, I couldn’t imagine how I could love her even more. Then I learned that I could during the whole birthing process. There was this enormous amount of love that just overflowed out of me toward both her and our baby boy. I literally couldn’t imagine my heart having that much more room for the massive amount of love I immediately felt upon finally meeting my son face to face. I knew I’d love this child like crazy. I just had nothing to really compare that sort of love to. It’s a new and different kind of love that is hard to put into words. It’s amazing.
That love has continued to grow each and everyday since. The two of them continue to put me in awe constantly. My wife is amazing. From getting up in the middle of the night to feed him to putting aside everything on her agenda to make room for our sons own little agenda to just being a mother, Jessica really shows me what unconditional love, dedication and commitment look like and that is the root of where this newfound love I have for her comes from. I see that it’s all very hard and tiring and simply draining, but she’s never once complained or said she can’t do it. She’s stronger than ever and she toughs through it like a champ. She has physically, mentally and emotionally overcome so many more hurdles the last nine months. I’m continuously impressed by her everyday.
Another thing I’ve learned is how to slow down at the right times and how to kick myself into gear when it’s needed. These days go by so fast and if I am wanting to take part in as much as I can, I have to learn how to manage my time the best I can. It’s taken some getting used to and there have been plenty of days I left my to-do list pretty much the way it started for the day. As I’ve gotten into the swing of things better, I know when it’s time to slow down and take it all in. To turn off all distractions and focus on my son and wife. A nine month old doesn’t understand the concept of work and his innocence deserves my attention right now. So, now I work smarter and harder when the time comes. So much less of my time is wasted these days and it feels great. Of course, as parents, we also need some downtime for ourselves, so I’ve learned how to plan for that. Usually, this means grinding harder to get work done and using that left over time to be lazy or just do something for myself. It’s a big transition going from being able to be lazy whenever you want to no longer having that sort of freedom if you will. You’ll really appreciate that time you worked hard to have. It may seem small at first, but it really will mean a lot to you.
I’ve always been a tidy person. For as long as I can remember, my room was always clean and organized. During Jessica’s pregnancy, we did a lot of preparing for the extra stuff kids come with and smart solutions for how to store it all. We knew we didn’t want our home to look like a tornado blew through a Buy Buy Baby store. But you know what, some days it still does and I’ve learned to be okay with that. It’s just not worth trying to keep it all cleaned up all the time because you’ll miss out on the little things that are happening and I just want to let our nine month old be a nine month old. Instead, I’ve learned to embrace the mess for a time and let him be curious and explore and then put it all back up after he’s gone down to bed or nap. Either Jess and I pick up as we go after laying him down.
Becoming a father has also made me a tougher person yet at the same time, it’s also made me more sensitive. I am no longer afraid to do what I need to do to make something happen. I’ve shrugged off that fear of what others might think when it comes down to doing what’s needed for my family. They come well ahead of anyone else. I’ve learned to speak up when needed, to stand my ground better and approach situations with more of a confident tone. At the same time, I feel that I have more compassion and sympathize with more.
In no other time in my life has a nine month period of time meant so much, taught me so much and shaped me as much as these last nine have. I am sure I could go on for days about everything I’ve learned. Maybe I’ll share more in three months when Forrest turns one. But for now, I can say with confidence that the number one thing I’ve learned since becoming a father is that to become one is incredible. It’s the best. No better way to put it!