No one categorically said that being a dad sucked, but it was the message loud and clear. I remember when my wife, Lizzie, became pregnant and we started to share the news. I saw her friends react with sheer joy. To be fair most of mine did too … apart from some of the guys who were already dads. “Well, say goodbye to sleep, cinema, pub, peace, quiet … basically your life” was the most common response. All said as a kind of joke of course, but never the less the message was loud and clear … being a dad sucks. It means the end of your life!
I have to say it was a little unnerving. What on earth had I let myself in for?! Apparently my life was now over.
My little girl Beatrice turned 1 this week and it made me reflect on the year that’s gone by. It’s true, I’ve slept less than ever before, discovered that you can go to work on almost no sleep / with sick on your shirt, I’ve got used to talking about poo, discovered what it’s like to wrestle a child while chasing them around the room trying to put their tights on, sung ridiculous songs in the middle of the night just because once upon a time that tune stopped the screaming and I’m desperate, realised I have no idea what’s going on at the cinema and a good night out has become getting into bed by 9.
None of that matters.
Not – one – little – bit.
My life is now immeasurably richer. I feel like Beatrice has shown me a side of life that was missing, without ever realising it was there.
One of the meanings of the name Beatrice is ‘bringer of joy’ and boy does she deliver. Even in those moments where you’re getting towards the end of yourself I can look upon her and something wells up in my heart that brings a deeper joy than any of the usual list of things that bring fun into my life. I mean, how is it possible that I was involved in making someone so amazing!
If I’m honest I think most dads probably think the same. I don’t think any of the people that told me my life was over really meant it. I bet they love being a dad. But as guys we don’t often say it.
So I’m saying it. Especially for anyone preparing to be a dad. Get ready for the best rollercoster you’ve ever been on!
I want to rebuild the idea of being a dad. It’s not all downhill from the moment that pregnancy test shows the magic cross. Life gets richer and richer and richer no matter how challenging it gets.
Becoming a dad changes your life … And I for one wouldn’t go back for anything!