My wife and I have undergone a substantial change in circumstances, but I think I perhaps expected more significant changes to me as a person in becoming a father. I’m not sure exactly what, but maybe I imagined there would be more of a feeling of sacrifice or compromise, or a profound shift in my very core values.
So what has changed about me? Not much if I’m going to be perfectly honest, I feel like the same person I was. I just now have a child. My day to day has some added trials, but really, things feel pretty status quo – Before the baby came along we used to enjoy watching addictive tv boxsets, and we still do. I even still enjoy the odd beer to wind down after a long day. I still have the same standards and the same hopes and aspirations. I still live in the same house, and I still have the same name. I’m still me. Our daughter is only nine days old, and does little more than eat, sleep and poo, and I fully expect some of these aspects of “me” will change in line with her as she grows up however, right now I don’t feel I’ve become a completely, unrecognisable, different version of myself.
The biggest change in me is that I have noticed is that I feel less stressed, which I admit sounds like an absolute contradiction. Okay, I am still on paternity leave, and some of this could be attributed to that rather than new found parenthood. But instead of setting out an agenda of things to do, and getting stressed when I don’t stick to it, I am much more in favour of completely flexible, simpler activities. Like lying on the sofa listening to my daughter breathe softly (or snore) as she sleeps on my chest, or staring at her face as she gazes unblinkingly at the sky, wondering what she is making of it all.
Being the father of someone a little over a week old is not all peace and tranquility; it is of course stressful when she screams in such a way that it is as if the world is ending, and we have no way of knowing why or how to console her. But it’s different. As she consumes my time and thoughts, everything else in the world becomes less significant. Maybe this is obvious to the rest of the world, but I think that it is this simplicity; this one track mindedness, that is the biggest change of all.