Parenting Has Changed Me, But That's Okay!

by Adam Riches

When I first became a parent, I swore to myself one thing I’d never do was change. Beers? I wouldn’t miss them. Gym? Of course I’d still go! Films? There’s no way I was giving them up. Alas, the reality was somewhat different from what I was expecting. Looking back to my pre-child me, I’ve changed no end. Obviously I’ve got a bit older too, but becoming a parent changes you, regardless of how hard you try for it not to. You simply can’t be the person you were before.

It’s weird, I still feel the same about everything, it’s just I have far less energy and less inclination to do things. Not from an antisocial perspective, it’s just my priorities are. Totally different. Some people may feel differently, but I am in a new headspace.

I’ll admit, to begin with, it was a battle. You try to cling onto the ways you once had and that can actually really take its toll on your mental health. Paternal postnatal depression is a really under-publicised issue and a lot of it, I think, can be attributed to the transitional changes that fathers (and all parents) go through.

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The thought of spending time with my kids actually appeals to me more than doing other things. I love training and keeping fit (I’m partial to a bit/ a lot of gym) but if I’m given the choice of sweating it out or bathing the boy there’s no real competition. I never thought being splashed by two small humans would bring me so much joy…but it does, so why would I want to do anything else? Yes, I can fit it all in if I want to, but if I need to sacrifice something, it’s not going to be with the boys.

I work during the week and I just want to do things with my boys at the weekend. I’ve got some fond (mostly hazy) memories of years past where I used to spend weekends being wild, but it just doesn’t appeal to me any more. I love my friends and since I’ve had a baby, I’m really conscious of becoming boring because frankly, in comparison to my former self I am boring. I think a late night is anything past 10 pm now – sad but true.

I sometimes worry about what people might think of me not being as involved with the wilder nights…but then in reality, everyone I hang around with gets it. We all have our own things going on.

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Sleeping used to be one of my dearest and most valued pastimes. God, I loved sleeping. Being in a perpetual cycle of not sleeping begins to skew your perception of yourself. I’ve learnt a lot about my physical resilience since venturing into parenthood and one thing I’ve noticed is how mentally tough I am. I’m proud of how well I’ve coped with juggling work, a baby and generally living – the pre-baby me would be even prouder.

Maybe it’s more about accepting the fact life has changed. Maybe that’s what I need to do. I’m not the same as I was pre-children, and that’s absolutely ok. Do I need to rediscover myself, or have I actually rediscovered a better form of myself? I’m happier (and more tired) now that I’ve ever been so what’s the problem? I’m going to stop comparing myself to what I was like before I was a dad because I don’t need to.


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Written by

Adam Riches

Blogger & Teacher
Being a parent isn’t something you can ever truly prepare for (no matter how many things you read about!) I don’t think I’ll ever really get it right, but that’s what being a parent is all about for me - effectively winging it and being totally ok with just doing your best at being a dad. I’m stumbling through life as a dad of one and between extracting coco pops from my son’s nose and trying to persuade him that dinosaurs aren’t going to get him at night, I write a bit and I teach a lot.

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