When Rocket Mom approached me to write a column, I was overcome with a wide range of emotions. Surprised, flattered and, to be honest, a little scared. Other than delusional overconfidence, what qualifications do I have to do such a thing? I didn’t know if I could actually do this and be good. How can I be sure I wouldn’t epically fail?
It was then I realized these were the same questions I asked myself prior to parenthood. So let me tell you of my experiences pre-parenthood and a little bit about the journey I’ve made since I’ve become a dad.
At First I Was Like…
With just a few clicks of a mouse, I opened the email that changed my life forever.
The morning began like any other: a cup of coffee and some unanswered messages. My wife would often send cryptic emails; they usually were short remainders or links to funny memes. This was no Grumpy Cat picture, however. It was a pregnancy test. A positive pregnancy test.
That Was Then
Before Kid, my wife and I lived an idyllic life. We spent our late 20’s and early 30’s as prototypical DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids). We both have stressful but fulfilling jobs. After work we often ate out (spontaneously!) at a variety of restaurants (without kids’ menus!). Weekends were spent sleeping in, napping (sometimes multiple times a day), and staying up late doing… whatever we wanted.
We had a social life that didn’t necessarily involve kids; indeed, we were among the last of our friends without kids. Sure, kids were fun to be around in small doses; we enjoyed our friends’ and families’ children and their antics and conveniently left when they got out of hand.
We took spontaneous trips to the movies and stayed out late on weekends! We took vacations to far off and exotic locations! We told ourselves that we didn’t want kids; we had a dog and a cat, wasn’t that close enough to the real thing?
Gradually however, a combination of age, peer pressure, familial nagging, biology, and (gasp!) growing up wore our resolve down. We were ready and prepared to take that next step. Or at least we thought we were…
This Is Now
It’s been years since our son was born, and those days before are like a dream now. Our house has never been “clean” clean, but now it looks as if a tornado has blown through. In a sense, that is true. Idyllic days spent doing not-much have been replaced with scheduled play dates, outings, activities, and appointments with times meticulously scheduled for meals and naps (an even more treasured commodity).
Eating out is now a treat; we’ve abandoned fancy restaurants for kid friendly restaurants. When we do travel it’s to visit family. Relationships with our parents and siblings have strengthened as we’ve banded together in our common goals of raising our children and watching them interact together.
Once we walked through life as students, learning as we went; now we are entrusted also with teaching those that will come after us. We don’t get as much sleep as we used to, but there are no lazy wasted days anymore. I realize now that that the good ole days of the past were an illusion; we spent those days without purpose or accomplishment. I was a bystander rather than a participant. I am more focused now in my work and relationships because I know I have a reason and purpose now. Years before I was told “Kids would change your life forever for the better.” I finally realized this was the truth.
What was your life like before kids? How has it changed after? Be sure and let me know in the comments.
This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated with current information.
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Sam Chow was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta. A 5th grade field trip to Space Camp started his lifelong love of technology and engineering. He juggled working in Huntsville while studying for his engineering degree at Mississippi State and moved here full-time in 2001. He and his lovely wife Connie were married in 2006 and currently have a five year old and a nine year old, a dog, and a cat. In his spare time he enjoys training and watching mixed martial arts, watching old foreign films, reading, and video gaming.