Fatherhood is not what I thought it would be. Maybe I was naive. Here’s a list of some of the myths I believed in before becoming a dad:
– Changing nappies (diapers) is the end of the world.
Yeah. This frightened me. I remember my first nappy change. I was standing there staring like an idiot as the Wife gave me a demonstration of how it was done. Only one demonstration, mind you, and she wouldn’t even let me take notes. Later that day came my turn. My hands were shaking, my fingers feeling huge and clumsy, sweat beading along my brow. I remember asking myself how the hell she managed to get everything done with only two wet-wipes. But guess what gentlemen? I did it. It went off without a hitch, except for the part where I was yelling “IT’S ON MY FINGER! IT’S ON MY FINGER!”. I don’t think that she could’ve helped me even if she wanted to, she was in such a fit of laughter. Nonetheless that was the first of many hundreds of nappies that I have changed over the years and you get used to it. It’s like making a bed or taking a shower; just part of a daily routine. As for the “gross” part of it all; when it’s your child you don’t care. At least I didn’t.
– Raising kids is black and white.
Have a child and suddenly everybody is an expert on parenting. I received a book’s worth of advice in the form of one-liners to live by. “Lock their door and ignore the crying, they’ll stop eventually.” “When they don’t listen to you, ignore them back.” Pretty much all of it is nonsense. You have to be smart enough to pick out the real gems, but in general you’re on your own and what might work for your one child in all likelihood won’t work for the other.
– You can make your child into what you want him/her to be.
Good luck trying to get this one right. I had the idiotic notion that my children will be academically driven simply because I will instil the ethos in them. A kind of “daddy doesn’t love you if you don’t get an A” attitude (ok, maybe not that extreme). It’s not that simple. You can try to force them to study until you’re blue in the face, but if you want them to be the best that they can be it’s far more difficult. It involves teaching them your values, finding a way to communicate those values effectively, and thereafter if you’ve done your job correctly, they will themselves follow the correct path as a result of the foundation you’ve laid.
– Little girls are princesses from the start.
I wanted a “Daddy’s little Princess”, and I got two of them. Yes, they are my little princesses, but don’t believe for a second that a three year old, boy or girl, will hesitate to fart on your leg.
– You won’t let the stress get to you.
It does, but you have to do everything in your power to keep it from your children.
– A baby will beggar you.
They’re actually not that expensive, and they’re pretty hardy too. Mine survived.
– Your child will have the same experiences as you.
The world has changed. The only way your children will experience a childhood like yours is vicariously through your romanticised reminiscing.
– You’ll have it all figured out
Nope. As you go along you have to figure out how to overcome new challenges all the time. You never get to sit down and relax, knowing that your carefully laid out plans will come to pass.
– Parenting is hard
This one is true, but not in the way that you thought it would be. When you have that piece of you, i.e. another living breathing human being, out there in the world, things become both simpler and more complex. Simpler, because suddenly many of your decisions are taken away from you. You decide based on the love and protection of your child, and what seemed difficult in the past suddenly becomes a no-brainer. More complex because It’s not only your life you’re responsible for anymore.
I’m still learning.