I came from a traditional family where my mom stayed home to take care of the kids, and my dad spent an exorbitant number of hours at work to support the family. My mom did the cooking and the cleaning, while my dad did the yard work and the gardening. The same was true for almost all of my friends in the neighborhood. While observing my parents in these roles, I formed some misconceptions about being a father.
Becoming a father for the first time will bring surprises to every man. The amount of time and dedication is far greater than I anticipated. And the amount of worry and stress that can be caused by one child alone has also been a surprise. But that’s parenting.
Some of the misconceptions I developed have been bigger than others, and some of them have caused me to laugh at myself, because I still don’t understand how I could have been so naive.
Here are the 7 misconceptions I had about being a father:
I thought we’d get pregnant right away. 1 of 7
Considering the luck I was born into by having a good family and good health, I always figured having kids would come easy and fast. I was wrong. It took about a year before Addie was finally conceived. And Vivi? Well, after three years we finally gave up, and then several months later, we were surprised to learn Vivi was on her way.
I thought my kids wouldn’t scare me. 2 of 7
I did all kinds of crazy stuff when I was a kid. I used to climb up onto the roof of the house, run to the other side, and launch myself off towards the ground below (my knees are now making me pay for that stunt). I shot off bottle rockets in my hand and flipped on and off the couch. When I was a kid, I thought that I was invincible. I thought those activities were risk-free. Not so, not so. I watch as Addie and Vivi, and I cringe in fear. I fear that they will get hurt doing exactly what I used to do as a kid.
I thought my parents were always wrong. 3 of 7
The last thing I want to do is admit that my parents were right a lot more than they were wrong. I try to teach my kids lessons, but I end up sighing in frustration and have to chalk it up to karma. My parents really did have a lot of good answers and advice that I could have followed.
I didn’t think kids would be a source of martial tension. 4 of 7
My parents fought, a lot, but I never put two and two together. I didn't realize that I was part of what brought so much tension into their marriage. I figured my parents just fought because that's what they did. Now I realize there's a lot more to it than what I thought. Kids raise the tension level in a marriage in all kinds of different ways. From parenting styles, to dealing with the stresses that arise from trying to provide for a family. It's never ending.
I thought that I’d have more money. 5 of 7
Lawyers were all rich, at least that's what I thought when I was a kid. So I decided to become a lawyer. I was so confident that I was destined for riches that I turned down an opportunity as a teenager to learn how to take care of my car. Instead, I told the friendly mechanic who was offering his time and energy for free that "I will just pay someone to fix my cars for me." Boy, was I wrong. Life is not easy, and it does not come easy. Considering the current state of the legal market, I may be destined to a life of work until I'm 90 years old.
I thought that my kids would share the same interests. 6 of 7
I don't know where I picked up this misconception, but I thought my kids would pick up all my likes and dislikes as if they were their own. The more I think about it, the more I realize that a lot of my interests are different than my dad's interests. Sure, we both like football, but we don't like any of the same teams. We also prefer different political parties and have different thoughts about the amount of cheese that should be put on noodles. I learned pretty quickly that my girls weren't going to pick up the same likes and dislikes that I have. I can hope all I want that they become little Utah fans as they grow up, or that they pick up the love of basketball in the driveway, but in the end, they're little people themselves with their own personalities.
I thought that I’d be happy to send my kids off to college. 7 of 7
As my sisters and I got older, my parents started taking more vacations. My dad also bought a riding lawn mower and a few four-wheelers. All things my parents intended on using once the kids were out of the house. I figured I would be happy when my kids grew up and went off to college because then I would have more time to myself, or with my wife, and vacations would come on a regular basis, and I would get my own set of toys to play with when my kids were gone. Turns out, I'm going to be sad when Addie and Vivi are grown up and ready to move out on their own I love having these two little kids in my life where I can see them each and every day and watch them learn new things. It's irreplaceable.
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