Globally, 2015 was a depressing year. It’s a reminder that many of us have it pretty damn sweet when compared to people elsewhere in the world. Not that we’re not allowed to complain, but next time I feel the need to complain about peak hour traffic, I’ll try and remember that there are people out there who’d kill for that to be their only issue.
I decided to end the year by reflecting on the many things I’m grateful for and family topped the list. I’m the luckiest guy to have a loving wife and two amazing kids – kids that are all too easy to complain about. The whinging, the sleepless nights, messes, bodily fluids, all of the fun stuff! So many things can annoy us on a daily basis that it’s easy to forget just how awesome having children really is. Let’s kick off 2016 on a positive note with 11 Reasons I Love Being a Dad!
1. I finally get to watch children’s cartoons again without feeling bad
As you get older, there’s a point where watching children’s cartoons becomes a tad lame. I’d be flicking channels, see a cartoon, start watching then realise I was watching something aimed at humans 1/12th my age. Not anymore! I can finally sit down with the boys and watch these conflict-less, feel good cartoons with zero shame. In fact, knowing the songs, theme songs and stories has been completely beneficial!
2. Unconditional and unexpected love
It may sound lame but seriously it’s awesome. I can flip out over a spilled cup of milk on my brand new carpet (totally happened) and then five seconds later be getting the tightest hug with an “I love you daddy!”. I may still be hunched over, frantically dabbing the carpet trying to extract every last drop of milk, but at least I get the warm and fuzzies! No long, drawn out arguments here! (Not yet anyway).
3. I can finally buy the best children’s toys for
When I was a kid I remember saying to myself, “When I get a job, I’m going to buy every, single Lego set there is and dedicate an entire room to Lego City!”. (Seriously the police station set was a dream for me..) It never occurred to me that a grown male with a room full of Lego was creepy. I reckon this is a key reason men have kids. I can finally buy all of the coolest toys I never received as a child. As a result, I’m currently going through a second childhood with the kid’s Hot Wheels car sets. Only a few more years until they’re old enough for proper Lego sets!
4. Pram parking
Y’know those parking spots right near the front of the shops for people with prams? Yep! Enjoy walking suckers!
5. Hearing the kids laugh
Yes, yes. Sappy. Whatever! Hearing your kids laughing hysterically has to be one of the greatest sounds ever. That’s right! Even better than the sound of barbecuing meat. It makes my day hearing our 7 month old son laughing his butt off just because I look at him. Of course, all of this has nothing to do with the fact that no one else laughs at my jokes. And on that note…
6. Dad jokes!
Heckled by my mates for years over my terrible jokes (inherited from my dad who’s so not funny). Gone are the days where I’d run, hide or flinch after making an amazing pun. Now… NOW there’s no stopping me! The puns fly and it’s completely legal. A room full of groans is more rewarding than laughter.
7. Work is now pointless*
Well, not exactly pointless. I still want money of course! But I no longer have the desire to climb the corporate ladder and be some executive who works 18 hours a day. I have had more satisfaction in 3 years spending time with my kids and enjoying my family than I have in 15 years of working. It’s as simple as that. The boys have provided me with a new reason for being and it doesn’t revolve around work. Work, while fantastic, is only a means to support my family. As long as I can earn enough to provide my family with a decent lifestyle I’m happy.
*Disclaimer: I totally love my job. (Just in case the boss is reading right?!)
8. Crap days at work stay at work
The scene you always see in the movies: dad gets home from work tired, stressed and exhausted after a crappy day. A toddler barrels down the hall and wraps his arms around his father’s legs screaming, “Daddy, daddy, daddy – you’re home!”. It’s all 100% for real. Without fail, if I get home from work after the boys get home from day care, I’m greeted by my eldest son barreling toward me screaming, “Daddy!!”. He always has a MASSIVE hug for me and an “I missed you!” to follow. I’ve never once been able to feel crappy after receiving such an awesome greeting. Bad days can stay at the office!
9. The satisfaction you get whenever the kids succeed
It’s one thing knowing that I had a hand in creating two humans. That in itself is crazy! But seeing them develop, grow and improve thanks to my guidance is even crazier! Seeing the boys improving every day with language, motor skills and behaviour, especially with things we’ve been teaching them is just mind blowing. It’s the most satisfying thing when my son finally does something for himself after going through it with him over and over (and over…) again. Potty training has been one of those huge hurdles that gives a sense of pride every time he uses the toilet. When he’s 25 I’ll still be standing outside the bathroom wiping away a silent tear.
10. Bedtime stories
This was an unexpected pleasure. I always figured reading stories to the kids at bedtime would turn into a chore. 3 years later, I’m still pumped to read yet another Dr. Seuss book for the 500th time. Reading to the boys is so incredibly satisfying. We lie down together in bed, he rests his head on me and I read through the book. He calms down, yawns a few times… then the book finishes, he jumps out of bed and starts running around like a psycho. In my head I like to think he drifted off to sleep, I kissed him goodnight and switched off a lamp somewhere and whispered goodnight.
While that may not happen any time soon, the books are still fantastic. Many childhood memories are contained within the pages of the books we read him! It feels like passing down history when I read him a book that’s over 50 years old. Plus, the rhymes and characters in Dr. Seuss books are just way too awesome not to love.
11. A sense of purpose
Purpose comes in many different forms: work, helping others, hobbies, Game of Thrones, and so on. Being a dad has been the most fulfilling purpose of all. Nothing can come close to comparing to the feeling of being needed so wholly by your children*. YOU are 100% responsible for everything that they do and it’s your job to mould them into awesome humans. Waking up in the morning and being the best person I can be has never been so important. If I slip up, it has the real potential to affect my kids and that is a huge deal. Life is no longer just about me and to be honest, there’s no better feeling!
*Note: Being needed 100% of the time does get irritating. Especially when there’s a bum to be wiped.
Obviously there are plenty more reasons I love being a dad but I’ll save them for a future post. Maybe when the boys are old enough to drive me around and call me Master. Here’s to a happy, healthy and awesome 2016!