Being a Father
It's going to be extremely hard. Are you sure you want to go through with this? Wait until he becomes a teenager. You’re going to have to give up your dreams, you know.
Those are the things people are going to tell you when you are becoming a parent for the first time, especially if you are young. Some people seem to take great pleasure in telling new parents that things are going to get much, much worse. Have you ever heard anyone say to a pensioner ‘wait until you can’t walk, or get dementia!’ Of course not.
Is it hard? Sure it is, you are raising a human being that depends totally on you, but it's all a matter of perspective. You could turn having a child into an excuse in life, or make it the reason to fight! For me it's a way to lead by example and show my kids that with persistence everything is achievable, just wanting a better life for them makes me start every morning full of energy and confidence.
It's a commitment that requires a lot of courage, as you're discovering the unknown, in my belief the decision should be emotional rather than a rational one, as you'll never find yourself in the perfect conditions to raise a kid, you just have to figure how to improve step by step as they grow.
Science is on your side as humans have an amazing way to deal with risk, stress and responsibility, whenever we are under pressure or out of our state of mental security we transform into super-humans, becoming hustlers, productive and laser-focused, so if you have a lot riding on your shoulders don't worry, you'll survive and prosper, just accept every change with a positive mindset and most importantly don't sweat the small stuff! Having a kid is exhausting, and stressful, but when I look back over the last two years of my son’s life, all I see are wonderful, rewarding moments as I watch him grow from a fragile baby into an intelligent and handsome young man.
Flashback to when my wife was pregnant with our eldest I had a major concern "What if I'm missing out on life experiences?" as it's really common the notion that having kids equals to "life has ended". I found this statement to be absolutely ridiculous. Since André Leon was born the only cut I had to do was nightlife, I still go out to clubs and parties few times per month, but waking up the day after is always hard, so I try to limit them as much as possible.
Parenthood has been an eventful ride, overloaded with life experiences, and travelling was a major one, after visiting Turkey when our son was only a couple of months we discovered that travelling with kids was extremely easy, especially if they are used to it from a young age, in the past two years we've visited over ten countries. And at the end of the day, I had to give up some nights out with friends to something worth so much more: a child!
Few life lessons I've learned in the infinite journey through parenthood that I'd like to share.
Parenthood is teamwork. The demands of parenthood make it all too easy to focus just on your newborn, but don't forget that the baby is the byproduct of the love between you and your spouse. This job requires teamwork, and the only person that can help you overcome difficulties, release stress or understand you is your partner, so make it your top priority to never neglect your needs as a couple. This will benefit also your kids, as they'll grow up in an environment of love. Take your time every day to enjoy each others company and learn how to communicate properly without letting emotions interfere with the message.
Always have a safety net. When you are alone you can be reckless and live day-to-day, being an entrepreneur I went through periods where I didn't have money or food, I had to move country and was living in my office because I couldn't afford an apartment. All this changes when other people depend on you, especially true if they are your kids. After having my kids also the type of investments I do changed drastically. I used to put my money in penny stocks and unsafe companies for greater returns, now I prioritize the real estate market and just after buying my apartment I started investing in the stock market. Having kids is expensive, and you constantly have unplanned expenses, so make sure you always have money on the side, nothing too crazy but the cash flow of your family becomes a top priority.
Being a parent makes you tougher and more sensitive. This might seem like a contradiction, but being a parent makes you think deeper about the wellbeing of your kids, as well as more compassionate towards the needs of children in general and other parents. You'll find yourself participating in the daily life of your babies and go through every emotion they feel. At the same time, if your family needs something, you make it happen. For any emergency or problem, you are the one to take it in stride and find the solution while keeping everyone relaxed and calm, you are not allowed to be afraid anymore. I've never felt so vulnerable and strong at the same time like in this journey.
Everything is magical. Being a kid is awesome, a cover becomes a castle, a toilet roll transforms into a telescope to see the stars, the moon is our friend that comes to visit every night.. I admire the imagination and creativity that children have, I use my son's playtime to go back in time and rediscover how magical it was to be a kid. In addition to finding magic everywhere, they are extremely curious and could spend hours on creative pursuits, like when André Leon discovered how to play the harmonica.
Every day is a fresh start. When you are young every day feels like an eternity, and children never carry baggage from one day to the next. A new day for them means a new opportunity to discover, and they never have expectations or preconceptions about how their day will look like. They usually don't think about what they want to do, they just enjoy the moment. How they wake up in the morning? In a wonderful mood! For some reason, as we get older, we stop seeing the opportunity of starting every day with a fresh start or as worthwhile.
Life is in the details. It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. My son is amazed by bees, he noticed the small antennas and how this insect was hiding inside the flowers. Something so simple that I take for granted for him was a great source of inspiration and joy. When did we stop noticing the tiny miracles that surround us daily?
Be the hero. This is probably the biggest lesson he's teaching me. Every time he wants to tell me something he's always the hero of that story, saying his name proudly and full of himself. The world revolves around them. As we get older, we don’t want to be conceited or egotistic, so we downplay our accomplishments and achievements. We don’t want to brag. But in doing so, we often slip to the side of self-deprecation. We put ourselves down to make others feel better or to be more relatable. Modesty becomes an admirable quality and we start to convince ourselves of our own mediocrity.
Those are only few of the lessons my kids are teaching me. If we pay attention we'll find that children can do a great deal of teaching. As our children grow and learn, so do we.
And lastly, it’s all worth it. Being a parent is something miraculous, one of life’s most rewarding experiences.