In this letter to his pre-children self, Cameron Leckey passes on his hard earned wisdom, and reflects on some of the things he wishes he'd known before becoming a dad.
Dear 2008 Me,
So by now you’re ticking along pretty nicely. You’ve finally got around to making an honest woman out of that gorgeous girl you’ve been knocking around with for what seems like forever. Your career is on the up and people are starting to take notice of you in the corporate world. You’ve got a pretty chunky mortgage, but you might as well get used to that because you’ll have it for a while.
Even though you think you’ve got it all sorted, there are still a few things that you should know before the next phase of your life comes along and kicks your ass.
Firstly, you’re not busy
Let me say that again. You are not busy. I know you feel busy, but you’re going to look back on this period at some point and you will wonder what you ever did with all of that spare time. With this in mind, you need to make better use of the freedom that you currently enjoy. Sleep in as much as possible, because soon you will be willing to sell your soul for a sleep-in past 6am.
Also, be more spontaneous. Nothing kills spontaneity like small children, when even a quick trip to the shops can feel like a huge logistical operation. And never say ‘no’ to an invitation from a friend. You’ll get plenty of practice at making excuses and turning things down once the kids arrive.
As well as busy, there’s something else you are not…
You might have felt a bit weary after a hard day at work or a big night on the beers, but that’s nothing compared to how tired you’ll feel when you’re driving to work with baby vomit on your business shirt in years to come.
You’ll understand why some armies use sleep deprivation as a form of torture, and you will have moments where you feel like you’re being tortured, except that your torturer will be in nappies rather than combat fatigues. Remember this before you tell your friends with kids how tired you are, and they will be more likely to remain your friends, and less likely to fantasise about choking you to death.
Be more empathetic and less judgemental
You can start with your sister-in-law and her husband, as well as your other friends with children. They’re all bloody amazing parents. Pull your head out and be a more supportive. They will repay it to you tenfold when your own offspring arrives so lend them a helping hand once in a while and cut them some slack.
Don’t think that kids won’t change your life
Stop saying dumb things like “when we have kids we won’t let them change our lives…”. Your kids are going to turn you into a completely different person (mostly for the better) and will poop all over your pre-conceived notions and your social life for many years.
Your dog is a legend
You know this already, and that won’t change in the future. What will change, however, is the amount of attention you can spare him. This may be hard for you to believe right now, but when the babies arrive, you will actually love them more than the dog. Crazy, huh?
He will slide down the pecking order in your affections, but you’ll always remain number one in his eyes. Don’t just ignore him and step over him when he’s lying in the doorway, and make sure you’re there for him in his hour of need.
Also, don’t leave a whole kilogram of playdough lying around. He is a Labrador. He will eat all of it.
Take up Crossfit. Today
It will hurt a lot but it is the gateway to a better version of yourself and will introduce you to an amazing support network (some would say ‘cult’) of like-minded people. It’s also an incredibly time-efficient form of exercise for when the kids arrive.
And on that topic you can kiss those leisurely four-hour bike rides goodbye. You look like a tool in lycra anyway and your balls and backside will thank you for it.
Be a kick-ass husband
What none of the parenting books will tell you is that husbanding is even harder and more important than parenting when your babies first arrive. So work your ass off to be an attentive, supportive and loving husband and the parenting thing will fall into place for you.
Trust me on this.
You’re going to spend a lot of time gazing at your children while they’re sleeping and wondering how the hell something so astonishingly beautiful could possibly come from you and your balls.
You’ll wonder if others are looking at you and your kids and thinking the same thing.
They are, but that’s okay.
Lastly and most importantly, I want you to know that I’m really excited for you because you’re about to learn to love in a way that you can’t possibly comprehend right now, and it is truly amazing. Sure you love your wife, your parents, your dog, the All Blacks, but nothing can prepare you for the depth or intensity of the love that you will feel for your kids.
PS – You’ll be pleased to know that the All Blacks will shake the “choker” tag and will go back-to-back in the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups, so don’t bother losing any sleep over that. Your son will end up supporting the Wallabies and that wound will take some time to heal, but take comfort in the fact that they will keep losing to the All Blacks.
Originally published at Dadding Every Day