How Becoming A Father In My 20s Completely Changed My Life
On April 30, 2016 my life would change forever. I’m a brand new father at the age of 27 and I’m loving every moment of it. The part I love the most is that I’m learning something new every day about my son: what he likes, how he reacts when I hold him a certain way, his sporadic sleeping schedule, and so on and so forth. I sometimes have a moment of clarity when I think about being a dad because I come from generation where it’s normal to have a kid(s) in your 20s or even in your teens. It’s rare to find a home where both parents are so young and the child can experience growing up with both of them. People tell me all the time how proud they are of me because I went the “traditional” route. I became financially stable, I got married, and then we had our son. But to put context to the content, you have to know how my life was before I started getting things right.
Early 20’s – Around the time I turned 21, I was becoming my own man. I had been to my first strip club, I was figuring out my go-to alcoholic beverage, and most importantly to any man at this age, I was having a good amount of casual sex with no strings attached. This was probably the most reckless period of my life when it came to money, priorities, and my overall image. Facebook reminds me everyday of the crazy things I used to say in my early 20’s. All I knew at the time was I wanted to make money doing what I loved and party until the sun came up. I wasn’t thinking about kids. I didn’t want to be in a committed relationship. I wasn’t even committed to myself. It was all in the moment for me. I was on a downward spiral and didn’t care at times because I figured I was young. I could make up the time later. Luckily that was the case for, but it could have easily gone in a different direction and my potential could have been cut short.
Mid 20’s – Going into my mid 20’s was definitely the end of an era, but I still had some of my old ways with me. I was still a man whore, but I was a man whore with a little more money. I started to get more focused on my writing career so I really didn’t need any distractions like kids. I had dated a few women in this time period, but I couldn’t see myself having a child with them. It wasn’t until I met my wife that things began to change, but they changed slowly at first. She was focused on her career as well and wasn’t looking for any type of relationship let alone starting a family.
So in the beginning we were just having fun. She did her thing and I did mine. After a while, her thing became mine and vice versa. It seemed like fate that two people with a checkered past could come together and be happy. But life wouldn’t be life if it was that easy. Because of our jobs at the time, we had to be in a long distance relationship for the first year and a half. This wasn’t just a few hours away long distance. This was different ends of the world long distance. Several hours ahead in a different time zones distance. We fought a long, hard battle and our faith, pride, trust, and whatever else goes into a relationship was tested and even bent, but never broken. We weathered the storm and it’s been smooth sailing for the future. This was just the first part of my transformation.
Present day – So my wife and I have been together going on three years in October. We just had our one year marriage anniversary June 4th. And our son just turned seven weeks old. There has been an unlimited amount of growth on my part, but I’m just going to cover the main ones. Financially, I’m in the best shape of my life. Don’t get me wrong, we could all use extra cash, but for the first time in a long time; I’m comfortable. There was one point in my life where my wife, who was then my fiance, and I struggled with money. It was only for a short amount of time, but that was the hardest period to ever go through. To sit there and tell my wife that we couldn’t do something because we didn’t have the money hurt my soul. I promised myself that I would never let her experience that again and that went ten times over for my son. I know what it’s like to struggle as a kid and an adult. My goal is to never let my son even know what it means to struggle.
My peace of mind is on a zenith level. I don’t have to worry about random women from my past popping up on my phone. In fact, I don’t have to worry about anything from my jaded past popping up because having a son made me take accountability of any and every action I commit. I have someone to teach about life now. He will follow my every move, talk like me, laugh like me, and even think like me. I can’t have skeletons beating at my closet door trying to taint my image in my son’s eyes. I read every day on ways to make the quality of his life better. My responsibility to him is second to none and failure is not an option. He needs me and I need him to keep me balanced. We were a team before he took his first breath. As a new parent I worry a little more than usual, but I can sleep at night knowing I did everything I can.
Some people might think that having a child in your 20’s is the end of your life, but I say it’s just the beginning. Some things stayed the same though. I still stay up all night, but instead of chasing women, I’m trying to catch that perfect position to get him to sleep. I still splurge at the spur of the moment, but instead of buying sneakers or watches, I’ll buy a cute onesie that says “My dad is the best” because the color looks perfect with these socks he already has. The point is, there will be a moment when you realize the long nights and excessive crying is all worth it. My moment happens every day. When I feed him and he looks me directly in the eyes with his brown eyes, without blinking. I like to imagine that he’s thinking, “Damn dude. You’re my dad”. I do a simple head nod then make him do a happy dance with his legs (It’s really an exercise to release gas, but if you put a beat to it; you can’t tell us anything). It gets me every time because I know every single thing I do in my life for now on is for him.
Author: Ty Mitchell
I write books and help writers get through their literary journey. I am the author of The Color of Love. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity. Follow me on Twitter @Ty_Mitchell or on Facebook @the-vpf.