Spoiler Alert: Being a Father Doesn’t Change You

Archive, Fatherhood

Before having a child, I had a lot of questions.

What will she look like? 

Will she be healthy? 

How will my wife handle labor? 

Who will I become?

It’s that last question that inspired the creation of HypeDad. I was curious to document a father’s journey from conception to birth and beyond, a kind of social experiment that I could years later look back on. I always assumed I’d come out the other side a totally different person. Would I act differently? Would I think differently? Would I suddenly lose cultural relevancy? Would the change be for better or worse? The answers were unclear, but I’d be changed for sure.

SPOILER ALERT: Being a father doesn’t change you. It changes things, yes. It changes things completely. But it does not change you.

How do I know this? Because I feel the same. I act the same. I dress the same. Am I more tired? Do I have less free time? Is my life different? Yes, yes, and hell yes. But these are just the results of decisions I made. I let my child change my life. Because when you cross the threshold of fatherhood, you bring with you the entirety of your life’s history and you make decisions accordingly. Those decisions do not change you, they reinforce who you are. Some choose themselves over their child. They abandon or neglect,  fearing change or responsibility. Some choose their child and it shifts their life dramatically. But you are still you.

A similar thing happens when you marry. Marriage doesn’t change you. Marriage can’t fix or alter a relationship. It simply reinforces the one you already have. Does marriage change things? Yes, of course. But it does not change you or your relationship at its core.

For me, this realization only reinforces the importance of parenting. Because beyond a certain age, you are who you are. And so much of you is developed under the umbrella of your parents. Those early years, those teenage years, even young adulthood. You are preparing your child to ultimately make decisions, and decisions are made with thought, and thoughts are formulated from development, and development happens under the umbrella of your parents. See how it all comes back around?

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