facts about fatherhood

3 Things We Need to Be Honest About in Fatherhood

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I’m not exactly sure what my expectations were when I became a dad. My wife and I often joke that we really can’t remember what life was like before kids. When you finally have your first child in your arms, it’s the most wondrous and exciting moment of your life as well as one of the most shocking and intimidating. I’ll never forget standing in the delivery room holding my son as he looked up at me with his eyes wide open, as if he were thinking, “All right, buddy. Don’t mess this up.”

I doubt anyone who’s ever become a father has ever felt prepared. I heard people say things like, “Oh, your life is never going to be the same once you have kids.” But how is that helpful to a new dad? There are some facts about fatherhood that are unavoidable. One is that you just have to experience it to learn some hard lessons. Another is that we won’t learn those lessons if we aren’t honest with ourselves. Here are 3 things we need to be honest about in fatherhood.

1. We think it should be easier to raise kids.

There are going to be days we lose our minds and nights we lose our sleep, but all good dads keep parenting.

I knew being a dad was going to be difficult, but I didn’t realize how difficult. One of the craziest facts about fatherhood is we have so much potential to bless and help our kids while carrying as much potential to curse and mess them up. We need to accept the fact that raising kids is difficult. There are going to be days we lose our minds and nights we lose our sleep, but all good dads keep parenting to the best of their abilities. They never give up and they keep loving and investing in their kids because they realize their kids are their legacy.

2. We hold unrealistic expectations for our kids’ lives.

I was a collegiate baseball athlete and my wife was a collegiate softball athlete, so you can imagine the expectations I had when our son was born. Of course we signed him up for tee ball and tried to get him to enjoy baseball for a few years. But the reality is, baseball isn’t his thing. I had to work through that and realize the problem wasn’t that my son didn’t like baseball; it was that I held expectations for his life that weren’t fair for him. Our kids are their own persons and we, as dads, have to hold our expectations for them loosely.

3. We think we have more control than we actually do.

When our kids are young, we have quite a bit of control over their lives. But we don’t have ultimate control over what decisions they’re going to make, what they’re thinking, what they say, or what they do. One of the facts about fatherhood I’m learning to grasp is that a lot of parenting is simply responding to the choices they make. A good dad can be by his kid’s side no matter what decision he or she makes. I certainly don’t have control over what my kids decide to do, but I do have control over how I respond and support them.

Sound off: What are some facts about fatherhood that have been revealed to you?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do I do that lets you know I love and support you?”