Parenting is hard. There’s no doubt about it. It’s just one aspect of many people’s lives but for being the tiny specs we humans are in the grandeur of the universe, the responsibility of parenting makes us feel much larger. All of a sudden life has more meaning, importance, significance—we’re responsible for another human being. Being a dad has been one amazing challenge for me to take on, but as with any challenge it comes with struggles. Mine in particular has been around prioritization, and without it I’m struggling to set a baseline of what my up most potential for being a dad is.
When Stefany got pregnant, I made it a priority to re-prioritize my priorities (when everything seemed like a priority). I had a job where I gave too much and didn’t get enough in return. I’ve always been very career-driven, and as a result I was the one who often placed myself in those situations in my previous jobs. Knowing this, I wanted to tone down this work-focused drive and instead be driven by what brought me the greatest joys in my life: my family.
And I made the steps to get there. I got a job where I have the ability to work from home and be part of a caring group of people who smile when I take my video meetings with my daughter on my lap. They believe in everything I do, and work has become fun and exciting for me. It’s no longer the stressful element in my life that I let define how I felt about my own success in life. I now get motivated through my baby girl’s smile, by Stef’s encouraging words, by the adventures we get to live together, and by the progress I’m able to make across the goals I set for myself across the whole, not just work.
But somewhere in the process, I’ve lost myself a little bit. I used to wake up at 4:30am at my best. I used to work out, had time to reflect, had time to relax, essentially just time to do everything I needed to. I wholeheartedly believed you could make time for anything you really wanted to do. But now, I feel more overwhelmed than before. I somehow can’t get myself to plan out what I need to do in order to really give it my all in everything I do. I get a feeling I’m just doing well across everything I’m doing versus being great at them all. When sleep has become a commodity, I sleep later at the expense of a lot of that “me” time, and it’s been an adjustment to get back to that rhythm.
What’s more, I find myself distracted. I’m constantly wandering off in thoughts full of worries. I worry about things small and large, from the type of education Isabella will receive in school, to the terrible thought of how much my daughter will miss out on everything I have planned for her if I’m ever not in this world anymore. I’m responsible for her life. I’m also responsible for ensuring my wife’s happiness with me, and Isabella will only be happy if her parents are always happy. I feel a sense of guilt for bringing my daughter into a world where the political environment and the world’s global matters are terribly sad—to a world where it’s still not advantageous for a woman to be in. I feel remorse for being part of the problem when I was younger. But all these worries shouldn’t be on my mind the way they do. My wife and daughter won’t get my best self if I’m lost in thought in worry and I am not truly present in the moment.
It’s weird. As introspective as I’ve always been this is the one time I wish I wasn’t. Between my job, my hobbies, my involvements, my role as a husband and my role as a father, I’m having difficulty readjusting and figuring out how to tackle the very limited 24 hours in a day.
I guess it’s part of the journey. But what’s truly comforting to me is that it’s been absolutely worth it. As conflicting as this sounds, I’m also at the happiest point I’ve ever been in. I feel like I can’t juggle my life at all right now but I get so much out of being Isabella’s father, being the husband to an incredible wife and mother, and being able to now prioritize what matters most to me. Maybe this is just one of those paradoxes in life that provide an amazing opportunity to better myself. Maybe all I need is to just learn how to lower my expectations about what I can accomplish in a day and instead focus on how many more times I smile every day. In that scenario, I’m killing it.