Monday, July 26, 2010

Guest Post by Josh: What being a dad has taught him about himself

Today's guest post is brought to you by Josh (@DadStreet). New to the dad blogging world, and 
a super swell guy. I asked him to write a guest post for me about what being a dad has taught him about himself. So without further delay, Josh, in his own words. 

So a few days ago I get a message from John asking me to write a guest post on his blog.  To me this is a huge honor for anyone.  His blog is about something special; it's about being a dad.  A blog is your home, a place where you can post whatever you want, whenever you want.  So when John asked me to come into his house and hang my hat it meant a lot to me.  John asked me to write about what being a dad has taught me about myself.  No easy question to answer and I've had to give it some thought...

First, let me quickly introduce myself.  My name is Josh, I recently started a Daddy Blog over at  I’m married to a beautiful woman who made me chase her for 8 years before giving me the honor.  After 4 failed IUI’s, 1 miscarriage, and given less than 10% chance of ever conceiving, I have 2 beautiful, amazing children, Olivia age 2 and Jake 11 months.  I’m a wine loving, gourmet cooking, photo taking, iPhone slinging, extrovert who can be summed up in 3 letters, D-A-D.

I’m in love with more than one person. Growing up I wasn’t your typical “dude”.  For whatever reason I could only date one girl at a time.  I don’t mean I’d go out with one girl at 5:00 and then another at 6:00.  I mean, I’d always wind up being in a relationship with one girl, never dating around.  The thought of having feelings for more than one person at a time was just too confusing for me.  So there was no way I was going to juggle multiple girls.  So, it came as a surprise to me that I could love anyone other than my wife as much as I do.  Then even crazier was the notion I could love more than one baby.  I was so guilty when my wife was pregnant with Jake.  I was guilty because I felt like I was taking away something from O in order to give it to Jake.  Oh the guilt!  You’d think I was a Jewish mother I had so much guilt.  Oy Vey!  But you know what?  I can love more than one person and I do!  I love them all so much and each in their own way.  I’ve learned love is not quanitifiable and it knows no boundaries, certainly not when it comes to my family.

I’m scared to death and fear nothing. Oh the things that scare me now that I’m a dad.  Moving cars in parking lots, sharp objects, choking hazards, stairs, illnesses, disease, crime, old playground equipment, unfriendly pets, earthquakes, fire,  Hello Kitty, and Barney.  Okay, the last two scare me but not quite like the rest.  The thing is becoming a dad made me realize how important these two are to me.  The thought of anything happening to them is almost inconceivable and just the remote thought of something bad fills my eyes with tears.  The reality though is quite different.  I know I don’t need to fear these things.  My babies can rely on me.  I will take care of them.  With everything in my power they will not fall victim to those things in my control.

I’m relied on regardless of how reliable I am. Before being a dad I could goof up (often), make careless mistakes (often), and act irresponsibly with little recourse.  I’ve learned though that’s not going to be on the menu now.  Nope, Jake and O rely (very literally) on me for everything from food, water, and shelter to learned morals, values, and integrity (among many other things).  I have to be responsible now.  I owe it to them, they demand it, they deserve it, and they shall get it.  Might I slip up?  Might it take a while to get this kid (at least the bad parts of this kid) out of me?  It might but I’m going to give it my best and demonstrate to them what a reliable Dad looks like.

I’m selfish but my children come first. I never thought of myself as a selfish person before.  Though it’s funny what you find when you actually look in the mirror.  I don’t think I was selfish in a mean, screw you kind of way.  It was more of an absent minded, I’m a big idiot kind of way.  Having Jake and O has made me realize they need to come first.  I had my time to myself first and now it’s time for them.  That doesn’t mean I should neglect my own needs, of course.  Just that my priorities need to be focused with their best interest in mind, they are my priorities now.

I want to teach but haven’t been taught. A few months back I realized how awful our financial situation was.  I realized how many changes needed to take place, and fast.  One impetus for the change was that I wanted our children to be financially independent.  I didn’t want them to know what debt was.  I didn’t want them to be like their dad when it came to finances (at least the old me).  How could I teach them to be fiscally responsible if I couldn’t be myself?  I knew I had to first learn before I could teach.  This of course doesn’t just apply to finances but every important thing I want to pass on.

They had no choice, I do. For the last 2 years and 3 months I’ve been a father.  My children didn’t have a choice who their father was going to be.  For most of my life I’ve known we had choices in which we make that determine where we go.  However, I wasn’t living that way.  Since having become a father I’ve started to truly grasp what it means to have a choice.  Many things have happened to me that I had no control over.  Things in the future will continue to happen to me and to my family under which we have no control over.  How I respond to these things, however, is directly in my power.  I have the choice to be the person I want to be.  I choose who I am.

I want to be the father I want my children to have. I’d always wanted children, from a very young age.  I’d always thought about what it would be like having children.  I never thought so much about what it would be like to be a father though.  I have very high expectations for the type of father I want Jake and O to have.  Traits I’d want for their father include:

Honesty, Integrity, Responsibility, Sensitivity, Thoughtfulness, Intelligence, Down right funny, Active, Supportive, Educative, Inspiration, Spirituality, Compassionate, Energetic, Charitable, and Dependability to name a few.  Yeah, that was more than a few but who’s counting?
Am I all these things now?  No, but I’m working on it and the important thing is I now know what it is I’m working towards.  We live our lives building what in the future will become our legacy.  Many of us will build our legacy without ever knowing what it was.  Being a father has taught me that I decide who I’m going to be and I determine what that legacy is.  Now that I know what I want my legacy to be as a dad, I can pave the road to it.
I want to show my children that they can build a path to whatever destination they want in life.  They can’t begin to build that path though if they don’t know where they’re going.  I know where I want to be and I know where I’m going.  I will take my children with me and teach them the same.  I have begun to learn what being a dad has taught me about myself.  I know that I will continue to learn, as being a dad is as much about teaching our little ones as it is about learning from the experience.


Didactic Pirate said...

Great post, Josh. And a great list of lessons. You had me at the second one: I was never afraid of outlets, sharp corners, tiny food, lockable cupboards, refrigerators, cars, or chewable/chokable vitamins until my daughter was born. I'm happy to report that she didn't fall victim to any of these, so I no longer worry about them. That's the good news. The bad news is that there's a whole new list of crap to worry about with every single age our kids hit. They're always fine -- we're the ones who need to get tougher...

Keith Wilcox said...

Hey, Josh. It's nice to make your acquaintance (If we've already met, then I deeply apologize because I don't remember) :-) !

Yes, When I became a father I suddenly noticed all the little sharp objects and moving cars. It's amazing how paranoid a person can get within the span of a few days (or whatever it takes for your wife to leave the hospital). And, I also agree that when you become a father your priorities suddenly shift towards the interests of your children. Very well said!

DadStreet said...

Hi Keith, No we've never formally met although we're following each other on Twitter. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post. It's great being able to discuss and share our perspective on things like this.

DadStreet said...

Glad you could relate to my post! Yeah, I totally agree how there's always something else to worry about. It's true, these little guys are so tough...

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