Parents.com blogger and new dad, Nick Shell, shares how his priorities have changed since becoming a father.
By Nick Shell
After becoming a dad last year, I quickly learned that certain things in my life which were previously important had become nearly irrelevant. The funny thing is, I'm so used to my new state of normalcy that I actually forgot that at one point these things even mattered at all. So to celebrate my recent maturity as a dad and as a human being, I now share the top seven things I stopped caring about when I became a dad.
1. Drool: Today at work I looked down at my jacket and saw what appeared to be dried slobber. It's amazing how much I didn't care. Maybe there's something about changing so many diapers in those first couple months that caused me to not even think twice about something as harmless as a little bit of baby drool -- whether it's wet on my hand or dried on my clothing.
2. Sleep: At this point, my son sleeps from 7PM until 6:30 AM every day; but I'm so accustomed to those days of so little sleep for my family of three, that six solid hours each night is plenty good for me. You would think I would crash slightly after he does each night, but I guess I have to feel like I have some kind of life outside of being a dad -- like staying up until midnight to publish this blog post.
3. Watching movies: Watching TV shows is different because that is so much more of a passive event. Movies require a sense of commitment -- averaging from 90 minutes to two hours. Free time matters so much more to me now; movies just don't hold their value in my new economy of time.
4. What time I eat: Dinner could be at 6PM… or maybe 7:30… 8 o'clock… it's anybody's guess. Coordinating my son's own eating schedule along with putting him to bed for the night then actually cooking the meal for us parents and then sitting down to eat it; well, it's the kind of thing that just has to be flexible. I eat when I can, not when I'm hungry.
5. Being on time, in general: I can manage to get to work on time each day despite being the one to drop him off at day care. However, making it to church on time is a whole other blog post. We used to be the people who showed up to events on time. Now the motto is "better late than never." People seem to understand, though: We have the "parent pass."
6. Weekend plans: Does it really matter what I'm doing this weekend? Will I be getting any more sleep than a weekday? Will it be any more relaxing than being at work all day instead? I think I just answered my own questions.
7. The perception of being in control: I feel like B.C. (before child) I actually believed I had a decent amount of control over my life. Now, controlling my own life essentially revolves around trying to control my son's life. Ultimately, if I can keep him from chewing on the power cord to the vacuum cleaner today, then I'll gladly count that as "being in control."
What would you add to your version of this list?
This article first appeared on Parents.com. Check out all of our bloggers.