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How becoming a father changed my life: for better and worse!

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A Brojo member has asked me a few questions about the impact becoming a father (and settling down to get married) has had on my life.

In this honest video, I explore what I’ve had to sacrifice, what new joys have come into my life, what caught me unexpected, and what I believe all new parents need to be aware of. I also comment on how someone can know if they’re ready to have kids, and what kind of person is best set up for being a good parent.


Dan’s Top Resources

Books

Dan has 3 bestselling non-fiction books available in both written and audio form:

  • The Naked Truth, his latest release, shows you how radical honesty builds self-confidence and relationships
  • Nothing to Lose explores how to build confidence from the inside by correcting the programming in your brain
  • The Legendary Life is a very practical, action-focused guide on how to plan and execute a life plan that brings you your ideal lifestyle

 

Online courses

Dan continues to put out high quality online self-paced courses through the Udemy platform


Full transcript (unedited)

All right, lads and ladies. Today we’re going to be tackling a question from the audience from a veteran brojo. Member, Iman, and he’s going to be asking me a few questions about how life has changed for me since I had a kid. For I seem a little tired or worn out, it’s because I’ve just come back from surgery in the hospital, on my testicles of all places. So I’m not in top shape. But you know, videos need to be done. So you sent me a few questions. I’m just going to freestyle, my answers. I haven’t prepped for this. So I’m just gonna talk off top my head and see what happens. So the general question is, what is it like for you on the other side, having raising a family, so it’s not just about having a kid. But I think the whole getting married part, all that sort of thing, giving up my previous sort of single free life, if you want to call it that, for, you know, commitment and loyalty and long term plans. So he says his group of friends weren’t really into self improvement before they started their families. So just curious to see how your life, how my life has changed. And this brings up my first point, which is, I see, I think, in my opinion, way too many people, setting up a family doing long term commitments, having kids, before they even know who the fuck they are, right before they’ve even like established the basic foundation of self confidence of core values and morality, of knowing you know, who they are and what they want from life. They just sort of follow that recommended path, it’s a path of least resistance for some people. You know, I remember I was on that stream. When I, when I got to university, I didn’t really know why I was at university other than everyone went to university, and I did well at school. So there was just this natural next step. And I felt like being carried away on a stream, like I wasn’t really making decisions for myself. And the, on the other hand, I did you know, big impulsive things, you know, got myself and all sorts of data and stuff like that. Because I just go with whatever I felt like really impulsively and spontaneously, and those two factors combined, like, not making decisions consciously and just going with, you know, the cultural trends, as well as impulsively making decisions just based on whims, leads people to kind of sit their lives up very early on, and, you know, dig themselves into like positions that are hard to get out of like commitments, date, you know, having kids, marriage, so on. And they do this before, they have a fucking clue of who they are, what they really want anything. You know, a lot of people will, they’ll marry someone, just because the person loves them, and they love them back, you know, without even like enough time to figure out what we do well together for decades, we’ve only been together for a couple of years, you know, do I even know myself well enough to know how I’m going to handle a relationship? Am I sure that I’m not gonna have regrets about you know, playing the field and having some variety first, and so on, people make these decisions so early. And, you know, all of those aren’t so bad, except for having kids to bring a child in the world. What I see psychologically, is a lot of people have children while they’re still children. And here, you know, they haven’t worked through their childhood trauma, yet. They haven’t matured psychologically into adults. You know, they still handle life poorly. Things upset them, they explode. They don’t express themselves. Well, they require other people’s approval and validation to make decisions about their life. I mean, that’s like a child, or a teenager, they’re rebellious, maybe like a teenager, whimsical, like a teenager. And there’s nothing wrong with being like that, per se. But that’s no position to be raising a child, your child needs you to be at your base now, no humans perfect, and I’m not claiming to be. But I do think I am emotionally mature and psychologically experienced and trained enough now. To qualify for parenthood, to be relatively sure that I’ll do a good job of being a dead. And I don’t believe that I’m superior to others, more like just further along in my training, then some and others could get there if they did the same training. But I didn’t have my kid until I was in my late 30s. I know people who had their first kid in the early 20s I think back to me being in my early 20s. Jesus Christ do not give me the care of a child. I’m not really accounting would take care of myself. And that’s the case for most people. Not all, but most. So the point he’s making here that many of his friends kind of build a family before they had him worked on their own shit. It is a recipe for disaster quite often meaning here’s a reason that most people struggle, psychologically, is because their parents struggled when they were children. You know, they didn’t have emotionally mature, stable, psychologically confident parents, they had parents who were still teenagers or even children in here. And that’s what they are raised by. And you’re going to end up with trauma and wounds, in misdirection in all kinds of problems. You know, this is a reason that we want adults to raise children, they’re not children to raise our children, we don’t realize that just because you’re physically an adult doesn’t mean you’re mentally an adult. So what I’m saying might be quite judgmental, and controversial, harsh, even, I can’t think of anything else, that’s more true to say, several factors, you know, my line of work my entire professional career, I’ve seen the result of what we call bad parenting. And I don’t mean bad, like in a comparative measure. What I mean, when you think of what a confident, well balanced, emotionally mature person can do as a parent, compared to what you see out there, right, that were very few people meet that kind of idealized model of being a parent. And you might say, I’m setting the bar too high. The Frank law, just saying we’ve set the bar too low, I mean, we require people to go through licensing to drive a car. But you don’t have to go through anything to be a parent, right, you don’t even have to prove that you won’t kill your kids. Or you don’t have to prove anything, you don’t have to show that you have even the slightest bit of psychological stability. You don’t have to show that you can manage your finances well enough to support a family, you don’t have to show that you have a basic understanding of psychology, that will be to the benefit of raising a child, you don’t have to show anything. And unfortunately, a lot of people get into it before they have any of those things. And it’s painful for everyone involved. So I consciously waited to have a kid, even when I was kind of in my Insell phase, and it wasn’t really a choice. Anyway, I couldn’t have had a kid even if I wanted to. There’s part of me that knew I just wasn’t ready to be a parent, it would not have been fair to the child for me to be a parent. And by the time we actually decided to have a kid, I had crossed the threshold where I was like, Okay, now, now I can rely on myself to be a good dad. Now I know that I will raise a child, well, you know that I’ve got the understanding of human psychology to, you know, not interfere but apply the right amount of boundaries and respect and discipline, you know, show lots of love and compassion have time and availability to build a connection. Without being a pushover to have all that balanced out. And to know that I do a reasonably good job at it, I had to wait until my late 30s. Before I felt, yeah, I’ve got that sorted. Now, like I said, I believe anyone can get there. But most people aren’t there yet, in most people who have kids aren’t there yet. And having a kid actually aggravates their issues. As I’m going to go into, it’s very hard to start working on yourself after having a kid or at least in those early few years, where most of the either good stuff, well, the bad stuff was done to the child, you know, your first three to five years with a child as we’re going to do the biggest impact as a parent. After that their peers start to take over as influences. By the time they’re sort of 10 or 13, you no longer have much of a role at raising them at all. But if you’re all fucked up in those first few years, your kids are going to be fucked up. And it might be really hard for them, for them to undo that damage. Because you’re doing it before they have critical thinking before they have understanding reasoning. so on. So anyway, how was My life changed dramatically? You know, I’d say my definition of freedom has had to change significantly. I always believe freedom is a choice. In that mean, by that I mean, as long as you’ve chosen the life that you have, then you are free. And even if that life is forced upon you, you can still choose to choose it. Now I’ve chosen to be a parent. So on paper, I look very limited. You know, I’ve dedicated my time to being a dad and a husband. I am ruthless and portioning out that time. You know, I’ve had to say no to all the other things in order to create that time. And as long as I always remember that that’s a choice. And I feel free when I lose sight of the fact that I’ve chosen that. You know, those weaker moments I feel like I’m being imposed on then I don’t feel free. Whereas those lot easier to feel free before I had a kid because I can just do whatever I want and the consequences didn’t matter. Nobody really got harmed by my actions. Even when I was married, I didn’t feel a real loss of freedom because my wife and I were so One sink that there was really nothing I wanted to do that would have harmed or anyway, I didn’t have to compromise with a kid I have had to so I’ve had to deprioritize things, you know, I can’t just spend all my time doing hobbies now. I mean, it could be, then I’d have to be an absent father. So some of the things that have changed, he’s got some questions, specifically, how have healthy habits held up? Am I still having cold showers, intermittent fasting, exercising? For most of the first two years? No, it crashed and burned. I can barely find time to go food shopping. And now this was partly a choice. Like I said, I want to be a really involved dad. And it was partly circumstances, my wife was devastated physically and emotionally by the birth, she got hit very hard as a very strenuous birth, with long lasting ripple effects, especially physically. So she was almost disabled by the birth to some extent, and home only really, you know, wiped out by it. So in order to support her, you know, I wasn’t, you know, I was working and doing 50% of the parenting. So I was really doing more than my fair share. And the early days, you might say, well, not more than my fair share. That’s not how I’d say it. But I was doing more than half the work, because I was the stronger one. And I had to give up almost anything that was not completely necessary. I didn’t even have 10 minutes a day to do training. Or even if I did, I didn’t have the energy because you know, baby was keeping us up all night, I was getting two or three or four hours sleeping there happen for at least first 18 months. Things like cold showers and stuff. I mean, I couldn’t have a shower on leave the baby unattended. So that wasn’t happening. Intermittent fasting, you know, special diets, it will just been too difficult for us to prepare our meals, which is already a huge challenge, with me having some special thing that needs to be made up on the side and so on. So I sacrificed a lot to make the parenting bit easier for us. And at some point, that was no longer necessary, but I got into a kind of a rut of living that way. So even when I started to have some dim awareness that more time was becoming available and that perhaps I could be a bit more assertive about me time and things that are required. There were just for me, even though it benefits the family of course, I kind of was unaware of it. Or I just got into a pattern of constantly being there. Like one of the mistakes I think Lucy and I made is we doubled up on a lot of the parenting so we would both be there. For a task that only requires one parent we’d both be looking after cloy when one person could have been doing something else. And that’s because I got anxious with with Lucy’s issues that she had from the birth I got anxious and started to kind of over protect her. I wasn’t so much helicopter parenting as my helicopter partner, which was the old people pleaser me coming up. You know, this was one of the biggest relapses and trials I’ve had in my recovery is a nice guy, you know, to have a wife who’s devastated physically and emotionally and a baby to take care of, you know, my nice guy inside me was very, very triggered. You know, this was fixer helper stuff. People literally begging me for help. It was very hard for me to distinguish the difference between genuine giving and fixing slash controlling. And at some point I lost sight of their difference. I don’t regret what I’ve done so much. But I certainly don’t like some of the intentions I had. Some of the, you know, drivers and motivators I had been like, given the situation we’re in we had no like grandparents support, no babysitting, nothing was just us. And you know, one of us was decommissioned. I did the best I could. But I certainly wouldn’t recommend the way I did it to somebody else. Not that it was bad for Chloe, I mean, Chloe, my daughter, she’s grown up with all the signs of you know, very high self confidence. She’s doing incredibly well. She’s advanced for age and all categories. You know, she’s sociable and friendly and sure of herself and assertive and curious and learning quickly and so on. She’s showing all the signs of a confident kid. So she’s done well on this deal. But Lucy and I have suffered more than we need to probably because of some of those parents. So I’ve only just started getting back into it. You know, Chloe is about to have a second birthday. And only just now we’re recording. So I’ve only just started to get back into clothes about every second birthday. I’ve just started an exercise program. And it’s been interesting because when I started at first I had these major dental issues that like fucked up my ability to eat. Then I got COVID And then I had the surgery I just head so it’s like if there is a God he really doesn’t want me to focus on my health. But I’ve been strong and defied you know the excuses to give up. Now I am doing stuff like the fasting and the working out and all that kind of stuff, you know, in the gaps between diseases anyway. And there’s really no suffering from the other two because of this, you know, I could have done this earlier, frankly. But you know, once the kid gets sick, and everything is easy to keep up that bad habit pattern that once was necessary, and now no longer is he just getting into that rut. And that’s what happened. One of the questions he asked, Is life more stressful, but more satisfying. It’s a difficult question. On one hand, I’d say last two years are by far the hardest I’ve had in my entire life. And I’ve had some hard years. But also, I’ve had some of the biggest emotional highs of my entire life. And very frequently to like, almost every day, I get a big, like overwhelming sense of love or something during a moment with my daughter, or my wife, or both. That was rare or non existent in my life prior to this. And yet, in the same day, I can crash right down to a zero and just be like, fuck this shit, I don’t want to I want off this bus for the fact so unfair, meaning into a big victim state all in a single day, I can go from that high to their low. So I can’t say it’s the worst two years, because that’s not true. I can’t say it’s the best either, because that’s not true. I don’t know what to say. It’s almost like I’m living two lives, one of them is miserable. It’s the life where I don’t have time for hobbies and socializing. I don’t get any fucking sleep, just exhausted all the time. More disconnected from my wife than we’ve ever had before. And we had such a great connection. You know, there’s that side, which is just horrible. And then there’s the other side where it’s like, I’ve got this person in my life as my daughter, who’s like a creation that me and my wife put together and it’s just there’s no way to describe how awesome it is. To watch this thing grow with a personality and everything. You know, she’s funny. I don’t think somebody under the age of two could be hilarious, like sense of humor. Funny, not laughing at her. But she’s funny. She’s deliberately being fun. You know, and she’s interesting. I mean, I’m bored of her at all. And you know, to be loved like that. She loves me better than a dog can love me. Do you know what I mean? Like, because it’s human, it’s thought through, she doesn’t have to love me that she does anyway. You know, to have that kind of just unconditional love from someone that you created yourself. And you didn’t force it in and trick them into you let them decide for themselves and they decide that they do. I mean, is there anything better in the world? Really, is there anything better than that? I don’t think there is. I haven’t experienced anything that’s more rewarding than in my entire life. So all of that happening at the same time, quite often on the same day. I’m pretty worn out by the highs and lows. I’m not really an emotional guy. I’ve been numb most of my life. And since I started being more honest and working on myself, my range opened up a bit and incidence having a kid of the range has just been blown out of proportion. You know, I’ve cried more since Khloe was born and the rest of my life combined might currently be a weepy I am these days, why my stance still like once every few months, but for me, there’s still heaps in here I have these highs, like, I have sensations of love. They’re so strong actually hurt burns almost like acid. As just so wonderful. So it’s exhausting. What I’d say is, I would never regret it, I would never change a thing. I wouldn’t change a single detail because then it would change the outcome. I wouldn’t have Chloe exactly as she is. So whatever lead up to this, whatever how we went through to make this happen. It is absolutely worth it. But I’m not going to over exaggerate like some parents do. It’s totally worth it. Like there’s no struggles at all, like, everything’s made up for no, no, the suffering is fucking real. Like it hurts. You pay a high price. Some parents don’t. You know, it’s not the same for every parent, some parents, they get great sleep, they got two sets of grandparents to help out plenty of money. The kids or whatever good sleeper and like, does really well and all that and they just they’re crushing it. Good for them. You know, and I’m jealous of them. Really. I’m envious of them because we’re the we’re not at the other end of the spectrum where you go like say, a husband who bails on you and your kids a fucking nightmare or your kids got serious illness or whatever. We’re somewhere in the middle where we’ve got a great kid. But a really hard life around that kid. You know, we don’t have the support. It’s been really hard on my business. You know when I have to do like So much of the parenting, my business took a big hit, I just wasn’t available. I went from working from like five or six, seven hours a day down to like two or three, I just couldn’t do enough work, to bring in more clients and so on. And even when I could, I was so exhausted and distracted and you know, I was getting interrupted all the time, I just couldn’t do the quality of work that I used to do. So my business took a bit hit, which was hard on us financially, not not terrible, but enough to worry about, which is, you know, you know, need more worries when you got a kid. And in both Chloe and Lucy had physical problems early on, which was very stressful as well. So you might pay a high price for having a kid. And that’s why I say you gotta be ready, you got to be fucking confident, have your life sorted, know who you are, what you’re doing with it, you’ve got to have that space in your life pre preserved, you know, like, before Chloe was born during the pregnancy, we’d have these big, like hours of free time during the day. And we’ve talked about how this is times gonna be taken up by Chloe, we’re prepared, pre prepared that time. Whereas other people have a super busy life and then try to fit a kid into it. And they haven’t even like squeezed anything out. They haven’t de prioritized anything given anything up ever made space for the kid. And of course, they crash and burn. Anyway, last question was how much personal free time to yourself? Do you have what does it look like these days, or more recently, I’ve started to do more. You know, I like to play chess online. That’s an easy one to kind of sneak in, on the sidelines. Socializing a little bit, I don’t know that many people here in Chico just never got around to building a social circle since Chloe was born, but I know a couple of people. So I’ve had a couple of times out with them. And, you know, like I said, getting into health and fitness, there isn’t much I want out of life. Thankfully, I don’t need a lot of personal free time, I’m usually bored, like what’s everyone else doing. Because, you know, once I’ve read a book or played a game of chess, I’m fulfilled, you know, but their time is now available. And Lucy and I’ve kind of updated our parenting technique we’ve talked about, we realized we don’t need to double up on everything anymore. Chloe started go to daycare a couple of days a week finally. So it’s not just us all the time, and Lucy’s health problems have eased up. So I’m in a period of time now where I can be a bit more sort of self centered, and do some more stuff for me, which of course is going to benefit the family. And so once I recover from surgery, and all that, I’m going to have few hours per week, just for me to remain looking forward to and then hopefully that will convert into hours for me and Lucy, you know, we don’t have much in the way of babysitting or child care, but we’re looking forward to maybe having some dating stuff come back into our lives. So that’s what’s been like, it’s been a massive change in my lifestyle. But it’s what I signed up for. It’s one I was prepared for, I think it’s actually like Chloe turned out better than I hoped for. She’s used amazes me, I was gonna open just for a kid that wasn’t completely fucked up. You know, in the studio, I get this kind of Angel, even though she doesn’t sleep. And yeah, I’m just most of the time when I’m not having moments of highs with her. I’m sort of surviving and dragging along the bottom to join. Just waiting to we can get our head above water to glow becomes more independent before we can get more support for helping with air and soil leak sort of climb out and have a life for ourselves. Again, I can see it coming. It’s building up and just had to be Bayesian. Anyway. So that’s how having kids change me. Just just me being honest. Hopefully it’s informative for some people. And also, if there’s anybody out there who wants to have kids, and they want to make sure that they get the parenting right. I’m not a parenting expert per se, but I can definitely help you become a confident person of integrity. And you can rest assured that good parenting would come from that quite naturally. Don’t have to worry about techniques and stuff if you got your own shit sorted. It’s role modeling that is most of parenting anyway, so if you can model you know, being a strong, healthy, confident person, then you don’t need to worry too much about your parenting style. So those are my thoughts. Hope to help get in touch if I can help you dan@brojo.org See you guys next time. Cheers.

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