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How Being a Father Has Changed Me

by Deborah Cruz

Continuing on with the celebration of the 2nd anniversary of The TRUTH about Motherhood, I am excited to introduce you all to today’s special guest writer, Josh of DadStreet.com.


My name is Josh, I’m an East Coast Transplant currently living in Monterey, California.

I’m completely and utterly in love with my children and when I’m not drooling over them I’m doing one of the following: drinking wine, taking pictures, playing with my iPhone, listening to an audio book, trying some kind of new food, surfing online, sleeping, watching TV, yappin’ on the phone, and last but not least trying to spend quality time with “The Boss”.  Oh, and I’m extremely sarcastic so please note that about 92% of what I say is crap.  True crap but crap nonetheless…

I “met” Josh via Twitter and he is a really funny guy with a great sense of humor, a deep love for his wife and children and pretty damn snarkilicious for a Daddy. What’s not to love,right? So, if you are not familiar with Josh, please do yourself a favor and stop over at www.DadStreet.com and check him out. I would also highly recommend that you follow him on Twitter, he is a great conversationalist and will keep you on your toes. Thank you Josh for celebrating my 2nd blogiversary with me and sharing your TRUTH about Fatherhood!

My Truth: How Being a Father Has Changed Me.

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.  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 3 years and 2 weeks 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 will be.  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.

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Lindsay Dianne 2011/05/04 - 10:05 am

As usual, a great post by Josh. So honest and open. We all feel shortcomings, and we all question who we thought we were after we have a child… But not everyone comes to terms with the idea that they’re in control of who they are and how they react.
It’s been a steady, uphill battle for me to be as honest with myself as I am with everyone else in my life.

Truthful Mommy 2011/05/04 - 10:13 am

I loved this post. I love how aware he is that he is in charge of the whole thing. We make decisions in life and we can either be a victim of our circumstances or make the world what we want it to be. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the moment that we feel overwhelmed and forget that we need to step back, take a deep breath and make a decision as to how we want to proceed. Parenthood makes us into the people we were always meant to be.

DadStreet 2011/05/05 - 4:25 pm

Thank you so much for your support Lindsay! It’s hard being honest to others and even harder being honest to yourself! Well, at least I should say, it CAN be hard being honest sometimes. I’ve found the being honest in my writing really sets me free. It allows me to embrace reality and the truth when you can just let it all out there. Thanks so much for reading my post!

Bruna 2011/05/04 - 3:42 pm

Okay, I’m hooked! What a great post by Josh. Deb, he’s definitely a must read and I will have to add him to my RSS feed.

Thanks for sharing Josh and Happy Anniversary Deb on 2 years of a fantabulous blog!

Truthful Mommy 2011/05/05 - 9:13 am

He is pretty awesome. I loved the piece he wrote.

DadStreet 2011/05/05 - 4:27 pm

Awww, thank you! Thank you also for having me on your blog. I do get asked a lot to guest post but never take it for granted. Being invited to someone’s blog when it’s a personal expression of them is a great thing. Congrats on making it two years!!

DadStreet 2011/05/05 - 4:25 pm

Wow! Thanks so much Bruna! Great to meet you and I hope we get a chance to chat sometime!

Alexandra 2011/05/05 - 4:47 pm

How cool AND original are you?

Awesome post, and nice to meet you, Josh.

DadStreet 2011/05/09 - 5:54 pm

Thank you Alexandra! Nice to meet you too!


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