Honestly, I never thought I wanted kids. I’m a traveller, an independent spirit! A young man with friends in many places and no roots to keep me down… I have my academic plans, and plans to explore creative outlets, to see exotic places and enjoy the freedom to get lost. How could any of that be compatible with babies? Even when I used to imagine my distant future, children were absolutely not a part of my plan.
But time has a way of contradicting our plans.
In a few short years I met my wife, moved country, changed jobs, adopted two dogs and bought a fixer-upper home in the countryside. It’s like my life was put on fast-forward. All of a sudden, my mind changed. We’re not expecting yet, but have been trying for a baby for a little while now. I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life than my desire to be a Dad.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened, but I think it reflects a deeper shift going on within myself. There’s dormant parts of my personality awakening, and old insecurities fading away, I’m expanding in some directions and cutting myself back in others. As shallow roots dry up and the main ones grow deeper, like a wild shrub being worked into a young tree, I feel more solid, secure. Ready to bear fruit.
It’s funny, but since I wanted to become a Dad I actually find myself opening up to the more traditionally feminine aspects of my personality. This got me thinking: are these traits really just uniquely feminine?
Society expects women to be the primary caregivers, to bear the most parental responsibility. I think many natural instincts are being misrepresented as solely feminine, excluded from the realm of masculinity, and it’s easy to see how this is unfair for everyone.
For a boy growing up, the road to emotional maturity is blocked by toxic masculinity. Traditionally feminine traits are suppressed, even mocked. But now I am opening up to this more nurturing side: our dogs are cared for; and our garden is cultivated; I’m more mindful of my health. I empathise more, I care more, and I take great delight in being a source of comfort to my wife. Hey, I even enjoy pampering myself when I can.
And you know what? I am a more complete man that way.
I’ve been called quite a lot of things in my life so far, but more than anything I can’t wait to be called Dad. Some of my plans have changed, sure, but I am not obligated to fulfil the future of a man I no longer am. I will always have dreams and plans, and I hope they’re always changing, but I never want to catch up to the future I wrote in the past.
I’m happy with that, because I’ve found the father in myself and I can’t wait for him to come to life.