Some say “Dad bods” are so in but personally I think having the ”Dad Life” has got to top everything.
How is it being a Dad?
Being a dad is great, at times it can get stressful but it has been the best decision i’ve ever made. Its not much different from being anyone my age. However the difference is responsibility and having to provide for my family. Being a dad means theirs no room for failure. Paighton has made me feel better than anyone can ever make me feel. Just being able to come home and see her smile makes my bad days at work disappear. I know now that you have to give to receive, for example when Carmelita got pregnant I made the decision to sell my motorcycle to save enough money for our daughter. A year later I bought myself a better motorcycle because we were financially stable. This process has taught me to put my families “needs” before my “wants”.
How did you cope with finding out Carmelita was pregnant with P?
There wasn’t any copping that needed to be done. I had to find better financial opportunities so that we could have own space to call home where we could raise our daughter as parents. I was very excited about this pregnancy, fear wasn’t anything I felt. The only time I was nervous was when we had to tell my Mother-in-law that we were expecting. Now when Carmelita told me she was pregnant my first thought was “oh my god this is real”. There wasn’t a option to feel anything but excited. Because I knew I needed to step up and be a man as well as a father. I knew if I was scared at that moment I wouldn’t be where I am today with everything I’ve provided for my family.
What was your experience as a teen dad?
My experience as a teen dad was very different from a lot of people in my situation. At first it was stressful cause I had no idea what I was suppose to be doing, than you start to catch on pretty quick because if not your world starts to spin out of control real QUICK! No one treated me different for having a kid at 19 years old.
Did you ever experience negativity because of your age?
NO, because everyone assumed I was older because of my appearance. However I did get negativity when the answer to the question “are you married” was no. It made me feel like I was doing something wrong but in my own eyes it wasn’t. It wasn’t me having the problem with my situation so I never responded negatively towards the people who thought I was in the wrong.
How did you prepare to be a father?
Financially I worked and succeeded in my ability to get and provide a better financial income. Mentally the way I prepared was embedding in my mental state that theirs no room to mess up. Theirs no time to play video games because you have to put that boy mentality behind you to step up. I made a effort to learn beside Carmelita in our baby class at the Pregnancy Help Center. I learned about how our baby is growing, how to properly take care of a newborn. But the most important thing is how to care and be by Carmelita’s side during Pregnancy and through labor.
How has being a dad changed your life?
Being a dad has changed my life in A LOT OF WAYS! Nothing bad has come from this experience. Friend wise you learn who your true friends are, because most people think that having a kid maybe a burden and they just want to have “fun”. Mind set wise it makes you want to excel at everything you want to do, it definitively gives you a stronger drive to succeed for your family. It made me look at life in a different light. Things that i thought were “cool” are now things I wouldn’t think of doing anymore. For example donuts in a parking lot were a fun activity but now as a dad I wouldn’t think of doing it because of the possibility of consequences with the law.
What has been the highs and lows of being a young dad?
The lows of being a young dad is that you have to grow up a lot quicker than your peers. even though i wasn’t a person who liked to go to parties, I know that being a young dad you have to at times give up doing what people your age like to do because you have the responsibility of putting your child first and taking care of her. The highs of being a young dad is that you have this little human that looks at you like you her everything. Just to see all the love she has for me makes me feel like the decision to parent Paighton was the best one I could ever make. When Paighton graduates high school I will still be young enough to do the things i want. I will be able to play around with my grandchildren and have many years to watch them grow.
If you could go back in time and change how your life ended up would you?
Would I change it? No! However I wish I was more financially prepared, the automotive industry takes a while to make some good decent money. I do wish that I went into the welding industry first because people seem to succeed faster and make more money. I don’t wish I had my daughter at a different age, even though the financial stability wasn’t where I wanted it to be I’m still glad we had paighton at the time we did.
What advice would you give a dad in your situation who’s just starting his journey?
Don’t let your emotions make your decision. Even though your scared “shit less” (that’s why most guys leave) you have to remember that so is she. Even if you remove yourself from the situation, she will still have to deal with the fear or nervousness. The harder part is that she will now have to do it without you. Even if you don’t think she needs you, she does for support of this new journey. Also when she gets angry while pregnant, don’t take it personally because she’s pregnant. Her emotions are all over the place, you just have to keep calm and a level head. She has tons of things going on with her body that she doesn’t even know about. This journey will be a bumpy one but just enjoy the ride. Labor is gonna be something that completely surprises you. After labor this is the turning point of when you truly become a dad. Because at this point your child isn’t in the womb and you have to step up to take care of it. You both need to set boundaries with your family regarding your child. You have to sit down and actually talk about how you want to raise your child. One of the most important thing is to still tell your girl that she’s beautiful! Her body has changed to grow your child!! And she deserves to be reminded on how beautiful she is.