Keeley’s March Challenge #21

Did Becoming a Parent Change Me?

It certainly changed my life!


Baby ultrasound scan from 2004
My eldest son’s first scan. Image provided by the author

Minutes after my first son was born, I was sitting in the hospital room holding him in my arms.

Then he opened his eyes and looked at me.

That’s when I felt a tremendous sense of responsibility.

Earlier this month, he turned 18.

When my second son was born about a year later, my sense of responsibility did not feel like it had doubled, which was a relief.

I’m not saying it was a case of, “Yeah, another one. Whatever.”

But I was already a parent by then. The change from not being a parent to being a parent had already taken place.

Having lost my dad when I was 22, I hoped my children would not lose their parents until they were much older. Tragically, however, their mum died when they were 7 and 8.

Given that my late wife and I were nearly 37 and 38 when our children were born, perhaps waiting so long to have children was not the best way to alleviate that worry.

My children have had a massive impact on my life. Everything changed from the moment they were born, and they became the main focus.

The parent-child relationship has so many different characteristics compared with other relationships.

Apart from the responsibility, there is the automatic, built-in desire to protect them and keep them safe and healthy.

I want my children to do better, and have a better life than me. Rather than feeling like I’m in competition with them, I feel happy when they can do things better than me.

Physically, being a parent has meant less sleep. Even now that they’re older, I still get up first and go to bed last. No wonder I’m tired!

I never drank alcohol to excess. But I stopped completely once my children were born because I felt like I had to be on call 24 hours a day.

It’s hard to know whether it’s being a parent or just a part of getting older. But I have not spent as much money on myself since being a parent. I buy cheaper clothes for myself, and I cut my own hair.



Alan (AJ) Autistic Widower

Former electronics engineer & programmer in England, 50-something with a dry sense of humour. Sharing stories & opinions. Tip jar: