There is no greater decision a man can make in his life than whether or not to become a father. A close second, should you decide to be a dad, is when to become a dad. You don’t want to be a baby yourself (and, let’s be honest, most guys in their early to mid-20s can still be babies), and you don’t want to be too old to enjoy time with your kids either.
From 1980 to 2021, there has been a 58 percent increase in the number of guys 35 and older who brought home a new baby, according to the most recent government statistics. If you decide to have kids after 30, this is what awaits you…
- Chronic Fatigue
You thought you slept a ton your senior year of high school? You’ll feel like you can sleep for a week straight once you’re a dad, and not just from the newborn, cry-all-night stuff. Also, the bouncing-off-the-wall toddler, whose demands for piggy-back rides will only be rivaled by the amount of questions he or she can ask. You’ll become the nodding-off-while-sitting-upright guy you’d once declared you’d never be.
- Dad Bod
It may seem all the rage right now, but that’s hype, boys. It ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Fact is: It sneaks up on you. You’re still eating the same, so where did this extra 15 pounds, all in your gut, come from? Sure, it could be partly due to less time to hit the gym, but it’s probably more likely due to finishing off those fries your wee one left behind, or the crust from their slice of pizza, or the fact that Chip’s Ahoy cookies are back in the house.
- An Overhauled Social Life
Not only will those nights out with your buddies become few and far between, but you might even be OK with that, as you’ll be more eager to rest on the couch on Friday nights once the baby has called it a night. But, suddenly, there’s a slew of new couples in your life… Some you like, some you don’t. And you know what else? Some who like you, and some who don’t. You’ll be seeing a lot of them, too, because their kid is either friends with yours or your baby mama befriended them at the PTA.
You might have been the most chill dude your entire life, but now you’re bugging out. Constantly. About at least something, if not everything. If money isn’t an issue, it’s the stuff you see on the evening news, and it potentially reaching your son or daughter. If your child’s health is fine, it’s the possibility that he or she will take a basketball to the face and break their nose. It can be all of this or just some of this. It’s hardly ever none of this.
- Less “Me” Time
Even if your child’s mother is the most hands-on mom in town, and your child the exact opposite of high maintenance, studies reveal that nine out of 10 men will see a decrease in energy, which can result in a decrease in productivity, which can result in setting the alarm clock earlier, and so on and so on. The result? Some of that precious time all to yourself, if not all, dissipates.
- Patience Decrease
Know that wacky buddy of yours who has an uncanny ability to find trouble everywhere? He might not seem as entertaining anymore, and the 3 a.m. calls to bail him out can lead to a falling out. A psychological study of first-time fathers in their mid-30s, with newborns at home, showed that their ability to be patient was cut in half. When given a basic puzzle to put together in a short amount of time, the childless man kept his cool—even if he didn’t put the thing together. The dads wound up tossing pieces across the room…
- Back Pain
A study of 100 fathers in their early 30s yielded quite an interesting find. A startling 82 of them reported having back problems, even though they’d never had back problems before. Whether it’s the playing horsey, the piggy-backs, the hoisting of the wee one onto your shoulders, or all of the above, aches and pains can be par for the course. Especially coupled with all that other lawn-mowing, leaf-raking, fence-painting fun that’s waiting for you in the suburbs!
I recently read an interesting essay that suggests dads in their 20s have no problem competing for their kids’ attention. But the fathers in their 30s acknowledged a degree of jealousy when it came to mommy’s attention.
- Low Funds
Even if you’re on solid ground job-wise, you will notice a depletion in the ol’ bank account. If not simply from baby-proofing your place and lavishing the heir to your throne with countless gifts, chances are good you’ll want to invest some of your dough, too, to hopefully secure your kid’s future.
- A Focus Shift
Everyone around you will go the distance to convince you that things don’t have to change. Not that much anyway. But they will, and they do. Debt reduction, increased earning, spiritual guidance—these are just some of the things dads in their 30s now focus on.
Although it might sound scary at first and seem like a challenge to you now, it will be the most beautiful thing. This new road is a beautiful adventure. It comes with many challenges but also with many moments of pure and innocent joy. I guarantee that your child’s first smile will melt you, that the first steps will delight you more than you thought. As for the first “daddy”, I don’t even think I need to mention it.