Parenting author says children and parents benefit from dad's maturity. “Wait and it’ll be great. The best time for fatherhood is later in life,” writes Len Filppu, author of PRIME TIME DADS: 45 Reasons to Embrace Midlife Fatherhood.
Seven Rational Reasons Why Men Should Delay Fatherhood By Len Filppu
When faced with first time fatherhood at the age of 49, I didn’t know whether to celebrate with champagne or hemlock. But it’s turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done. I believe delaying fatherhood for most men would benefit the children and the parental partnership. Here are seven reasons why:
1. Live out your dreams, your fantasies, first.
Fatherhood is a serious undertaking, and if you’re overwhelmed with distractions of youthful unfulfilled desires, you may be taken under. Get your ya-yas out first. Family responsibilities at too early an age can make some men feel imprisoned. I might’ve paced the baby’s room, blamed my wife and kids for my confinement, scraped a sippy cup across the crib bars, grown resentful, then bitter, and planned my escapes. That’s not healthy for the kids or anyone else. So, live it up before children. Get it out of your system. Then have your family.
2. You’ll have more money later on in life.
Marriage and baby carriage is not a mercenary proposition, but the truth is, parenthood costs money. When you’re a bit older, chances are you'll have more money saved up.A larger cash cushion can soften the endless cascade of costs for baby paraphernalia, clothing, healthcare, kid activities, and the like. Lack of money is one of the single greatest causes of familial stress and divorce. So, be sure you can handle the cash before you do the delivery room dash.
3. You’ll be farther along in your career so you can spend more time with the kids.
Today’s workaday world demands that young men and women double down to establish their careers. When you add children to this schedule, overtime can overwhelm. The most formative years for children are in their first four to six years of life. This is when they most need a close relationship with their parents, both parents. Job longevity can translate to greater flexibility, more freedom of choice and time, more loosening of the job tether, even if occasional. You’ll treasure that flexibility of time to attend to the fascinating events ahead for your children and you. Enjoy the Thanksgiving play.
4. The psychology of maturity fits the demands of fatherhood.
Men age well. As we mature, we generally become more patient, more empathetic, less self-centered, more willing to give back. These are useful qualities to apply to fatherhood, and they will be tested, several times daily (“Pop” quizzes). Patience is a virtue learned over time, and frankly, you’ll need it when raising children. The secret to patience is empathy. Once you realize that your child is only two feet tall, completely dependent upon you for life itself, can’t perform any of the activities he or she watches you do with ease, and has a growing need to become an individual entity with intrinsic power, then you may be a bit more apt to smile and patiently help with the fourth change of clothes or read the same silly book for the tenth time or reply “After a while, crocodile” to the newly discovered alligator prompt offered endlessly.
5. You’ll be a more wily coyote.
We older dudes have been bloodied by life more. We have a greater body of life experiences that have exposed our capabilities and limitations, taught us our strengths and our weaknesses. We’ve learned, been burned, and we’re wiser. Hard knocks taught us to measure twice and cut once, how to get the job done, even when multitasking mysteries. As we live and learn, common sense becomes more common. And when you become a dad, you’ll be glad to have your years of seasoned experienced resourcefulness on your side.
6. Maturity allows you to be immature.
Youth is wasted on the young. We mature men know ourselves better, and for the most part, possess the perspective to look back at our formerly held-fast fads and fashionable beliefs with a knowing sense of humor. We can laugh at ourselves a bit more easily (maybe because there’s a longer record of bewildering personal behavior to inspire us). Are we fools, then? Au contraire, this willingness to shed decorum is manna from heaven for our children. Kids love silly play, the prat fall, games of make believe, the adult who can play Captain Hook to their Peter Pan. Your maturity is magical pixie dust.
7. Spiritual depth increases with maturity.
As we mature, many of us increasingly search for and require more meaning in life. We seek it in healthy ways such as spiritual growth and charitable endeavors, and we seek it in unhealthy ways such as flings, substance abuse, and out-of-control consumerism. Becoming a parent is arguably one of the most meaningful roles one can play in life. It’s serious business. Nurturing, teaching, and guiding a child through the passage of time is a sacred journey. The mature man may better understand, appreciate, and live up to that noble goal. I argue he’s more ripe and ready to move forward along fatherhood’s rewarding path from the poverty of me to the majesty of we.
Len Filppu become a first-time father in midlife. Read his book, PRIME TIME DADS: 45 Reasons to Embrace Midlife Fatherhood (www.primetimedads.com), Follow Len at Huffington Post Parents (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/len-filppu/) and at Twitter (www.twitter.com/MidlifeDad).
PRIME TIME DADS, the book
California, Palo Alto
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