To my pre-parent self

Dear pre-bearded Darren,

I see that your stupid behaviour has landed you in a homeless hostel. I know you think that you’re only 19 and having fun, but sometimes the consequences of your actions are a lot worse than you think and you can’t blame your mum for not being able to cope with you, because you brought it on yourself.

But don’t worry too much because although you may feel that your life has hit rock bottom, and it has, it will get better. And you will learn so much from these experiences that will help you in your future life.

After a few months in the hostel, you will start to get your life back on track. Then, you will meet your future wife, although, you will do everything in your power to cock that up too… so maybe lay off the drink because it’s not worth the pain.
You need to be prepared for the loss of your Dad. Maybe try and deal with the grief instead of pushing it to the side because it will only come back at some other time.

The next few years will be some of the best years of your life and some of the scariest. You will grow a beard, become a man & get married to your best friend (no, not Jamesy!) And after a few years of marriage, you will have your 1st child, who will turn your world upside down.

You need to make the most of your child-free marriage years because once the babies come along, everything revolves around them. So, make the most of going out whenever and wherever you want. Enjoy going for a poo in private. I know it may sound strange, but it will be rare. Enjoy your clean and tidy house because your children will bring chaos and destruction.

Labour will be an awful experience. You will be scared and have no control over what is happening but don’t worry because everything will be ok & you will be a blubbering mess when you get to hold your baby.

Be ready to accept help from your in-laws when the baby first arrives. Don’t try and be all brave and say “I don’t need help with my laundry” because they are only trying to help. And let’s be honest you could do with all the help you can get!
Having children will take the focus of yourself and each other and you will bicker with your wife over silly things because you both are tired and frustrated. You need to support each other, or the boys will break you. Try to spend some alone time with your wife and go on dates when possible. Don’t lose all focus on your marriage because you still need to work on it.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that baby number 2 will be like the 1st one because he will be a completely different animal. He will cry and cry and cry. And cry. He will grow out of it, but he will be 3 before that happens.

Becoming a parent will be the most difficult, under-paid job you can ever imagine. At times, you will feel like you are just a servant to these tiny dictators. They will even refer to you as staff on more than one occasion. But you gave them your sense of humour so it’s your own fault.
Being a parent is most amazing, rewarding job ever. Your life will never be dull. It will be like having your own comedy show at times. Anything can be fixed with a cuddle from one of the boys. They will melt your heart at least once everyday, though they will use this skill to their advantage. Don’t try and kid yourself into thinking your going to be the strict parent because your going to be a big softie.

You will do everything in your power to make sure they are safe and happy.

So, my final piece of advice is, don’t focus on where your life is now. This is only the start of your journey. The road won’t be smooth, but the bumps will shape you into the man, husband & father that you are today.

Don’t give up.

All the best,
Bearded Darren

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