I recently became a father, and I want to share the experience of having my first child and what I’ve learned about emotional control.
The World Welcomes Elizabeth
My daughter was borne September 6th at seven pounds. She is the joy of my wife and me, and we’ve been cooing over her ever since. She has steely blue eyes, a button nose, a consistent glare, and a pair of powerful lungs.
Of course, everybody knows that babies cry. A lot. Elizabeth was and still is, no different. This kind of drove me up the wall. Both my wife and I could not get any sleep, and this took a toll.
The hardest part about being a father is watching your wife go through the labor process then everything that follows. I can’t directly lessen the pain of childbirth nor reduce the labor involved in feeding a newborn. Between the feeding and the crying, becoming a parent has worn my wife down and that has affected my attitude and emotional state.
Sleep deprivation causes a multitude of problems including anger and impatience. I began to become detached and impatient with my family because I felt powerless to help my wife. Even though I am the sole provider, I cook the dinners, and I clean, she still has a lot on her hands with the newborn.
The constant work she had to do made me angry towards everything from the reality of biology to my daughter. I lacked emotional control. Thus I couldn’t center myself, take control, and provide direct solutions to the problems I was facing.
To improve my situation, I had to remember my training in emotional control.
The first step was to identify what I felt. No judgment, no hatred. I recognized that I was impatient and angry.
Next, I sought to identify what I was angry and impatient with. I was mad at the pain my wife felt as well as anxious with Elizabeth’s constant crying.
However, I recognized that I could not control Elizabeth’s needs and wants. I can’t make it so she’s not hungry or that she’s not tired or doesn’t have heartburn. I can help with diaper-changing and holding, but I can’t do everything.
From here, I recognized what I had control over and what I didn’t. For example, I could control the cleaning, dinner preparation, and being the only breadwinner. By focusing on what I could manage, I reduced my wife’s overall stress and allowed her to focus on the baby.
By taking these tried and true methods and applying them to a situation I wasn’t used to, I was able to improve my wellbeing and overall attitude. This helped me be the best father and husband I can be and continue along the path of becoming an individual.
Always remember that new experiences can shake your emotional foundation – even if you’ve been practicing. No amount of ultra-stoic or monk attitudes will adequately prepare you for the death of a loved one – until you’re actually there. Just remember that this is why we train. We practice emotional restraint so that when upsetting or stressful events do happen, we can bounce back quickly and take control of the situation, even if we need to silently mourn or distress in private.
We’re not robots. Emotions help us understand our thoughts toward a situation. We must always seek to understand our feelings and utilize them to improve our situation.
Read the following:
- How do you rank your emotional control? Are you good at controlling your emotions on the day to day or fairly terrible at it?
- Have you ever had a moment in your life that threw your emotional control for a loop? What was that moment and how did you respond?
- Are there any future moments, such as having a child or the death of a loved one, that you reflect upon when you think about emotional control? How do you plan to keep a leveled head and respond?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.