Longing to mellow: making the transition from performer to parent

So its official: my wife has begun her maternity leave and we are gearing up for a new arrival.  My workroom has become a nursery, my kit has been downsized and relocated and my diary has been cleared for a time I’d ideally like to take paternity leave.  See, I’m already learning to compromise what I want for my offspring.

Before the chaos begins I wanted to put down how I think becoming a father will affect me as person and a performer and particularly what the transition to being parent will do for two of my most major faults.

Its funny but when you talk to people about becoming a parent everybody becomes a storyteller.  They’ll gleefully recount horrific tales of sleep deprivation and dirty nappies to you.  Well there’s nothing we can do about it.  We can’t change our minds or run away from this; we have to accept that these things are probably going to happen and that things will change.

The problem is that to a point John the performer lives in denial (and that’s definitely not the Egyptian river!).  The boy who made a hobby his career and then blurred the lines between a lifestyle and a life isn’t altogether comfortable with his bubble being burst by a baby.  I’m a workaholic and I worry about generating work and the quality of my delivery a lot.  I can be pretty single minded about work and about doing a good job all the time.  This kind of micro-managing isn’t useful or healthy at the best of times and whilst my wife and family tolerate it a baby won’t.  Fortunately I am not so deluded that I don’t already see this.  Yes family commitments will mean I’ll have to be more considered when accepting work but that’s not a reason to press the panic button.  Reevaluating my work life balance is the order of the day and that’s a good thing.

I am happy to admit that I don’t know the first thing about being a parent but I have a busy mind which requires a focus (read more about my latest personal challenge here) perhaps focusing on something or someone else a little more selflessly will lead me to become more mellow in my approach to work as I see firsthand what’s really important in the grander scheme of things.  Yes I have to provide for my family but as a self employed storyteller I have a tremendous opportunity to spend more time with my newborn than most new Dads get and I need to make the most of that.   May be I will allow myself a break and some perspective or maybe I’ll just have something else to stress about.  Who knows.  You see, people have said how lucky my baby will be to have a storyteller as a father but I’d sooner she felt lucky because it was me.

So I say bring it on; bring on the sleepless nights and dirty nappies because whilst I’m definitely not prepared for a baby I am ready to give a performance for a lifetime as a Daddy.