So I wrote a letter to a radio DJ named Ryan Jon who does the breakfast show in a nearby city, but since he’s a public figure, I have no idea of how to contact him directly and don’t want to be too stalkery so thought I’d just blog it and then send him a link via Twitter!
I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Ryan last week during a promo the radio station was doing visiting small towns around the edge of the city, I happened to be passing through one of the towns and popped out to say g’day scoring myself a fabulous tea towel and a selfie with the hosts for my troubles.
When I got home I looked up Ryan on Twitter and noticed he had a podcast about his struggles with having a partner that is very ready for kids and his own fear of becoming a parent.
The podcast is called: “Am I ready To Be A Father” here is the iTunes LINK or you will find it on Spotify or wherever non Apple people go to find their favourite podcasts!
Recommended listening for anyone with kids, thinking about having kids or was once a kid, it’s a deep insight into the personal life and struggles of this fun-loving always-a-joker-DJ, he is only three episodes in and has already interviewed two amazing people – his gorgeous girlfriend Brigitte and the one and only Jimmy Barnes. (ahh the perks of being a breakfast radio host!)
Anyways, on with the letter:
Apologies in advance for the novel here, living on ‘the rim’, I have no radio reception and can only listen to the breakfast show in the car when I go to town so had missed a lot of the baby/no baby conversations you have had on air. I discovered your podcast yesterday and wanted to write a short response but got a little bit carried away!
I had a plan for my life too, I didn’t want kids, certainly not until I was in my 30’s. I wanted to go and travel the world, go to university and get an awesome job in something medical sciency where I could go to different countries helping and meeting people. But instead life had other plans, I quit school, left home, fell in love with a roommate and got knocked up.
I remember sitting on the toilet having just turned 17 years old, holding the positive pregnancy test in my hands and not knowing what the hell I was going to do next. It was of course less than ideal, I wasn’t even legally allowed to drink yet, I didn’t have my driver’s licence, we had barely any money and I had just enrolled to go back to school and get my year 12 certificate.
Luckily I think I already knew I was living with the love of my life, he was my boyfriend and my best friend and while we had only been together for 6 months I didn’t doubt my love for him but I was still terrified, did HE want this commitment with me? Would we end up breaking up like so many teenage parents? Would we have to live on Centrelink for the rest of our lives? What about all the things we would miss out on?
We considered an abortion, talked about adoption and eventually decided to ignore societies stereotypes and let go of that inner fear telling that we wouldn’t be good enough and decided to have and raise our child together.
My point here is life doesn’t always go the way you plan it to, if my fears would have stopped me back then I wouldn’t have Liam, my now 15yr old sweet, funny son who is somehow already nearly the age I was when he was born even though it feels like yesterday. If I had known I would develop a mental illness I likely wouldn’t have had his two brothers and his sister either, that’s four amazing little people that have already made their mark on this world that wouldn’t even exist right now if I had let my fears stand in my way.
You have already lived an amazing life Ryan, you have travelled the globe, lived in various cities, worked fun and interesting jobs and now you have found the love of your life, someone that completes you and loves you enough to want to make and raise miniature versions of you!
From the tone of your voice it sounds like you really do want kids, the warmth in which you describe having that biological connection brings tears to my eyes, so the overthinking and anxiety disguised as logic holds you back. It is ok to be scared, fear is normal and healthy, but not something that should stop you from moving forward through your life, you will be ok, I promise! Like you said yourself, there is no such thing as a perfect time to have children! You didn’t have a prominent father figure in your life but you still had a childhood – and from growing up with your mum you would have learned the things you do want and don’t want for your own kids.
Think of the stories you will be able to tell your children as they grow, think of their smiling faces as they look up at you with admiration thinking ‘wow, my Dad has done so much with his life, I want to be just like him!’ From the way you talk to and about each other, Brigitte comes across clearly as your perfect partner and therefor the perfect person for you to share this next chapter of your life with.
Being the best parent in the world won’t guarantee that your relationship will stay strong or your child wont eventually become a drug addict, have a mental illness or be involved in an accident. You can’t prevent life from happening to your children and you wouldn’t want to, it’s part of the beauty of raising a free thinking little human being.
When it all comes down to it you can only do the best you can with what you have available to you at the time. You can’t control the way things turn out for your children in the end, you can only influence it. Besides, there is no such thing as the perfect parent – in fact most of us are making it up as we go along and it’s working out fine! Just go to the bookstore and take a look in the parenting section if you don’t believe me, there are hundreds of books; if there was only one right way to parent a child there would only need to be one book. Different things work for different families and different kids in the same families, if I can offer you any advice there it’s to try out what feels right for you and if it doesn’t work let it go and try something else, it’s all a learning curve – we grow with our children.
So don’t look at fatherhood as a sacrifice or the end of that spontaneous fun- you don’t have to stop doing fun things just because you have a family, your priorities will change naturally and you will start to want to do different types of fun things. You will have to find a new work/life balance, but that will be ok, you will welcome the change and you will embrace it!
Yes, ok I admit that there are times when you feel like you don’t know what the hell you are doing and you will definitely get less sleep, particularly in the first year, but you actually get used to it surprisingly quickly and then one day you blink and they are teenagers that you have to spray with a water bottle just to get out of bed in the mornings…
Ryan, the fact that you are talking about this subject so publicly is awesome, it’s a great forum to start a conversation and its proof that you truly care, it is that caring that will make you a fantastic Dad!