Honestly, Do Dads Secretly Miss Their B.C. (“Before Child”) Days?

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

A couple of days ago I wrote to you about why I am happier now that you are here, compared to before I was a dad: “Dads Are Happier Than Moms and Singles, Says Psychological Science.”

Today I am following up on that topic with what I believe is a necessary and relevant sequel, by asking the question: Honestly, do dads secretly miss their “B.C. days?”

In other words, do dads long for the days before their child (or children) came along?

I can only speak for myself here, but here’s how I feel about it:

Yes, I miss the days of being much less accountable and responsible as a human being in general; having more free time and having the privilege of being able to take life less seriously.

But interestingly, like I said a couple of days ago, I was missing something in my life back then.

I would say that most men (the ones I know, at least) are wired to want to be responsible enough to have a loving and caring relationship with their wife, and therefore, also to have a loving and caring relationship with their children as well.

For me personally, I equate being a faithful husband and father with the ultimate epitome of masculinity.

Do I miss the best parts about my life before I became a dad? Sure.

But I think that focusing on the best parts of how things used to be can be a foolish and dangerous thing. Instead, I know it’s important to focus on the best parts of my life now.

The thought of keeping you at bay in the dog toy section of Harris Teeter while Mommy buys groceries either seems funny and random or completely typical for a modern American dad.

To me, it’s an honor. I get to mold a young 2 year-old boy in the ways of the world. I get to teach what is “normal.”

Yes, it’s weird to let you shake a white dog toy named “Flea,” as you think he’s somehow related to Elmo.

(“It’s Elmo?!” You confusingly tried to convince yourself, despite the fact he had 6 legs.)

But if it weren’t for me in your life, who would be creating these bizarre story lines for you? That’s my job and I’m proud of it!

Tonight, after I read you Where The Wild Things Are for the 9th night in a row, I told you that I love you; as I do every night after I sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as your lullaby. (That’s per your request, by the way.)

This was the first time you ever said “I love you” back.

I would choose the best parts of my life with you any day over the best parts of my life before you.




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  1. by CaliCat

    On January 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I miss certain aspects of life before kids, such as going to movies or general peace and quiet, but don’t yearn for the way it was. I actually have a hard time remembering life without kids, which kind of scares me.

  2. by Chris

    On January 24, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Totally agree with you, Nick. And in the same way, there are times that I miss the best parts of my life as a single guy, but would still choose being married every day of the week. Good words, man. Thanks so much!

  3. by Nick Shell

    On January 24, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Chris, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts back with me. Sometimes I wonder if other dads actually read my blog, or if I’m just writing to women!

  4. by Nick Gray

    On January 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Sometimes I miss being able to be alone when on my laptop while my son continuously pulls on my jeans, but then I turn my head realize he wants to play and I forget about the laptop and go watch him learn, it’s awesome. So I guess the best answer is yes and no.

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