Tue | Feb 25, 2020

I feel alive! - First-time dad says fatherhood inspires him to be a better man

Published:Friday | June 14, 2019 | 12:12 AMVanessa James/Gleaner Writer
Michael Reynolds tenderly holding his baby, Neo.
Michael Reynolds tenderly holding his baby, Neo.

Michael Reynolds vividly remembers the day and time when he officially became a father. He welcomed his son, Neo Jackson Reynolds into the world on February 21, 2017, at 9:44 p.m., and as long as he lives, he will never forget that day.

The first-time father described the journey of fatherhood as “a growing experience” as his son keeps him on his toes.

“It (being a father) is a fun idea when you see a cute baby on the road and think, ‘I want one’, but when you have one of your own and he comes home, the feeling is inexplicable. You know in that moment you will do whatever to love and protect your child,” Reynolds said.

He explained that his initial reaction to the ‘I’m pregnant’ news from his partner was numbness. He felt like he was not ready for such a responsibility.

State of shock

“Prior to being told that I was going to be a father, I was in a state of monotony, and I thought that I needed something to wake me up and give me focus. Little did I know that Neo would do that,” he said, “The news was shocking. I started to think about all the things that needed to be done financially, but mentally, I was prepared.”

Reynolds initially had fears that having a child would slow his progress in achieving all that he wanted, but the opposite is true.

“Being a father pushed me out of my comfort zone,” he said. “Now, I have direction. I have a plan and I have someone motivating me to achieve these goals so he (Neo)can benefit.”

The 27-year-old described having a baby as a journey that has taught him so much. “I feel alive!” he said.

It was not all roses, however, for the first-time dad. He explained that he had to adjust and keep adjusting to fit this new ball of personality.

“In the initial stage, I had difficulty with finding a balance with home and work life. I would leave early, come home very tired and very late,” Reynolds explained, “It took some time and some work to get used to being a father and having a baby.”

He explained that he had to push and educate himself to handle the stress and expectations as his absence began to affect his relationship. His only regret is that he did not have certain things that he believes would make life easier sorted out before Neo arrived.

“I just had to accept what was and stop fighting it. I was [torn] between family time and bettering myself, but again. I had to find a balance as both aspects are very important,” he explained.

Reynolds shared that his parenting style is a mixture of things his parents did with him and things that they did not do, but he wished they did. He plans to support his child’s craft and artistry, if that is where Neo’s interests lie.

“My partner and I are musicians, and as a result, music is always playing in the house, so we allow the baby to explore. There are not many restrictions, and we don’t ‘baby him up’; meaning we treat him like another person, and I see where my son has become so independent,” Reynolds said.

An Inspiration

He further explained that Neo inspires him to be better.

“In the mornings, it is as if Neo has a to-do list. There are certain things that he does when he gets up, and if something isn’t working the way he wants, he moves on, then goes back to it,” Reynolds stated. “This is a habit I have adapted from my two-year-old son.”

Having Neo also helped Reynolds as he explained that he lost his passion for music, but it was brought back with a force on that auspicious day.

“I plan to encourage my son in whatever he wants to accomplish, even if it is not music. I hope that in life I never take his passion away but encourage it and help to build it,” Reynolds said.

He said that his biggest fear is hearing that his son is hurt and being too far to get to him in time, but he said that he tries not to allow his mind to wander there.

“I love watching him grow, learn and explore. I enjoy watching him go through the different stages of life and the different milestones, and just revel in him conquering each of them with me behind him in case he falls,” Reynolds said. “I plan to teach him about life so he does not grow up naïve because the information is already out there, but with guidance, he should be fine.”

Reynolds’ hope is to be the best person for his son to emulate.

“I want to be my best self for my child because he is going to copy everything I do,” he said, laughing. “Actually, him start already, so I am super aware of my actions.”

vanessa.james@gleanerjm