Children make you want to start life over. – Muhammad Ali
Everything’s in place. You’ve bought all the stuff you know for certain you’re going to need, all the stuff you think you may possibly need, all the stuff you have no idea if you’re going to need (but we’re playing it safe), and you have even bought some stuff you know you are definitely not going to need, but it looks cute. A presidential visit to your house would involve less preparation than this.
The days are going so slow. It wasn’t half this bad when you were a kid yourself waiting for Christmas morning. Now, you’re plain and simple actually waiting on a kid yourself. Before very much longer, your life is going to change beyond recognition. In fact, let’s be honest here, you can kiss goodbye to the life you know today.
Your life, very shortly, will simply not be your own. It will be the sole property of a little human being who can’t speak, can’t tell you what they need, communicates only by crying and the odd scream, and who certainly can’t manage the toilet on their own. Yes, give your old life one big smacker of a kiss goodbye. Welcome to parenthood.
Of course, as soon as you see your new little human being, your heart will feel, your love becomes unconditional, and it really doesn’t matter about the crying or the smelly diapers. It’s your son or your daughter, it’s the best thing you’ve ever done in your life so far (only to be equalled, not surpassed, by the next little human being that arrives at your house), and saying goodbye to your old life and placing your new one in their tiny little hands is a price easily worth paying. Again and again.
Ok, so the scene is set, and the director is about to call “Action” on your own version of the Parenthood movie. But before the cameras get rolling, here are 5 need-to-know facts for the new parent. In other words, the kind of information that will stand you in very good stead for the little human’s rapidly approaching arrival. Here we go…
Everybody’s Got an Opinion
From now on (and this has probably actually started since you issued the press release regarding your little human’s forthcoming arrival), reams of advice are going to be hitting you from every direction – your parents, your partner’s parents, your extended family, your child-rearing friends, your non-child rearing friends, the old lady who lives two doors down (and has watched every delivery of every baby-related online purchase as avidly as a stakeout cop), and people you don’t even know who stop you in the street, smile and politely ask how the pregnancy’s going, before unleashing their opinion on being a good parent.
Add to this all the advice you’ve found yourself through late-night chats with Google, new baby forums, books on parenting, antenatal classes, and you are now a very large encyclopedia of information that may or may not be accurate.
You need to FILTER! Otherwise, you’ll get buried underneath it all.
Lastly, this writer recognizes the subtle anomaly going on here. Giving advice about taking advice. So, feel free to filter this too.
Short-Term Planning is All You Need
I remember one occasion when my wife was pregnant with our first, and we were grabbing a weird mix of groceries (thanks to equally weird cravings) from the store on the corner. As we (no, I) was paying, my wife said, “We really need to discuss schools…” The exasperated gasp that came from me actually scared the cashier, who literally jumped. He must’ve thought I was about to have a coronary, poor guy.
Needless to say, there is no point in planning anything beyond just getting through the night with a newborn. Everything that involves planning for what comes after the coming weekend is really not worth the valuable energy it’ll take to just think about it, trust me. Yes, at some point in their lives, they are going to want a cell phone. Do you need to decide right this moment at what age they need to be before you unleash the world of instant messaging and social media onto them? Yes, you understand.
Constantly Changing – and Not Just the Diapers…
Your newborn child may sleep through the night from the very beginning (doubtful, but you never know). They may love bath time, and smile even when you take them out. They may love being held by their newly-discovered grandparents, or even by complete strangers. They may simply be content to be held by you, and not want for anything else. Or… They may not. The only guarantee you have is that whatever you think they may be happy with, it won’t last. It constantly changes.
Your little human being is a little person, a member of the little people. And people aren’t the same. Just think of everybody you know. Point proved. It’s the reason why there is no definitive guide to being a parent. Babies are different. Just when you think you understand their needs and wants, they’ll swap characters with a baby in another city. They won’t tell you they’ve done it, either.
Your New Family Addition Costs
Remember the stuff about short-term planning earlier? There’s an exception. Good cold cash. You may well have already spent a small fortune in every baby shop in town, but that’s nothing compared to what you are going to need to spend in the years ahead. One word:
Making sure your finances can cope now and in the future is a real need-to-know part of parenthood.
Change Your Lifestyle as You Would Change the Diaper
Parental responsibility. Now, that’s a thing. It’s the simple reason your life is now the sole property of your child. How you live your life from now on has to consider your new arrival. Do you smoke? Do you like to drink? Do you party like a teenager every Friday night? Throw a little common sense at your current lifestyle, take care of yourself and your health, detox your body, exercise and, guaranteed, there will be elements to it that need adjusting. It’s what truly responsible parents do.
We never know the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves. – Henry Ward Beecher
So, there you have them – 5 need-to-know facts for the new parent. Take these onboard, and you’re halfway there. So, remember – everybody’s got an opinion, short-term planning is all you need, your new little human is constantly going to change, your new family addition also costs so budget, and change your lifestyle as you would change the diaper.
Do you have any advice that you’d like to share to a new parent-to-be? Do you have anything to add on the 5 points discussed above? Please, let us know with a comment below. Lastly, enjoy this time. They really do grow up before you know it.