To establish some credibility: I am a father of two (currently) toddlers. A daughter (3 years old) and a son (2 years old). I have seen a lot and dealt with a lot from their infant years to their current toddler years. I’m still no expert, but I am sharing this for “soon-to-be” parents or “Brand-new” parents of infants. If I get relevant information that I feel I can add here, I will. So if you want me to add or subtract anything from this message, please let me know. Otherwise, see below for my story.
The purpose of this message is to offer some words of wisdom to “New Parents”. How I define New Parents, would be a person or couple whom are about to OR have had their first born child (recently). My advice here, is more for the parents that are not sure where to start on their journey in parenthood. This is supposed to be a simple guide. Let me tell you how I came to my experience.
I remember bringing home my first little one. For me it was scary because I had no experience with children prior to this event. It was scarier still because my wife and I didn’t really have anyone too close to us that we knew or that we were comfortable talking with. Eventually we figured many things out or spoke with many other people whom had kids (to include our own parents) and we learned lots of things. That’s what I wish to share here.
Keep in mind, this is only from experience as a parent of two children. Not a medical expert, a teacher, nor any other “expertise” that someone can get educated for. I’m merely sharing my success (and failure) stories. A Big Rule of thumb: ‘not everyone is the same’. This applies to everyone: adults, babies, animals, men, women, etc. Why I bring this up? Just because it worked for me, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you or yours. Also, just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you or yours.
- Stock up (no such thing as too many wipes or diapers).
- Research: techniques, skills, money savers, etc
- Meet other parents and make connections (connect with your own parents too, if that is an option)
- Have a plan (for almost everything)
- Wait until last minute to grab supplies (or order something NEEDED from amazon)
- shake the baby (REMEMBER this is the DON’TS, I’m not giving permission here)
- Trust strangers without having done your research (in some cases, goes back to “Don’t shake the baby”, I’ll elaborate more below).
- “Pinterest” everything
- Have expectations of your S/O (at least not without disclosing them to the other person)
So that’s my current list of Do’s and Don’ts and I definitely feel the need to elaborate on them all. If you are about to be a parent to your first child, you probably don’t HONESTLY know what to expect. If you’re about to be a parent of your first child and you’re married to the other (soon-to-be) parent or if you live with the other parent; you probably have expectations from your significant other (which, if not explained can be it’s own “Death-trap”). To explain a Do and a Don’t at the same time: ‘have a plan’ and ‘don’t have expectation of your S/O (without discussion); these both are the similar and different in their own rights and varieties.
You should always have some type of plan because a plan can be altered but it sets a guideline of what to expect. Meanwhile, don’t just expect your Spouse or Honey to do everything and hope they don’t expect you to do everything (it’s A LOT!!!). So my example goes to changing a diaper: the plan is to get the dirty diaper off, dirty area cleaned, and a new diaper applied. The expectation is that this will only take a minute, however reality is your child can wiggle, kick, fight and even make more of a mess during this process and that’s why you plan out your course of attack and also let your S/o know what you expect from him or her in certain events.
If he pees and it gets all over me, I will want you to take over and finish changing his diaper.
If her diaper is poopy, I don’t think I can handle changing it right now; would you please change it (the diaper) if that is the case?
Those are two situations that having a good plan and expressing your expectations can seriously help avoid relationship issues. I know I’ve gotten in trouble for not being there for my wife during one of those situations, which caused upset and more drama and at the end of it we both started expressing our expectations for those moments and that’s helped us out the most.
Other useful tips include doing research and stocking up. These can go well together as “Do’s” because not all products are the same even though they can be similar. Huggies and Pampers are both diapers, but that doesn’t mean they cost the same (research). Also, you might find some locations that are selling bulk of diapers for significantly less than if you bought them by the “Need”. One of the worst things you can do is wait until you’re out to go shopping for more supplies. Amazon.com is a really great tool for getting supplies sent to you (if you have difficulty finding time to go to the store). The biggest downfall, however, is that you have to wait for delivery and depending on how long you waited depends on how close to the wire you’re getting.
I know there are people who fear buying bulk for baby supplies. “What if my child out grows the diapers before she uses them?” Pinterest.com is a great place to help you with that question, but don’t get hooked and feel that now you’re a “pinterest master” and decide to make everything yourself from someone else’s ideas. My wife was there a couple of times, and it wasn’t always a good thing. Pinterest has been very useful for making things from overly stocked items and it makes for a good conversational vehicle.
My wife loves that site and has tried a lot of different ideas from it. I think, however, the best thing that has come from the website has been the conversations my wife has been able to have along the subject lines of Pinterest. It has helped her with making friends or building her already existing friendships. It’s important as a parent to make sure you have friends. People you can rely on and especially people who will be willing to help you with your kids or watch them for you sometime. You do have to be careful though, because not everyone does well with children. When my wife and I had our children, the hospital would not allow my wife to leave until one of both of us watched a video called “Don’t Shake the Baby”. This video was very important and might sound obvious, but the true purpose of the movie was to explain to harm of this act. Again, may seem obvious; but I am not a doctor and before watching that video I did not know the truth behind how awful it is. As a new parent of my precious child (now children), I didn’t think it was possible to even think about “shaking the baby”.
“How could I do such a thing to my child? How could anyone do that to their child?”- these were the questions that populated my thoughts prior to watching the film.
“I couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t do that…”- I thought.
I watched the movie and learned what kind of harm it does. What the after effects are (if not death). But also that anyone could do it. I might not ever have the thought or urge to shake my baby, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t trust a friend of mine whom has never been around babies and thus a higher risk of harm to my child. That was one of the biggest points that the video made. It is not always the parent’s fault. From this, I’ve been cautious with whom I’ve asked to babysit and I’m glad I was forced to watch that movie. That’s also why I include this information here. Because we don’t always realize the dangers that are out there. It’s not always a thought that crosses our mind. Sometimes, though, we should be cautious.
I have learned so much as a parent and I truly am happy to be a parent. Just know, if you plan on being a parent; it is not all sunshine and rainbows that some people are able to make it appear as or as movies sometimes portray. It requires a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice. If you have any questions that maybe I forgot to talk about here, comment on here or drop me a message via my contact page.