To say that having a child changes your life is a vast understatement, as life after a child is completely different. In fact, it is so different that it can be really hard to grasp just how much things are about to change before your little one arrives. It would be great if such a monumental life event came with an instruction book if you will, but parenthood is one of those experiences in life where you need to jump in with both feet and learn as you go.
Of course, there are ways you can make things a little smoother, and make that transition into parenthood a little less confusing, intimidating, stressful, overwhelming, and downright scary. Taking the time to make some changes in your lifestyle, have some conversations with your co-parent, and get into the parent mindset can make a drastic change for the better.
So, with that in mind, we’ve put together this guide that will help first-time parents before the baby even arrives, and then in the weeks immediately following your little one’s arrival.
Discuss What Kind of Parents You Want to Be
This may sound like a really silly tip, but in reality, there are many different types of parents and parenting styles. Assuming your partner feels the same as you without actually discussing it can lead to issues and arguments down the road. It’s best to have an open and frank conversation about parenting styles and the role of a parent before you even talk about getting pregnant.
Parents need to be a united front, and they can only be that united front if they are on the same page.
Understand That It Won’t be All Rainbows, Bliss, and Happiness
Having a baby may seem really sweet and perfect, but these precious little bundles of joy are an extreme amount of work in the first few months. It’s important to go in with realistic expectations so that you won’t be feeling overwhelmed in the moment.
As a new parent, you can say goodbye to things like sleep, eating at regular hours, showering, going out with friends, a clean house, clean laundry, and so forth. That isn’t to say it’s not worth it, but you just have to be willing to accept the fact that life will feel a bit out of control during those first few months.
Over time, you will be able to get the baby onto a schedule, and the whole household will also learn to adapt and things will start to run smoothly again. It just takes time to get to that point.
Think About the Financial Aspect
No-one likes to think about how money will affect your decision to have kids, but the reality is that having a child is costly. There will be all kinds of extra expenses that you haven’t had to deal with up to this point, so you need to think it about it in advance and position yourself in the best way possible.
You may also want to consider life insurance for parents. The last thing you want to do is leave your partner with debt. It’s not a pleasant thought, but if something should happen to one parent, what would that mean for the other financially? Life insurance can make it possible for the parent and child to stay in the home, pay all the bills, take time off to spend with their child, and can even be used as a college/university fund.
Prepare the Home for Baby Well Before the Due Date
Just because you are given a due date doesn’t mean that’s the date the baby will arrive, so with that in mind, you want to prepare the home well in advance. This means not only setting up the baby’s room, but also buying all the supplies and baby gear, getting everything washed and ready to go, and also baby proofing the home. Things should be prepared enough that if you were to suddenly go into labor that day the house would be ready.
There is also the fact that as you approach your due date it’s going to get harder to move around, and you’ll just be more exhausted. It’s best to get as much done in advance as possible.
Pick Up Some Baby Books
Now even though there is no manual on how to be a parent, there are absolutely tons of baby books out there that can certainly help you out. Find ones that match your parenting style and start reading them before the baby is born. It can help you to anticipate what to expect, the various stages a newborn baby will go through, and can make things seem a little less overwhelming.
Work On a Schedule as Soon as Baby Comes Home
When you first bring your child home, it’s a time of joy, excitement, and pure bliss, but it’s important not to get too carried away in the moment and remind yourself that your role as a parent has already begun. From the moment you bring your baby home, you will want to get on some sort of schedule.
Now obviously the schedule will change as the baby grows and goes through various stages, but having a schedule is something that helps both the child and you as a parent. A schedule makes it possible to plan for meal times, bedtime, bath time, doctor visits, errands outside the house, play time, etc. It just makes the day a whole lot less confusing and fly-by-the minute. A schedule also makes life easier for your baby as they will start to learn what their day entails and what to expect.
Life Is About to Change in a Massive Way
Having a baby is nothing short of a life-altering event. Nothing will ever be the same again, and it will change you in ways you didn’t think possible. With that said there are plenty of challenges and bumps in the road that you will encounter, so doing what you can in advance to prepare and taking those important steps when you bring your baby home will help life to be a little smoother.