Parenthood. It’s quite possibly the biggest time in anyone’s life; you’ve got a child on the way, you’ve got a lot of rules and routines to set out and get yourself into, and you’re never going to be quite the same because of the little human who depends on you. As a parent, you’ve got to be responsible, whilst still being a little bit fun, and that’s one of the hardest balances to create!
But don’t worry, people have been doing it for centuries, and you can be just as successful in your own journey. And when there’s so many people willing to give you some tips and tricks out there, you’re going to be receiving support from all angles. Even years down the line you’re probably going to need some more tips on how to handle getting your baby to sleep at night, so don’t worry about making irreversible mistakes. Parenthood is a learning curve, and you’re always going to be finding something new out.
So without further ado, here’s some of the questions to ask yourself when it comes to deciding if you feel ready or not. Sure, you may never quite feel ready to raise a child, but you can know you have all of the eventualities covered, and that can be enough.
It’s a long road you’re going to have to walk together, and your child’s going to be looking up to you the entire time. (Source)
Start with Your Finance
The financial side of having a baby is one of the hardest things to account for, seeing as you’re bringing another member into your household and now have to account for their care as well. It’s something a lot of people aren’t able to manage, and it’s usually none of their fault considering the position employers, family members, and the government tends to put new parents in. But if you’re happy your little bundle of joy is on the way, and you know you’ll do anything to make sure they’re happy and healthy too, you’re going to get through this stage just fine!
So start saving, straight away, as soon as you know a baby is on the way. It’s going to be much easier to cover any rainy day or unknown costs from the hospital or other services involved in the pregnancy/birthing process when you account for these from the get go. Save as much as you can sock away each month without disrupting leading a healthy life and you’re going to feel much more secure by the time you hear the pitter patter of tiny feet.
Considering the questions: Are you going to have to take time off work? If so, for how long can you manage without going under? Can your partner, if you have one, still work or maybe even increase their hours? These are all scary questions to have to tackle, but the sooner you do the better the outcome will be.
Then Set Some Boundaries
When you have a child, and then you’re out of commission for quite a few months from work and other walks of your life, it’s very easy for someone to feel neglected. Most of all, your employer can feel you’re neglecting your position, and you’re not going to garner a good reputation out of miscommunicating your needs here.
Even legal action can be taken against someone who is out of work without the sayso of their boss, so make sure you never let it slip your mind to tell them you’re going to need the time off of work. An unauthorised absence can quickly turn up on your record when there’s no clear communication between your insurance company or medical provider and your employer, so don’t assume they know you’re covered for maternity or paternity leave.
Then set some boundaries in your personal life as well. Tell your friends that things are going to have to change if you tend to go out with them every Friday night, and tell your parents you might not be able to make Sunday dinner every week either. You’ve got a baby to take care of at home, and you’ve got yourself to take care of alongside that!
You’re more than likely to be exhausted at this point, and your partner will be as well, and that involves staying at home and recuperating. People’s expectations of you can be wild, so they need to understand immediately that your own little family has to come first.
Make Sure You Have a Sleep Schedule
As a new parent, you’re going to be missing out on a lot of sleep you used to really enjoy. The baby can cry at all hours because it’s hungry, cold, missing you, or simply crying because it’s learnt that’s what gets them some attention! So now’s the time to craft yourself a sleeping structure to make sure you can always be on call and not feel like a zombie the entire time.
Of course, you have no idea how a sleep schedule will work out until the baby is actually here, but you can lay yourself down some general rules about how to cope with a bit of sleep deprivation. Look into some of the usual newborn bedtime patterns that parents have noted down along the years and use them to get your plan started. Mostly, make sure naps are in the works and that you or your pattern are sleeping on a cycle (which is a Plan F, if nothing else works first!), and taking turns with taking care of the little one. Midnight and early morning feeds should never depend on just one person!
Being prepared for parenthood is going to take a lot, but don’t worry, you’re getting there! If you’ve got a baby on the way, it’s very easy to feel like you can’t cope with what’s coming, but you’re never going to know that until you try! And hey, you’re a parent now, and they can take on the world.