Punk Rock Papa ran into a soon-to-be dad. It inspired him to lay down this practical guide.
The other day, on Facebook, a friend was nice enough to do a little promotion of Punk Rock Papa to a soon-to-be dad of twins. A brief back and forth with the man brought me back to before kids, hearing the news that my life would change forever. I don’t know if I was as worried as this man was, and if I was I wouldn’t admit it, but there is a definite fear of the unknown going into parenthood. Rather than let him know there are worse things out there than whether your kids have a place to ride their bikes, I told him to breathe.
We all need to breathe sometimes. A lot of parenting is living in the moment. When our kids are babies that can’t move we go on and on about how we can’t wait until they crawl and walk and such. Then, when it happens, we yearn for our sweet snuggle buddies to go back to being completely dependent on us. In that first year or two of parenting, most of us learn our lesson about looking too far ahead.
If you spend all your time worrying about whats next, how do you fully enjoy the now?
Before going on, be warned that there is all sorts of unsolicited advice coming your way.
Another thing that stood out to me in this conversation was that the man said nothing he read in preparation has helped him.
Well, not that this will help anymore than anything else and there is definite irony in giving advice to not take advice, there is no true parenting guide. There is a lot, A LOT, of advice out there. All should be taken with a grain of salt. Except my advice. Take it with a grain of sugar ‘cuz these are sweet truths. There is a small library of parenting books at my house, including but not limited to; What To Expect When You’re Expecting, When You’re Expecting Twins Triplets or Quads, Juggling Twins, The Complete Handbook for Expectant Fathers, Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads.
Out of all the books read on parenting, Be Prepared was the best. It tied humor into useful dad information. It was what you would call “funny and informative” and if they are ever looking to update it with a new edition and a young hot shot blogger with funny helpful information I might be available. It is the type of parent guide I could see myself writing, if given the chance. Please.
That being said, I don’t know that I have used a lot of the information from it. The thing I did take from it was that you could still have fun. Having kids isn’t a death sentence. While I enjoyed the reading for what it was, it hasn’t necessarily been put into application. It was just a good, fun, read.
You can’t learn how to parent at the library. You can read until your eyes are shaking but until you do it you don’t know what you are getting into. Books can be moderately helpful, but the book on flying planes I read doesn’t make me a pilot.
Practice makes the parent.
Let’s go through the obvious for new parents. If these don’t make you go, “Well duh” maybe consider not being a parent.
- Don’t shake your baby violently to make it stop crying.
- Don’t leave your baby in a car unattended.
- Don’t starve your baby.
- Don’t drop your baby. (this will happen, don’t do it on purpose.)
That isn’t so hard to follow, right? Bonus parent tip: Don’t drown your kid.
When the twins came into this world, unexpectedly and dangerously thanks to HELLPS, I ran to my precious library of knowledge. Checking glossary after glossary I finally found HELLPS Syndrome in What To Expect When You’re Expecting. They had dedicated a whole paragraph to it.
This post is longer than their section on HELLPS.
Life is filled with the unexpected.
Worry about blowouts and whether people mean it when they say your kid looks adorable.
Don’t look forward, as hard as it is not to, just don’t do it. Life is the shortest/longest thing ever. Do you really want to spend the years in the future looking at how much you missed in the past because you were busy looking towards the future. Confused? Me too, just stop thinking about it. The future that is. And this section, too.
There is a simple routine for a baby. When the baby cries, go into this cycle.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Go through the cycle as many times as your baby needs to calm down and go to sleep. Don’t worry about having to hit the cycle a few times, everyone does it. If your baby is pushing you into that territory where you want to add violent shakes to the cycle there is this wonderful thing you can do instead. Walk away. The best part is stupid babies don’t know how to move so it won’t give chase. Seriously, take breathers when needed. Your baby is crying, not dying. They are going to cry with you there so why not go to the fridge and grab a cold one before hitting the BDP cycle again.
Diapers! Do you know how to put one on a baby? Just make sure the liner covers their butt, I really don’t see what is hard about it.
Blowouts! Onesies have these cool shoulders on them designed to roll them right down your exploded nasty baby’s body. toss it with the diaper and run child under a sink. Sitting there using half a case of wipes is futile. just let the poop mess run down the sink along with your youth.
What else is there? If your kid is sleeping, whether it is in a crib or a pile of unfolded clothes, leave them alone unless you want to play the BDP cycle game with a pissed off cranky child.
Cherish your child and the moments you have with them. I can’t state that enough.
Parent for your kid, not your peers.
No one is going to give you a gold star for good parenting. Also, no one is going to parent for you and even less are going to babysit for you so their opinions don’t matter. It is YOUR child. As YOUR child’s parent you are responsible for doing what you think is best for, you guessed it, YOUR child. If you are parenting to the best of your ability then chances are you are doing a good job. People who might look down on you or disagree with your parenting can take their complaints, spit on them, sit on them, and make them disappear.
The best parenting method? Easy, be a Transformer. Preferably an Autobot. Have the ability to transform into a helicopter if need be. Also, be aware that sometimes you have to stand back and let your little guy (or girl) roll out on their own. Transformer Parenting by Dr. Optimus Prime.
Breathe, you have got this. No matter what anyone else might think or what you sometimes think yourself. You got this and will rise to the occasion without even realizing you are doing so. Look in the mirror, new parent, and repeat after me- “I am going to parent the fuck out of this kid”
You ready? Yeah, you’re ready.
Lastly, if you are ever lost in this crazy parenting thing- this is the golden rule:
Fake it until you make it.
Originally appeared on Punk Rock Papa.
Photo: Flickr/Dawn Bienkowski