New dad Frank Priegue breaks it down for the pre-baby crowd.
Parenthood is a life-changing experience, and I love being a Dad. That said, any parent, or more specifically, this parent is letting you know your life is going to change because you WILL make sacrifices along the way.
I knew this coming in—at least I thought I did.
If you are thinking about starting a family this is a must read—it will give you some insight on what lies ahead.
Pregnancy – You want a sneak peek on parenthood? Pregnancy is a good place to start. There’s weight gain, sleepless nights, and moodiness—and that was just me. Prepare for a rollercoaster ride of Lamaze Classes, baby registries, and unsolicited advice from all sides. I don’t know what was rougher—dealing with my better half’s hormones or agreeing on the baby’s name.
Don’t worry about the sleep deprivation—you’ll catch up once the baby’s born.
New Baby/Clueless Parents – The first days are a blur of baby bottles, dirty diapers, and caffeine (mine, not the baby’s). Bonus points if you survive without getting peed on. After a week of this your friends and family will want to see the baby. Hopefully they will do more than post selfies with your child on Instagram. Helpful hint, don’t be shy when someone asks, “What can I bring?” It’s a limited-time offer so forget the chicken nuggets and go for the big ticket items like surf and turf.
The Baby Tour – Once the baby’s older you’ll be required to take him on tour. This is done for the relatives who couldn’t make it to your home or were afraid of the cranky old man, otherwise known as me. Packing the car with the baby bag, separate clothes bag, laundry bag, (all stuffed with individually packed zip lock bags), stroller, playpen, and hopefully the baby—is time-consuming. I’m an experienced logistics guy who coordinated corporate events in every major convention center and hotel in North America, it was less stressful than loading the car for a twitchy mommy wanting to show off her pride and joy.
Air Travel – Is the Baby Tour on steroids. Imagine packing everything listed above in addition to your own luggage and spending at least three hours in a cramped airline seat with a squirming toddler in your lap. Sure the baby flies free but would it hurt the airlines to throw in a few free drinks? Travelling with a baby makes you long for the days when you travelled with just one backpack.
House Looks Like a Natural Disaster – Do you like an orderly home? Does your bathroom have cute little soaps and towels only guests are allowed to use? Does your living room come straight from the pages of Better Homes and Gardens? Toddlers change that in a hurry. Once they start walking, your immaculate home will look like the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy. If you’re lucky you may qualify for a FEMA reimbursement.
Sleeping the Night – Scratch this one off the list for a few years, there’s no rhyme or reason to a baby’s sleep patterns, don’t try to understand it, just manage it–like a pregnant woman’s hormonal outbursts. Haven’t you been reading anything I’ve written? If you’re lucky the baby only wakes up once a night. Of course, teething can change that quickly. Don’t worry, you’ll learn to function on four hours sleep.
Lazy Sunday Mornings – Sunday mornings used to be about selfish pleasures, a morning run, an IHOP breakfast, or lying in bed with my better half reading the Sunday paper. A baby changes this and those simple pleasures become luxuries. Sunday mornings are now about watching PBS Kids and chasing the baby around the living room.
Photo: Mel Schmidt/Flickr
And catch Frank’s column here every week on the Good Men Project!