So you’ve done the antenatal classes. You went for extra credit and did the lactation consultant breastfeeding masterclass. You’ve sat through the gory videos, you’re written your birth plan. You’ve practiced swaddling a plastic doll with a droopy eye and no recognisable gender. You can flick the doll from the rugby hold to the cradle hold and back to the cross-cradle faster than an All Black. You know about tongue ties, lip ties, hip dysplasia, reflux, silent reflux and you’ve got a recipe for lactation cookies stuck to the fridge. You think you’re ready for parenthood? Well here is my list of the REAL things you need to do to prepare for parenthood.
The REAL parenthood preparation list.
Get a good coffee machine. You’ve just spent a small fortune on the pram, cot, bassinet, car seat and other gorgeous baby paraphernalia? I guarantee you a good coffee machine will be the best purchase you make. A good cup of coffee can be the difference between life and death in those fews few months. And I don’t know many cafes are open at 3am! Or that do home delivery.
Another tip on the coffee front – make sure friends and family know your coffee order. Seeing a loved one, coming up the garden path with a takeaway coffee cup is like seeing the clouds parts and an angel, straight from heaven, descending down to earth. Bonus points if they bring a sugar fix too.
Bookmark your favourite online baby stores. Particularly those who sell baby sleep aids. And do express shipping. When the sleep deprivation sets in, when the baby just won’t sleep, you will part with any amount of money for a gadget that promises to help your wee sleep thief go to sleep and stay asleep. Even that “creepy doll with a weird face that clicks and gasps for air like a dying zombie.” Many of them won’t work as promised, actually most won’t work as promised, but when you’re exhausted you’ll fork over the cash anyway.
Sign up to online grocery shopping. That way you can do your whole grocery shop from the couch, at 2AM, with a cluster feeding, milk sucker stuck to your boob. And, if you’re online shopping with Countdown, the delivery driver will send you a warning text message before they arrive so you can do a quick body check for spew and/or poo before they arrive. Or don’t bother – I can almost guarantee they’ve seen it all before. And probably worse.
Prepare to leave your modesty at the door of the birthing suite. Or wherever it is you deliver. I know that this is one of those often spouted phrases but it is so very true. From the moment you go in to labour you can expect to vomit, poop and/or wee with an audience. And that is fine. It’s better than fine – it’s fricken’ amazing! Us women are pretty awesome really. I mean we grow a whole new person inside us and then we pop them out in to the big wide world. And somehow our bodies just know what to do. Just go with it and trust in yourself and those around you.
Throw everything you think the baby SHOULD do out the window. This is a little person. And people have minds of their own. They have likes, dislikes, personalities and quirks. Your baby hasn’t read the parenting book. He/she doesn’t know what they SHOULD be doing. By all means, use the books as a guide but be prepared that some things may just not go to plan. And that’s ok. I promise you, you will make it out the other side.
Suggest your partner subscribe to Pornhub. Or Playboy (is that still a thing?) Because you are not going to want to do the deed for a long time after the baby arrives. And by arrives I mean forces it’s way out of your nether regions or pops up through an incision in the many layers of your stomach. Think you’ll surely be up for it in 6 weeks time? Think again. In fact you may never want to do it again. And when you finally do – you’re going to have to take things real slow. For most, that first time is uncomfortable to the point of down right painful. And that’s providing you can find a time that you and your partner are both awake and the baby isn’t.
Stand in front of the mirror, look yourself in the eyes and repeat after me: “Yes, I would love some help.” There, that’s wasn’t so hard, was it? Repeat it at least a dozen times a day until it just rolls off the tongue. You will need help. People will offer and naturally you might find it hard to accept. But there is no “New Mum Who Did It All Alone Without Any Help” award at any of the award ceremonies in the world. You can save your sanity by just letting those around you give you a hand. And who doesn’t love to help someone else out from time to time. It gets you all warm and fuzzy. So really you’re doing them a favour.
Here’s another affirmation for repeating in the mirror: “I am a good parent.” Let’s face it, it’s so easy for comments to be misinterpreted – especially with hormones raging, sleep deprivation, the stress of keeping a newborn alive and your life suddenly baring no resemblance whatsoever to your real life (you know, the one where you were an actual person and not just someone’s parent). Even a throwaway comment, on a Facebook page, written by a person who has never met you, from a country you’ve never a been to, on a topic they know nothing about. At some stage, you will feel criticised for your choices. And sometimes it’s only the voices in your head that are judging you. But YOU ARE A GOOD PARENT. The fact that you feel judged is evidence of that. If you weren’t a good parent you wouldn’t care. End of discussion.
So there you have it. My REAL list for preparing for parenthood.
What have I missed?
What would you add to the list? Comment below.