Initially, I thought I would write this article from the point of view of a 22-year-old female (me) with a beautiful Yorkshire Terrier that she considers to be her child. I changed my mind for obvious reasons.
This will be a serious piece. As serious as it will ever get, because becoming a parent should make you tremble a little. Parenting is no joke. It is a mountain of responsibilities and an avalanche of trouble. Your first year as a parent will be the most joyous time of your life as a couple, as well as reinforcing the existence of hell on earth.
Although I myself am not a parent, I have very valuable advice to share with you which has been passed on from two mothers that I personally know. One is a close family member, and I have watched her morph from a young 24 year old woman into the courageous mother of an angel who is just over a year old. This angel is also now my goddaughter. Being a Godmother means that I parent her in some sense, which gives me experience and wisdom on motherhood that I otherwise would not have.
During the first year of parenthood…
1. You will inevitably miss some moments.
To start with the obvious. Despite the fact that you will be a parent for the rest of your life, as long as you live, you will be missing moments with your child and see everything as a milestone. You will want to re-live all these moments that have passed you by as your baby grows, but there are so many more exciting moments. Embrace it with everything you have and look forward to all of the future moments.
2. The child will drive you insane.
In a good way! You will be smothered with new feelings of love and affection. This will be like falling in love all over again and you and your partner will be jealous of each other’s mutual obsession over this child you must share.
3. You will cry because you want to sleep.
Take naps now, take naps when you don’t want naps, take naps when you should sleep/eat/drink. When you get sick of this regime, sit down and draft a new one with your partner. Make a routine with equal Mom and Dad responsibilities and a fair routine. That’s why you got married, after all. Anybody will tell you this isn’t going to be a one man job.
4. There will come a time when you just want to give up, and not necessarily see your baby as an angel.
Not all agree, but most do. There will come a point when you will say “I am sick of this sh**.” Literally and metaphorically. This will not make you a bad parents, it’s completely fine and is not a crime. That is precisely why you will need all hands on deck; your close and extended family members, long lost friends, acquaintances and maybe even colleagues to help you sub in during desperate times of need.
5. You will learn to be a ninja
Without any previous training, you will do backflips and tricks that you never imagined yourself doing. These are the superpowers that come with the intense responsibility of raising a baby. You will learn to walk on air and dance with no limbs and sing without notes. You will learn all the tricks in the book, and they will come to you naturally.
6. You will mess up.
Sooner or later, but you will make mistakes. This is completely fine as well! There is no way you’re going to know it all despite your impressive collection of “How To Be A Good Parent” books. You will fail at changing diapers, and fail at comforting your child and fail at being a good parent 24/7. But what should soothe you is that all of those things will be temporary and you will learn with time.
7. Your patience will be tested to the limits
This is debatable. My mother says that after just the first year, this will not happen. Your infatuation with this being will be infinite and for life. That being said, all kids are different. Some are chill for instance, I entertained myself wherever I was placed, and some are plain nutcases.
8. You will be amazed at how quickly their brain develops and begins to form a personality
This is by far the most fascinating one. You will become a scientist in disguise. Keep a notepad nearby because you’ll be amazed at what this union of cells from the both of you is capable of, and whose traits it takes after.
9. You might not start out with that motherly instinct
My cousin said she gave birth and felt like the child was a stranger’s given to her to be taken care of. I will not go into the details from a biological perspective as it will bore you, but at childbirth every woman is supposed to release chemicals that make her bond to her child. Like I’ve mentioned, not everyone that is touched by this gift. My mother was a protective hawk. She did not want her babies to be handled by anyone other than herself.
10. Your sex life will suffer
Don’t worry, the dry spell will only last as long as you let it. Your priorities will shift, and your child will become your new life. How you and your partner handle this situation is up to you and too personal for me to advise you on.
11. Every day will be new and exciting
That is a promise. No day will be the same and you’ll thank heavens for it. Babies change so quickly in the first year that you will weep tears of sadness when he/she is too heavy to be in your arms 24/7. Be prepared to grow with your child.
12. Four hours of sleep will feel like a blessing in disguise
Although this point may seem too closely related to #3, I mean to touch upon a different subject matter. Routine is everything. When your child sleeps, you should sleep. When the child eats, you eat. Or else see warning above. Put your family on military time! Just be thankful for technological gifts from the 21st century that will get you extra hours of sleep like washing machines etc.
13. You will become a cam addicted
Yes, you laugh at all those women on your Facebook feed now, but you’re on the fast lane to becoming one. You will want to take pictures all day everyday because you cannot possibly afford to miss a thing, as they are precious moments you will never get back. They will be overwritten by better ones, but the ones you miss you’ll just have to explain to everyone in words and risk coming off as crazy and obsessed.
14. Kids are expensive
Financial priorities are pushed to first place when it comes to having a baby make some vague plan on how you will move forward with how you handle money. You can guess, or you can plan a whole budget that will include everything and anything you will ever need. You might even have a number in mind at this point. Multiply that number by 5 and you might come close to what it will be in reality.
15. You reap what you sew
On a dramatic note – these are words of wisdom from my own mother, who said this first year will mean everything in sculpting your child into a human. Whatever you give your child (the love, the time and dedication) will be of the most vital significance for their development and it will be reflected in the later years to come.
Say no to TV! Read books. You’re raising an important member of society. Your responsibility to the human race is to build a little girl or boy into more than just that. So make them visionaries.