Becoming a parent is a big step, and it’s one that should never be taken lightly. You’ve got little human lives depending on you 24/7, until they’re old enough and smart enough to look after themselves. Even then you’ll find it hard to step out of that parental role; it’s a lifelong commitment, and you should be as ready as you can for it. But that takes quite a bit of preparation, and you might not have realized the extent of it yet.
You’ll want to have as healthy a pregnancy as possible, but maybe you are planning on adopting. Regardless of birth or adoption, parenthood is quite the ride. While there’s a standard idea of perfection when it comes to raising children, you’ll need to realize the script that plays out in your head might not be the one that really happens. Parenting is as much of a learning process for adult as it is for children. Trial and error play a big part in it too.
But before your kids are even here yet, let’s make sure you know some general ideas about how to get ready to become a parent, and what to expect when you’re about to expect!
Make Sure Parenthood is For You
It sounds like a silly and obvious question, but there’s a lot of couples and young families out there who have kids simply because it’s the next step in the traditional family process. You’ve just gotten married, or you’ve bought a house together… what do you do now? Of course, we’ll have a kid! But if it’s something you don’t actually want, you need to take the time now to realize and reflect on this.
Of course, not everyone is in the same boat here. For example, if you’re someone looking into Embryo Transfer, because your attempts at conceiving so far have not gone as planned, then obviously a lot of time and thought has gone into your decision. So go ahead and prepare for parenthood as much as you like! But if you’ve not even started trying for a baby yet, and you’re feeling some confusion at the thought of it, sit down with your partner and have a talk about it.
Why Not Practice Your Parenting Skills?
So framing the idea as ‘parenthood practice’ might be jumping the gun a little, but if you’ve got a family member or friend who has a baby or young child, offer to babysit for them. Surround yourself from the get-go with the reality of looking after a kid, and go for some bona fide practice with real children with real personalities and real needs. Not everything can be learned from a book or a post on the internet, and your preparations should reflect that!
Even just a few hours spent with a child can show you how hard keeping up with the wants and needs of childhood can be. While you’re here, you can learn how kids tend to interact with the world, and how they talk and find out information with their voice (if they’re old enough).
And while you might find it hard to answer the question of what your third favorite reptile is, it can be a lovely reminder of what you’ve got in store for you when you start to dream about interacting with your own children. Not to mention, if you offer to babysit now so a dear friend of yours and their partner can go for a night out, they’re very likely to return the favor down the line for you!
Determine How Good You are at Multitasking
If you’re looking to become a parent, you’re going to have a whole new set of responsibilities in your life, and those are going to stack up against the ones you already have. You have a job and friends and family to see, as well as arranging a date night for you and your significant other whenever you feel like it. And if you’ve got some wanderlust on your plate, you’re going to want to still be able to cross destinations off of your bucket list as well.
And kids are only going to complicate these matters, and your schedule is never going to quite be the same. But thankfully, if you ever do decide to have a child, they’re going to fall into a routine as easily as you keep to yours currently – work off of a timeframe like that right now to see how well you could adjust to it!
You’ll need to become a master at time management, and you’re definitely going to find some convenient ways to save time in the 24 hours you have each day! But remember, you’re going to need to factor in waking up in the middle of the night to feed the baby. You’re going to need to factor in picking your child up from school, and then taking them out to their club activity, or for a sleepover at their friend’s. And you’re also going to have to get up earlier than ever before to get them ready for the day or for school, and still somehow manage to keep to your own morning routine… and those are just preliminary time worries to think about!
Focus on Your Bad Habits
As you’re going to want to change them whilst you still have the chance! Not only will your bad habits affect how you’re good of a parent you’ll be, but they’re also going to be models for the way your children will behave. For example, if you like a cigarette every now and then, there’s a good chance your kid will see and want to copy you. Parents are always our first role models after all!
If you and your partner have a few bad habits, whether it’s going to bed later than you should be or eating some very unhealthy things at least 3 times a week, tackle the problems together right now. You always want to present a unified front against your kids, to make sure you’re always supporting each other and the authority you have around the house – now’s your chance to kickstart that facet of your relationship!
Learn to Make Time
Because your kids are going to want your full and undivided attention a lot, so on top of all that multitasking and trying to stick to a schedule, you’re going to need pockets of the day to spend with your offspring.
Your kids are little bundles of energy, and they’re going to be easily bored just stuck in front of the TV for half an hour when you really need a break. So make sure you’re ready to take on all that energy, and that you have strategies to work it out whilst still looking after your own energy levels. Simply, that means you need to get used to playtime, and all the benefits it brings!
You’ll want to go for kickabouts in the garden, or set up a dolls house and get all of the accessories and outfits out for the barbies to dress up in – overall, make sure you vary your activities.
Ready to Be a Parent?
There’s a chance you’re not ready yet, but you’re working your way there. Just be sure it’s what you want!
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