Parenting


#1

I’ve got a little one on the way, due date is 1st of July.

We are preparing the house this and ourselves. I’m going to use a full half of my annual holiday allowance to get two weeks off when they are born. On the one hand I can’t wait and on the other we want to make sure we get some of the cool things we want to do done before.

Are you planning on having children?

What are your experiences with parenting?


#2

Read a bunch of books. Don’t trust old people.

If you are on the ball, you can pretty much do anything you want for the first 6-9 months. They are a just a lump that poops. Strap them to your chest and go about your normal life. Go places! Play games! Do all the things.

Know that there are good times and bad times, and the extremes extend themselves with age. The good gets better and the bad get worse. Cleaning a shitty diaper isn’t fun, nor is waking up at 2AM, but just get over it and do it. The good times of an infant aren’t all that exciting either. You get some smiles, some laughs, it’s nice. Fast forward, and now your lump is accomplishing major real-world things that you are so proud of (yay!) but also struggling with real world shit (oh no!). Enjoy each step of the journey.

Brace yourself to enter the world of “other parents.” Up until now, you have selected the people you associate yourself with. Now, you are lumped into a group with a very low bar to entry: unprotected sex. You don’t need to be friends with all of the other parents.

Make a list of all the things you learn, and all of the potential strategies you could be implementing as a parent. Should you be really strict about bedtime, diet, or any of a hundred other different parenting areas? Make a giant list of all the shit that seems important. Then rank it. Draw a cutoff line somewhere in the middle. Above it, you will be really strict. Below it, you will do the bare minimum but generally be lax.

Know that (especially in the early years), something that is “below the line” for you might be someone else’s number 1. This will probably be a dumb old person or another dumb parent, but it could be anybody. They will treat you like you are murdering baby for not being strict about item #72 on your priority list. Fuck these people. Disassociate yourself from them. Hold your line.

Maintain your boundaries with family. Don’t let them smother you. Don’t ghost your friends.


#3

Congrats on parenthood.

I’ll second reading books, but trust old people you respect and trust in general so long as they have parenting experience. They won’t necessarily know everything and some of their stuff may be outdated, but a lot of their advice will be helpful. Assuming you have good relations with your parents and/or your S.O.'s parents, then yeah, they may have good advice. Don’t follow it blindly, of course, but at least give it a fair listening to.

A lot of what you do in the beginning may be related to how well they sleep. You may need to tone down things if they are very sensitive sleepers who wake up to the slightest noise. Still, things like gaming and stuff should be fine.

Going places should be fine as well. Just make sure the kid is properly dressed for the weather and make sure you leave appropriate times for their naps and such. An overtired baby is never fun.

Find someone you trust as a babysitter. Again, if you live near the kid’s grandparents and you’re on good terms with them, they can be invaluable. If you happen to be friends with any other parents nearby, perhaps you can work out some sort of “babysitting trade days” where they babysit your kids for a night so you can get out and vice versa. You will need to be able to get out and be a couple every so often, hence the need for a babysitter you trust.

Read to your kid every night at bedtime, no matter how young they are. Get them interested in books and reading and learning early.

Set up a bedtime ritual and stick to it as much as possible. Our ritual was a bath followed by storytime and then bed. That’s not a bad ritual IMHO, but of course feel free to tweak it based on what works for you as well.


#4

My wife and I do not want kids, but all of our friends from college who we hung out with even afterward just disappeared into the aether literally the day their first kid was born. We’ve tried reaching out but it’s always “Sorry no time.”


#5

Yes, it is tricky, but you can sort of make it work out.

One thing we did was invite some of our friends to our house. It helps that said friends happened to like kids, even if they didn’t want any themselves.

That’s also part of the importance of finding a good babysitter. You may not be able to spend as much time with your friends as before, but a babysitter will at least let you spend some time with them.


#6

Nah, ghost your friends and don’t worry about it. Not seeing friends due to children arriving is just part of life. If people hold it against you, tell them to grow up and get over it.


#7

Well, I assumed “ghosting” means “vanishing from their lives without staying in contact.”

You can not see your friends due to kids having too much time without ghosting them. Yes, you can say, “Sorry, too busy, maybe next time,” when they ask if you’re available to do anything, and that’s fine. Just vanishing from the world from their point of view is not if you wish to remain friends with them.


#8

So maybe they aren’t going to be close friends for a while. You’ll probably catch up with them again in four or five years. It’ll be fine.


#9

True, so long as you at least nominally keep in touch.