Becoming a New Parent

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So you’re sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting. Somehow seconds start to feel like minutes and minutes like hours. What will be the outcome positive or negative? Sixty seconds is up so you check… You’re having a baby… most people in this situation fall into one of two parties: “yay, we’re having a baby!” Or “oh fuck, we’re having a baby!” Are there really any other reactions to have? Nope, a new baby can either be a blessing or a financial grenade. I’ll be honest when I found out I would be a father, “yay” wasn’t my first reaction (haha). I was definitely in the other group. Being young and inexperienced at child rearing, it was scary to even think about.

But why?

The most obvious reason of them all…. Babies are expensive! Have you seen the prices of diapers? Or baby formula. Both of which are costly and babies just go through them like they are going out of style. If you’ve already had your baby for a few months or longer you know that they grow like weeds. Before you know it, the clothes you just bought are too small, they’ve switched from baby formula to baby food, and they’re mobile. The only positive thing about them growing so fast is that they start eating regular food. Thus dinner plans are easier. As they grow up the expenses go up as well. Birthday parties, amusement parks, movie theaters (don’t forget the popcorn). Then you have child care because you have to work to bring money in. Just so you know what to expect I pay $465 a month and that’s just for AFTER-school care.

On that note who’s gonna raise your kid?

The current state of the economy isn’t great, wages are ok, I guess. The rate of inflation is faster than the rate of raising wages so the dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to. It’s almost a standard that there be two earners in the home depending on where you live. Stay at home parents still exist but there are far fewer now than 50 years ago. If you do stay home it’s at the cost of second income and added stress. You can put your kiddo in public school. But there’s only so much a teacher can do to help raise your child in a class of 30 little humans. There’s private school but that’s just another expense to worry about. Plus TV and new technology are commonplace, so not only are kids learning from you they’re learning from outside sources too.

What about me time???

Me time… what’s that? Oh yes, when you can do what you want uninterrupted and without regard to anyone else. Yeah, that no longer exists, sorry. Not trying to burst your bubble but your child now owns about 18-20 hours of your day. Playtime is over, if you like to make last minute plans, like me, it’s not gonna happen. Traveling in general is harder now because you go from a 2 person family to a 3 person family. If you’re single, good luck dating. **I’ve been trying to date casually but eventually I’ll have to get serious with someone. The person I get serious with immediately becomes stepmom material, which is huge. which is a huge jump to consider. Oh by the way you’ll never sleep-in again…

Sheesh…

That’s a lot to consider right? Look we’re friends so I’ll be real with you. When you compare single/married life to being a parent, being a parent kinda SUCKS! It’s hard work, a huge time commitment, kids ARE assholes (you know it’s true), and you don’t even get paid. That said being a parent is one of the most rewarding headaches I’ve ever had. I’ve learned and grown more in the last 6 years than the 6 before that. My only real advice for new parents after everything that I’ve said already is: Don’t let your kids be your crutch. I often hear people say they can’t do something because they have kids. What I’ve found over the years is that your kids are your reason “why” not your reason “why not.”

I’ll explain.

A couple years ago I was working a job that gave me the opportunity to open my own franchise. About 8 months into my job there I was offered the opportunity to move and learn the behind the scenes of setting up a franchise first hand. Problem was the move was out of state and my support system was in California. Almost everyone told me that I shouldn’t go and should instead stay home to continue raising my child. I guess success and making a lot more money wasn’t worth spending 6 -12 months away from home to learn. Eventually, I convinced everyone that I was making a good decision. Moving and opening my own branch was a worthwhile trade off for a little time lost with my daughter. I was thinking about our future instead of our present and I wish everyone thought that way.

Choose to achieve because of your kids…

Don’t get me wrong kids ARE expensive. They are, however, a manageable expense if you plan well. Be smart about your current circumstance. If you just found out you’re expecting than right now is GRIND TIME! The first few months after your child is born is going to suck mentally, physically, and financially. You can only influence the latter stressor, so work A LOT. If you can pick up overtime, odd jobs, garage sale hustle, etc I would recommend doing that right away. Put away some extra money ahead of the child. Give yourself a nice cushion for all the little things you’ll find can add up fast. If your child is still young the grind isn’t over for you either. That is, if you’re willing to sacrifice some family time now to reap the reward later. As your child grows they’ll get more expensive. Do something now to get ahead of your future expenses, you will thank yourself in the long run. Of course this is all easier said than done. Just remember not to sacrifice long term comfort for short term gratification. If you need ideas for making extra funds click HERE!

Managing your expenses now, comes with other benefits as well. For instance, it’s not impossible to be a stay at home parent nowadays, even if it is harder than 50 years ago. Many people underestimate their ability to earn from home around their hectic schedules. TV and emerging tech make it possible to be much more efficient as well as mobile. I know TV is still a taboo for parents but if used correctly you can occupy your kids just long enough to get a lot of work done. This isn’t the 50’s kids are growing up in a highly technical and connected world. You can push back and try to replicate your upbringing but for how long? 5th graders are walking around with brand new iPhones. Pretend that the world hasn’t changed drastically in the last 20 years if you want. But, I promise if you embrace the world as it changes you’ll have a better time raising kids.

Speaking of tech, let’s talk about education.

Unless you live underneath a rock I’m sure you can see that the options for education have evolved. With Google and YouTube at your fingertips you can learn virtually anything and do it for free! Best part is that when you turn to online services for learning you get the most up to date info at hand. I’m not so quick to say that school has become obsolete, traditional school still works. it just happens to be late to the party every time.

Finally what I really wanted to talk about!

“Me” time is still available as a parent, maybe not right after birth. It’s just that you’ll have to reframe what you think a parent should do and look like. Kids aren’t the end of the world but you do need to find some balance between being a parent and being an adult. I’ve definitely seen people skew to either side so let me tell you how I balance. First off, I don’t try to spend every second with my daughter even when just at home. She does her thing and I do mine. Sometimes that means she’s netflixing and I’m Facebooking in another room. Sometimes I’m writing with my headphones in while she plays with her tablet in my room. And sometimes we cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie. We go to the park and she plays with other kids while I write or read. I don’t play with my kid at the park . Sure I feel bad sometimes especially when I see other parents out there playing it up. My goal is to raise an independent not one that can’t function without her parents.

Traveling is a major chore! That said, it’s nothing that started an hour earlier can’t solve. (Major key alert). Making sure they go to the bathroom early and whenever you have a moment will save you from a mad dash later. And for my single parents out there dating let me ease your mind. Dating sucked before we had kids, remember that. The only difference now is we have to spend more time getting to know someone since they might meet our kids. This is actually a good thing, nobody likes to have their time wasted by someone else. By taking the time to get to know someone before committing to them we create a strong relationship. Every relationship that falls through before that point is a blessing in disguise, so rejoice.

And that’s about it. I hope this article helps you overcome some of the challenges of parenthood. It’s a hard job and definitely not for everyone but it’s rewarding as well. Thanks for reading! ^.^

So how’d you like this topic? I’m always hesitant to write on parenting as the whole topic is subjective at best. Every child and every parent is different so the idea that there is a right or wrong way to parent is a crock of shit. Anyway I’d love to hear your feedback. Should I do more parenting pieces? Or leave it to the “experts.” Let me know in the comments section, see you soon!!!

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