Having children later in life not only gives you more time to research parenting tips, but it also brings 10 times more unsolicited advice. I think it’s because people know you have done things your own way for so long that you may not be willing to change, and with a newborn in your life, it is going to change whether you like it or not. Maybe the advice comes because although we have gotten good at taking a deep breath, diving in and faking it, the look of confusion gives us away.
The biggest reason people gave me advice was because I asked for it. My wife is a “science” kinda girl. She works in the medical field, studied science in college, and other than 2 articles written before 1940 she’s read everything there is about giving birth and raising children. I on the other hand like the “pollster” approach. I would stop people with kids and say” Excuse me, can I ask you a question? My wife and I are having twins in February and I was wondering …<insert: where, how, should we, etc>” I once stopped a couple with twins in Walmart to ask where they got their double stroller. They talked for 30 minutes straight recommending this or that, or suggesting I go here or there. I think maybe they hadn’t gotten out of the house that much and talked to grown-ups lately. Happy I could help.
The worst piece of unsolicited advice people like to give is “sleep when they sleep.”
What? No, you do not have permission to slap them…but what I do want you to ask them is “should I take a shower when they do? Do laundry when they do? How about eating? When they eat too?”
Being able to sleep more than just a cat nap when they finally nod off is going to be next to impossible. There are dishes to do, laundry to get done, not to mention eating, cleaning, and heaven forbid you actually want to take a shower or to brush your teeth.
There’s grocery shopping for you and your spouse, there’s Babies R Us shopping for diapers, wipes, and formula if your spouse isn’t breast feeding. Forget about the trip to the barber, or dentist. Cancel your gym membership. You’re in it for the next six months. Oh…almost forgot. Don’t forget to email everyone pictures daily, or they will call you non-stop asking why you have yet to send any, and don’t forget the thank-you cards.
1. 1.You’re never going to have the amount of time you did before. I know it sounds stupid to even suggest it, but even your time to yourself is not your own. It’s spent thinking of everything you have to do for the little monsters next. When you get a chance to make a quick trip to the store, embrace it. Take a deep breath, put your favorite CD in the car stereo, and enjoy the trip like it’s your last. (It may be…lol).
2. 2. Remember: There is no dirt patrol! What I mean is, don’t be afraid to do chores in small sections, and if you don’t get something done, don’t beat yourself up. Not vacuuming isn’t going to change the world. Do small loads of laundry instead of making it a big to-do. Wash plates as you use them, or better yet, buy paper plates.
3. 3.My wife and I worked the nights in shifts She would have the off shift from dinnertime until midnight. She could take a shower, and hit the sack.Any time the babies woke up during this time it was “my shift”, and I would feed them, change them, put them to sleep, etc. At midnight She would take the reins, and until six a.m. her shift, and she would wake up to feed them so I could sleep. An extra hour or two really recharges the batteries, and once we started doing this, we started to see our sanity returning.
One of the hardest things to remember is that there is not exact way to raise a child. They don’t come with instructions…(not that us guys would read them anyway). You and your partner will find what works for you, and it may or may not be the way someone else thinks you should do it. All that matters is that your little one is growing up healthy and happy, and that its parents are sane in the process!