My husband and I were out with another couple the other night who are thinking about having kids. They asked us how we prepared to be parents. We both started laughing. Nothing can totally prepare you for that game changer, but there are certain things you can do now so that bringing home baby is not such a shock to the system. Check out the 6 things all parents-to-be need to do to prep for parenthood.
1. Buy a dog. One of the things we did during our naïve, childless days was to get a dog. We thought – that’s the perfect lead in to parenthood. While I now admit tha taking care of 10 dogs is probably easier than one infant, being a pet owner did help me in many ways. I had never been responsible for anything else before. It also helped get over my queasiness with poop. (Though really messy diapers still make me wretch.)
2. Set your alarm to go off every hour on the hour. All new parents hear about the sleepless nights, but you can’t really understand that very special kind of torture until you’ve lived it. I wasn’t even lucky to get a full hour of sleep in between cries. When my son came home, he was so colicky I got just 20 minutes of peace at a time.
3. Spend time with other people's kids. I am not talking about babysitting for a few hours. I mean volunteer to watch a friend's or relative's kid for an entire weekend without the parents around. That first tantrum will be a real eye-opener.
4. For one week, make sure to spill something on your outfit right before you have to leave the house. If you really want an authentic experience, fill a bottle full of formula and sprinkle it on a sleeve or collar. Or dribbling a spoonful of pea soup on your shirt can nicely mimic throw-up. Then leave the house. Once the kids come, it's doubtful you will have time to change anyway.
5. Buy a used car. You may love that brand new Mercedes like a child, but just wait until your own little one gets his hands on it. It will be plastered with finger prints, toys, errant Cheerios, and milk/juice splashes. Why not just invest in something that won't make you cry when it's turned into a disaster area.
6. Stop hanging out with your friends right now. The first few months after the baby comes, you will be too tired anyway. Afterwork drinks - forget about it. You have to rush home to relieve the nanny. For those times you are intent on making big plans to see a concert or go out to a fancy dinner, make sure you factor in the $50 to $100 bucks you are going to spend on a sitter.
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