Hello Everyone! If you follow us on social then you know that we had a beautiful baby girl in January. To say that it has changed every aspect of our lives would be an understatement. When people found out we were pregnant they said all of the normal things: “life is going to change”, “get ready for no sleep!”, “you are going to love your kid more than you have loved anything before” etc. All of these statements were absolutely correct but I definitely did not understand how correct or how impactful having a child would be until I started the journey for myself. It has been a little over 4 months and I know that I am learning and growing every day just as our little baby is. Being a parent is fun, challenging, scary, and rewarding. There are some things that I have learned thus far that I wanted to share. This is by no means everything and I am definitely not a professional Dad but I am doing my best to learn as I go and get better each day. As the old saying goes,”Some days you win and some days you learn” (or something along those lines).
1. Communicate with your partner… A LOT. —
This is key in life and relationships in general but becomes paramount when that little bundle of joy makes her grand entrance. We are first time parents, we have never done anything like this before. We have always been free wheeling, kicked back, and spent a lot of time outside doing active stuff so with our new addition things got real different real quick. We took the classes, talked to our friends and family, read some books and blogs, but bringing a baby home is like nothing else so there is a high level of stress as things happen and do not forget about the lack of sleep. Things can get tense and emotions can run high. There is also a lot more to do so it is important to talk about schedules, needs, emotions, etc. Life changes and we have to change with it.
2. Do something for yourself.
When the baby came home it became all about the baby… as it should be. Once we settled into some sort of routine and began to feel a little bit more comfortable we began to look for things that would give us some time alone and together as a couple. I started running then doing jiu jitsu and once Amy was healed up enough we started to work out together again as well. We also put the baby down to bed and spend the evenings together hanging out and talking.We used to do absolutely everything together so it was weird to feel like we needed some time apart but that was actually not the case. I just needed some time out of the house and away from the responsibilities of taking care of our little girl.It was such a huge thing to take up a hobby and do something that was a part of my own identity and a personal pursuit. Amy and I are also taking up surfing so we can spend more time at the beach and teach the little one that it is important to do new things and get outsider as much as possible. The point is that you have limited time when you have a kid and it is very easy to lose yourself and your relationship to babyville so it is VITAL to do something for yourself and for your partner to do something for themselves. You cannot be a happy family if you both lose yourselves.
3. Be flexible.
We all have plans and an idea of how things should go but in my experience things rarely go the way that we plan, especially when a baby is involved. It takes longer to get ready to go somewhere, interacting with people when you have the baby with you is different, the ideas we had about how it would go with sleeping, eating, and managing our time were all different than we had planned and we would have gone crazy if we were not flexible. It is vital to just roll with it as it comes and keep adjusting life to how you feel and what you learn. That is a foundation of life in general but it becomes one of the more important things when you are living with a brand new tiny human who is relying on you for literally everything.
4. Do your research, get input, but follow your gut.
Parenting is like everything else in life today: every one has an opinion on what is best and they are generally not shy about sharing it with you unsolicited. There are a lot of subjects when it comes to children, family, and parenting that are emotionally charged and people hold very strong beliefs that they KNOW to be correct regardless of what you feel. It has been so important for us to keep a lot of our decisions to ourselves and our close family and friends and not let the noise in. We do not have a problem listening to a well formulated opinion but ultimately we will do our research, see what the science says and follow our instincts once we have enough information. What we do with our child is our business and no one else’s and we always keep that in the forefront whether it is our family or a stranger we are dealing with. We advocate for what we want and are not afraid to draw a line in the sand about things that are important to us. We know what feels right and this is how we have lived our lives thus far and it is not changing with kids. I am not swayed by the noise or the propaganda that certain issues have because ultimately we are the ones who have to live with our decisions. So talk to people, about the things that come up like: sleep training, vaccines, formula, breast feeding, developmental stages, etc. but do your own research and do what feels right for you and your family.
5. Have fun and appreciate the now!
We heard that raising a kid is HARD, it is STRESSFUL, get ready to NEVER SLEEP, your life is about to CHANGE, oh you like doing “X”? well you CAN’T do that when you have a baby. That made having kids sound like a drag and was one of the big reasons that we decided against it for so long. The some of our friends began to have kids and tell us that it was fun and that they really enjoyed it, yes it is challenging but it is fun. This made us change our perspective and honestly it is so much fun. She is learning every day and I am pumped to share things with her and experience the world with her every day. Like most things in life parenting and going into having a baby is all about mindset. It is a challenge and things do change but that is no reason for things to suck. We make sure to be grateful and to have fun, it has made it all so much easier to deal with.
One last thing… Almost every person we run in to tells us not to blink, that it all goes by so quick. In the last 4 months we have found this to be such a truth. Each stage flies by and when it is done it is done. Even the challenging ones, so we have been focused on enjoying it all and not wishing she would be different or grow out of/in to some stage. She will be 18 and moving out before we know it and we will be longing for the days when we could carry her around in our arms and she needed us for everything so we are intent on enjoying it all and being present for everything.