Post # 1
So, over a lovely dinner out last night, my husband and I finally had the “when do we start making a family?” discussion. Our lives have been so unpredictable and somehow in a year we ended up exactly where we wanted to be 5 years from now. Our goal was to live in the woods, run our business in a small town, and be close to my family. Well, we’re there. The only minor difference is I was hoping we would OWN our house in the woods rather than rent. But should that really matter? This house is amazing and raising a kid here would make for some awesome memories. If we tried to buy right now, we wouldn’t get close to the amount of property and seclusion we have in our rental.
We’re planning to start trying in 2016. That gives us two years to really prepare for becoming parents.
Where do I start? I’m not one of those intuitive-motherly-women. I don’t think I ever changed a diaper in my life. My first instinct is to read every book I can find and replace all the old carpets in this house. I don’t know how to prioritize. I keep thinking of random things I have no clue about, like what are the nutritional goals for a baby? Do they require a certain amount of calories? How many times can a baby spit up before you have to worry that they’re sick? I don’t even have a clue about prenatal care…
I have two years to mentally prepare and to physically make this house a home for a baby. I am excited and terrified all at once. I want to create a little life with my husband but I also want to be a little bit confident that I know what I’m doing.
What did you do to prepare for a baby? Did you read books? Did you buy a house? Did you research schools and child care? Did you call your doctor every ten minutes?
Any guidence would be greatly appreciated!
Post # 4
I’ve worked at a daycare for 4 years, and am also planning to start TTC in 2016. Honestly, you learn as you go. No matter how much you read or prepare, every baby is different and only you will know all about your baby. I’m not doing anything to prepare besides stopping BC next year, but then again I’ve changed thousands on diapers and take care of 6 week olds every day. It’s actually really easy to pick up on. I’m only 20 but I feel 110% comfortable raising a baby. Just do your best and give them love and you will figure it out as you go! Good luck!
Post # 5
@Mrs.Metalm: We happened to own a home before having a baby, but we’d be fine with renting. We’re haven’t done anything special to the house that wouldn’t have done otherwise. I have read a few books on motherhood as a general topic, but I didn’t read any pregnacy or baby books. Since I’ve gotten pregnant, I’ve read one book on birth and watch a few documentaries. I feel pretty confident about raising a child, since I’ve always worked with kids. Several close friends of mine have children or are pregnant now too. I do plan to take a birth class and newborn care class once I’m in my second or third trimester, mostly for the benefit of my husband. I felt like a total crazy person, but the same DAY I found out I was pregnant, I got on the waiting list for a daycare, because infant care is really limited in my area.
I do think 2 years is TONS of time to get ready, but people always say you’re never REALLY prepared for a child to enter your life, no matter how many classes you’ve taken or books you’ve read. One thing you can start doing today is getting really, really serious about working with a budget, getting rid of debt and building savings. We started this summer, but I wish we had started sooner!
Post # 6
@Mrs.Metalm: Here is what I did (we are trying in Octoberish and have had a Fall 2014 timeline for about 2 years):
– Get healthy. Fit women have easier pregnancies, childbirths, and recoveries than out of shape women. I would start working out and eating healthier.
– Start taking pre-natals or a general multivitamin with folic acid. It is seriously never too early to start.
– Talk to moms with babies (who you trust). I found out a ton about breastfeeding and why it is a good idea, as well as what they are relaxed about. Everyone has different styles, so don’t be afraid to ask your friends/coworkers questions and learn from them. They can also teach you how to change a diaper.
– Babysit kids. Ask your inlaws or friends if you can take their kids for a few hours. It helps you and DH figure out your parenting style. DH is a much better parent than I am– it comes naturally to him. When we take his nephews out, he is a natural and I learn how to interact with small humans.
– Work through a bucketlist of things you can’t really do with kids. We are running marathons (3 hour training runs + naps are just not feasible with a young child) and traveling to contries we wouldn’t bring small kids to. We are also drinking a lot of good wine that will be off limits for awhile.
– Train your work to be flexible. I have spent the past year working to convince my coworkers and contractors that they will do just fine without me in the office– I have a cell phone and home phone and I can easily check email. We travel internationally a lot (without our phones working and where I am forbidden from checking work email) and they learn that they are 100% capable of solving problems themselves. This will prepare them for maternity leave.
– Come up with about 15 great crockpot recipes (where you can freeze the contents ahead of time). My SIL swore by them for the first year. She was nursing exclusively and her kid ate a ton– she needed the calories, but had no time. Spending one day a month prepping while my Mother-In-Law was over saved so much time and money!
Post # 7
We don’t have kids yet, not even TTC, but I feel the same way you do in wanting to prepare. But it seems the more I research, the more overwhelming it gets- I once got sucked into spending a whole evening watching things on youtube about cloth diapering, feeding, bathing, swaddling, and on and on, and I thought my head was going to explode. I really hope that when it is time, we’ll be able to figure things out as we go along and everything will fall into place.
I also understand not wanting to be in a rental house, we would also like to own and be “settled” by TTC time. But I don’t think it really matters in the end! We have friends who had their baby while temporarily stationed in a remote area, living in a rented apartment, and now getting ready to move cross country with their now 2-year old. Their little girl is super smart, sweet and definitely well-adjusted. While you might not consider your living situation to be ideal, I think it really just comes down to providing your child with what he/she needs to grow- learning opportunities, consistency and lots of love, in addition to the basic clothes/food/shelter… I think you can do that in a rental 🙂
@MrsN14: I’ve potty trained dozens of preschoolers, but still nervous I will fail with my own someday. I guess it’s true you can never really feel totally prepared, but just have to go with the flow!
Post # 8
@kenziemt: That’s part of the reason we’re taking 2 years before we start TTC. We want to have a chunk of money saved and have the extra spending money ready for all the goodies babies require. Child care is definitely something we’re concerned about. We both work all the time and I’m already untrusting of some of the noted daycares in the area. lol
Post # 9
@Pollywog: You’re spot on with the fitness advice. I am considering this my last year to “goal”. I’ve lost 60 lbs and I really want to get to a normal BMI before I take on Mom duties. I want to be the kind of mom I wanted as a kid, fit and active.
Also, the crock pot idea is amazing. Good call! Lots of good advice. Thank you so much!
Post # 10
@kestane: It wasn’t until I described our rental to a friend of the family and they made me realize how amazing it would be to raise a kid here. There’s 15 acres of woods, a camping clearing, and a dock. It’s like summer camp in our back yard. And this house has so many nooks and crannies. I don’t know why I was so stuck on buying before we started TTC. I look forward to christmas with a kid the most 🙂
Post # 11
@Pollywog: That’s a lot of great advice!! Commenting to follow more.. OP – are you on Pinterest? Having a secret “Future Family” board has helped me keep my mind somewhat organized.. and it at least gives me a place to keep all the awesome ideas that I come across online!
Post # 12
Ho boy, I can tell you and I are very different (and likely different parents!) But that’s okay! But I’ll tell you my perspective and experience in the hopes it might help you out.
I found that reading up on parenting made me crazy. There’s too much information and much of it had a way of convincing me that there was some sort of gold standard and I had to achieve it (your child should be on THIS sleep schedule; your child should be hitting THESE milestones; you should be eating THESE foods while pregnant, etc. etc.) But I also found that for every type of personality conceivable, there is someone out there to make a buck off of it–‘attachment parenting’ to ‘spare the rod’ and everything in between. So when you look at it that way, the end-result is…there is no gold standard. There is no right or wrong (excepting like, abuse of course).
And if you want my *cynical* opinion on it, there’s a lot of hysterical “what if” out there (what if your child has nipple confusion! what if your child has colic! what if your child gets addicted to the pacifier!) that seems to exist solely to create a need FOR such parenting ‘experts.’ And by the way, babies, even though they can’t speak, are perfectly good communicators and to some degree, unless there are physical problems (which they will definitely let you know about itn some fashion), they kind of are on ‘autopilot’ for the first few years. They eat as many calories as their body requires, no more; no less (and it will change constantly because of all the growing, both physically and mentally, that they do!). They’ll spit up if their body tells them they need to spit up–some do it a lot; some hardly ever. Generally speaking, if there’s a problem, you’ll know.
I know this doesn’t sound like much help now, but trust me, parenting will be very different in practice than it seems in theory. You can’t prepare for it. You may have a pillow and a cover and the breast-pump all ready to go and find that breastfeeding just isn’t for you. You might learn to swaddle (which really isn’t that hard) and then find that your child hates to be swaddled. I knew was all set with the kale and the spinach when I got pregnant…and for the first month or so, I pretty much ate Skittles and popsicles because it was all I could keep down. You will also be blindsided by the unexpected–your child might be lactose-intolerant, or tongue-tied. And you’ll learn how to handle these challenges all on your own–such is the joy and the responsibility of raising children. Don’t be afraid to let go and don’t forget to ENJOY your children and to ENJOY being a parent in all its glorious imperfections.
So don’t worry: we are among the most successful species on earth and parents of all stripes have managed to have babies who grow up and have their own babies. If Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian can do it, you can do it.
Post # 13
@BothCoasts: Also a very refreshing perspective! My sister had an unplanned pregnancy before her 20th birthday…she was still living at home and had no stablility in her life, but she figured it out. My nephew has been a joy and I did learn alot being around him. As a baby, he hated being swaddled, he had trouble swallowing solid foods until age 3, and he was never a “cuddler”. Then my brother got his girlfrriend pregnant, and nephew number 2 was the complete opposite.
I understand there is no gold standard and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I’m staying away from the “right and wrong” tones of parenting articles.
Thank you for your very eloquent response!
Post # 14
@E_Lynne615: I actually just joined the world of pinterest. Still kind of new to it. I set up my profile as “Maggie Simpson”. How do I follow your secret board?