Disclaimer: The following is parenting advice from Dads just getting by. Always consult with a medical professional or financial expert before taking anyone else’s advice, especially ours.
1. React Positively- Don’t Ask Questions
For some, the parenting journey begins the moment your partner tells you that you’re pregnant. That’s right, depending on how things shake out, your partner might know that you’re expecting long before you do.
While some Moms get to have a private reaction over a soaked pee stick, yours will probably get recorded in 4K video. In the age of social media, hiding a camera to get a Father’s raw reaction is choice content. If you’re fortunate to be reading this before the big moment keep that in mind. You don’t want to have a full on freak out and go viral.
It’s best to react positively and do not ask questions. At this point it’s a little late in the game for that. WHAT!? WHY!? HOW!? Stop! You know how…your wife had a few wine coolers, started watching Pretty Woman, interrupted your Fortnite session and had her way with you.
2. Learn from the Experts
My wife is an excellent mother, seriously we’re talking about Olympic level performance. She puts me to shame in the information department by constantly reading parenting guides, researching best practices, and consulting with other parents in online group forums. I knew I didn’t know much about kids or parenting, but now 7 months in, the knowledge gap is wide and I wish I had kept up.
Sure you could look back at how your parents screwed you up and try to do the opposite, but taking expert advice can save you time, money, and sleep. Find some experienced parents that seem to have things together and ask questions. I’ve found most of the parents I talk to are more than happy to share tips and tricks.
On a related note, be warned that some people will feel its their mission to bombard you with unwanted, outdated, and just plain bad parenting advice non-stop. Set clear boundaries with pushy parents and opinionated in-laws to save yourself from a lot of headaches down the line. Try this, “I know you’re trying to help, and we love you, but we’re not looking for any advice right now.”
3. Start Planning Now
Start the clock. The good news is that a baby takes about 9 months to cook, so you have some time to prepare. The bad news is that time flies by and before you know it there’s only days left before showtime and you’re trying to finish painting the nursery. Pro-tip, babies need a place to sleep. Don’t get stuck putting together the baby’s crib while your partner is getting hit with contractions.
There’s so many things to think about, here’s a short-list of things to get the jump on right away:
- Consider where you’re going to put all the baby’s stuff (clothes, toys, accessories) it takes up a massive amount of space. Do you need a new apartment or gas guzzling SUV?
- Make a draft childcare schedule to figure out who gets to sleep and when. Spoiler alert, this plan will change over time.
- Make a new budget that factors in the baby and stick to it starting now. Pro-tip, everything costs more than you think.
- Consider taking a final ‘just the two of us’ trip. A final romantic getaway before you never have sex again.
4. Start Saving Yesterday
Baby’s cost money. Prenatal care, delivery, diapers, food, the occasional infant spa day complete with hydrotherapy treatment and hot stone massage… it all adds up. According to Business Insider the average cost to have a baby delivered in the USA after insurance is $10,808. Our daughter goes through 8-10 diapers a day. A pack of 200 diapers bought in bulk costs about $30. Kids wear diapers for 2-3 years. You do the math.
Keep up with this Parenting Strategy Guide series at http://www.MegaDads.org and we’ll be sure to offer more tips to stretch every dollar. Here’s just a few things you can do right away to stretch every dollar:
- Get comfortable with seeking used items and hand me downs. Kids grow out of clothes quickly so there’s a surplus of cute used onesies in circulation. Deeply sanitizing toys and accessories can save you loads of cash.
- If you have health insurance check what kind of baby related coverage you have. Consider changing your deductible or plan since having a baby often grants you an opportunity outside of the regular enrollment period. Consider switching to an HMO and using in-network services. Some companies are offering paid Paternity leave now in addition to Maternity leave.
- Limit video, music, and other entertainment subscriptions. Believe it or not you can save hundreds of dollars a year if you cancel redundant subs. You’ll soon learn that with your limited free-time you’ll rather sleep than continue your 3rd rewatch of Grey’s Anatomy.
- Except for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, get it (and maybe a console too). If you’re a gamer the best bang for your buck is Xbox Game Pass subscription. It’s possible you won’t have as much disposable income to spurge on full priced games, and your free-time might take a hit as well.Xbox Game Pass not only gives you access to hundreds of games, including new Xbox Game Studio 1st party titles, you can now also play games using an Android device.
5. Don’t Panic
Something you don’t hear about a lot these days is that parenting can be a lot of fun. There’s always a new milestone and moment to look forward to. I started my parenting journey worrying too much. Sure, you should think ahead about your finances, keep an eye on your partners health and emotional state during the pregnancy, and generally make all sorts of moves to get ready for game day, but be sure to enjoy the ride.
Here’s a few fun things to do:
- Make big list of potential baby names. Bonus points for getting your partner to agree to leave your most outrageous choices on the short-list. Little ‘Geraldo’ will thank you later.
- Plan a fun nursery. This isn’t the 80s, a nursery theme doesn’t have to be bland or boring. You want a Studio 54 themed room for you kid, go for it. In the eyes of the law you’re an adult and the legal guardian of this baby.
- Freak out your family. Telling other people you’re pregnant is really fun, especially if you catch them off guard so get creative. Here are a few bad ideas. ‘Funny Pregnancy Announcements’ – Ranker.com
Stay Tuned for more tips in the ‘Parenting Strategy Guide’ series from MegaDads.org
Our first child Lily is just about 8 months old. Her smile just lights me up. But I won’t lie to you, parenting can get rough. If I could start over again I would seek out all the tips and parenting hacks I could find. Here at Mega Dads we’ll be sure to keep the tips coming to make it a bit easier to balance Gaming Life and Real Life, check back soon! If you missed it check out our ‘Top 5 Games for New Parents” feature.