Monday, July 28, 2014

Jake's Two Cents: Parenting Edition

My beautiful wife has mentioned a few times about guest posting. I thought it might be good to write a little about my experiences as a father so far and maybe offer advice to those expecting. Or this may be something Taylor reads to her therapist later on in life. I do want to state that I am not the first person people come to for advice, so some of this may be downright ill-advised. I will also note that Jamie will “proof read” this so chances are I have been censored.

“The pregnancy was fun,” said no man ever. I have the utmost respect for my wife and what she did to create this beautiful child, but mood swings will literally make a guy go crazy. “Babe, do you want to just hang out tonight and watch a movie?” says the sweet innocent prego wife. Thirty minutes later, “Jake, I told you we needed to get the crib put together TONIGHT!” hisses this evil boa constrictor that swallowed a bowling ball.  Even if you are as hard headed as I am, my advice is just nod and do what they ask. At some point, you will understand that she had good intentions and allowing her to do things her way will make her feel a little comfort while her entire body goes through this mad scientist experiment. Oh, and if you were wondering, yes, she will hold this “I created a human” thing over your head for the rest of your life.

The day of birth was truly amazing. I am not the most emotional guy but that day was (as cliché as it sounds) the best day of my life. Now, all women see their baby and say “oh my, that is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” Guys, they are lying to you. Don’t feel bad if you don’t think your baby is cute. The fact is, newborns look like little aliens and are covered in goo. And they probably won’t let it take a bath for at least a day or two. Another piece of advice, the nursery is there. USE IT. You will be glad you did when you get finally get some sleep.  Also, don’t get annoyed when people come to visit you at the hospital. They are just excited and there to offer you support.

Some advice for guys that work crazy hours or think they can’t afford to be off work? Take some time off. Be with your new family. You don’t want to miss a thing (like the first time you hear your baby fart, which is one of the funniest things you will encounter – it’s almost like it startles them). And your lady will appreciate the help. This stuff is new to her, too.

I will not be “that guy” that tells you the same thing everyone else does: “rest now because you’re not going to get any sleep later.” Duh. What did you expect, Captain Obvious? Now, I have no idea if Jamie and I were monks in a previous life or what we did to deserve such a good baby, but our babe slept through the entire night at eight weeks old. I will say that Jamie did a great job putting her on a schedule. Here is my logic behind it: when Taylor took a nap during the day, we made sure there was still some sunlight in the room so she knew the difference between a nap and bedtime sleep. We also established a bath, bottle, bed routine when she was about 2 weeks old. Now, Tay is well aware that after her bath she gets to eat and then it is time for bed. If you think about it, we are all creatures of habit. Routines are comforting and, if you didn’t have a routine, most things would be new every day. While I think that is ok, you don’t want new learning experiences to lose their appeal.

Let’s talk about the diaper situation. Yeah, it’s not fun. I had literally never changed a diaper until the day our daughter was born. Guys, it’s not rocket science. If you were a lady, would you want poo wiped up into your lady parts? Prolly not. Jamie and I never fight about who changes the diaper (none of that “I changed more than you” stuff). The one piece of advice I can give any dude is MAN UP. This is 2014. Your wife or girlfriend (or women in general) do not need to be doing all of the work. If she is watching the baby, you can cook dinner. You can vacuum. You can pick up the house real quick. If she was gracious enough to already do all of that, let her relax or go take a bath. She can be alone for a while and you can have some bonding time with your baby. Trust me on this one. It’s important to spend alone time with your children. If I am gone or really busy at work one week, when I get home my little girl will love me for 5 minutes and then only wants her mommy because I have been absent. Take time now to be present in their lives.

I am sure I have a million more not-so-good tips but, all-in-all, I think most of this is common sense. When you think about it, you were raised before Google was invented and you turned out ok. Hell, your parents did something right if you can read this and are still willing to reproduce.

Lastly, I will leave you with 5 things I have learned NOT to say to your pregnant wife: 
  1.   Do NOT tell her she is moody or needs to calm down. This will unleash the hidden beast.
  2. Do NOT tell her to stop crying because her friends get to do stuff that she can’t. Foot in mouth.
  3. Do NOT say “I lost five pounds this week”. You will instantly look uglier to her.
  4.  If she says “I am mad. Just let me be mad”. DO NOT let her be mad! Say crap like “you look pretty today” and “I can’t wait to meet the baby” to cheer her up.
  5. NEVER, EVER say “your cankle swelling is really flaring up today”. Just don’t do it.

Disclaimer:  This post was written solely by my husband. Very little editing was done prior to it being publish. But do you see why I rave about him? The guy just gets it.