“My wife is really wanting a baby. She’s been showing me how ‘masculine’ diaper bags have become,” he said.
“But I’m like, ‘Does that fit my Camaro or motorcycle?'” he continued, “I just don’t know.”
I nodded. “You’ll never be ready. No one is,” I assured him. “But the first time you look at your child, you’ll think, ‘What car?’ That stuff just doesn’t matter.”
The conversation ended as we went back to work, but it stuck with me as the day continued. What would I tell someone who is contemplating starting a family? What would I tell myself? What were some of the things I was told?
I know I half-listened and said, “Yeah, yeah…” when given parenting advice while I was pregnant. One eye on that round belly and everyone feels compelled to offer a bit (or more) of their wise words. Here’s what I would have told myself. (You know, if I had actually been listening.)
Having a child will change you. It will, no question. But the changes will go far beyond the cliche of night feedings, diapers, and exhaustion. It changes everything.
You are never ready. Ever. You have to be brave and just go for it when you are as ready as you think you are.
Kids will grow you as a person. They will make you deal with your own stuff. They will force you to be selfless.
You’ll never be more concerned with safety. For yourself, your significant other, and undoubtedly for baby.
You will hate the fact that you can’t make them instantly all better when they are sick.
You will ache with the need of wanting to fix things for them, make things better or easier. But you won’t because you love them enough to realize that a bit of struggle is better for them in the long run.
You will love your spouse more deeply than you thought possible. You think you love them to the fullest capacity right now – filling up all the possible nooks and crannies of completeness. But that child will grasp your finger with their tiny ones and you will look up and realize that a whole other door just busted wide opened and flooded over with love for your spouse – your partner in this crazy, overwhelming endeavor of raising a tiny human.
What advice would you give a person contemplating a family? What advice did you get? Did you listen?