You came to the right place. I’ve been a parent for 9 months now, so I know EVERYTHING there is to know about parenting.
lol Seriously, though, if you are pre-baby, I do have one major recommendation: Get someone else to live with you for like 10 days—preferably a parent. It’s so helpful in easing the transition. The baby-producer is going to be beat the fuck up for a minute no matter the method of delivery, but it’s not like the other parent can be all, “Don’t worry! I’ll take care of everything!” as if they’re sick, because, like, NO. Now the baby needs constant attention. That baby don’t give a French braid if you’re tired, if you need to use the bathroom, if you need a shower, if you could just use a break cause you’re on the point of tears. Nah. Baby be all like, “HOW ABOUT I CRY ANYWAY”, and you kind of can’t do anything.
@thisallegra‘s parents came down a few days before the birth, and then her mother stayed for a full ten days after. She helped clean, she made meals, she sat with the baby when she didn’t need to nurse, she changed diapers… I cannot imagine what it would have been like without her. When it was time for her to go back, we honestly would have been fine with her staying longer, but we were ready to be functional without her—not perfect, but functional. I have a daughter now, and I’m already planning to drop everything to go help her out should she decide to have a child one day in her first days back home. I know what it’s like, and I won’t forget.
If the child is going to be nursed, I’d also strongly recommend that the nurser stay home for 6 months. I say that knowing full well that both @thisallegra and I have jobs that allow for no time off at all, and we didn’t do that. I mean, theoretically, we both could take however much time off we like, but we’re both in the same position: If we didn’t do our jobs, there is literally no one to take over. There’s no one that translates my stuff if I’m not doing it. And for her, she can take time off and not do whatever, but it won’t get done in the interim—there’s no one! I have a feeling a lot of parents in countries that aren’t Finland find themselves in exactly the same position (I just heard about an editor of a major fashion magazine getting let go while she was on maternity leave, like wtf?! This is America?!), though for different reasons.
Also, be prepared for the child to kind of be miserable a lot. You’ll hear people say “Babies just cry”, but I kind of thing it’s all either gastrointestinal distress of various kinds, or teething. And please understand that when I say “teething” I mean LITERAL POINTED JAGGY BONES PIERCING THROUGH THE BABY’S SENSITIVE GUM SKIN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIVES!!! That sounds HORRIFYING. It’s like Wolverine’s claws emerging a millimeter a week from his gums. And I bet it hurts like hell. You can give them teething rings, but sometimes it doesn’t help. Sometimes it just hurts, and they’re just going to cry. Understand that this isn’t your fault, and the baby will never remember it. Listen to music, and try counting games. For example, I’d play a game where I’d have to walk back and forth across my daughter’s room while holding her 3 times in a row—and then a 4th time just to be sure—without her moving. It’s SO exciting when you finish that 3rd one—and SO disappointing when she jerks awake in the middle of the 4th leg! But hey, it gives you something to do!
It helps to have a partner to trade off with. It also is advisable to sleep whenever possible. (I say this knowing full well that when our daughter is napping, @thisallegra and I are working. But, you know, ideally…)
Also, especially for creative individuals, nothing will force you to treat creativity like a job more than having an infant. You can’t do ANYTHING when you’re watching the baby. You can watch TV (with the TV volume way, way up to overpower the occasional yowling), but that’s it. It’s tough to even read, because the baby will get squirrelly. TV goes whether you’re holding them or not, and you can listen with your back turned (can be tough to pause with your hands full, so try to set that up ahead of time, with the remote within arm’s reach). This means that if you work best at a certain time, too bad! You now work best whenever you have a free moment. Either that or you don’t work. Period. So be ready to take every opportunity you’ve got to work on your art, because those are the only ones you’ll get until they’re old enough to entertain themselves (in theory, anyway. Haven’t gotten to that level yet).
Those are the most important bits, I think. If you’re pre-baby, changing diapers isn’t really that bad (they don’t smell at first). Feeding can be kind of awful. It’s messy, and they tend to get upset by it. At first. It gets better. Still a pain, though. Can’t wait till I can take M. out for a fancy dinner and watch her feed herself with her own utensils. What a day that will be! Until then, though, it’s not too bad.
So that’s what comes to mind at present. Likely other stuff, but super tired. Got work to do!
An hour ago i was crying and stressing out and now i’m fresh out of the shower, moisturized in my calvins in bed painting my nails with my face mask on and i feel so fucking good. Never underestimate the power and self confidence you can give yourself. Never think you need anyone else but yourself. This is your reminder that you’re going to be just fine