I hesitate in actually calling my stuff advice because I know I'm a Dad who just goes along day to day doing what seems best. Sometimes it's fine, sometimes not. I think we can be a funny lot too as far as advice goes because we are generally independent, think we are capable and don't need 'help'. Does that all come under pride? So I just relate how I approach or learn from experience which may or may not be of any help to anyone. For the record, I do talk with my Mum, in her 80's, to get her point of view. I also think often of my brother and sisters and how they overcame various obstacles with their kids.
If pressed for what I would consider a great bit of advice (nothing to do with feeding babies, changing nappies (diapers), teething, solids, wind,,,) having gone a few years as a parent I would say that a prospective Dad and Mum should venture forth with eyes and minds open, preferably flexible and realistically informed of how things are most likely to be; and that means right from the start. I'll explain briefly next paragraph down, but having read articles and blogs, talked to and observed friends and family, and looked back (with the present in mind - if that makes sense?), it seems to me that so many enter the realms of parenthood with rose coloured perceptions and end up with mud in their eyes. The movies versus real life; usually two different universes, but we're suckers for happy endings.
This parent thing, this all encompassing occupation gets you even before the baby is born and expectations gained from anywhere and everywhere are quietly operating to keep a smile on your face. This is for the guy and the girl so to speak. Without taking too much freedom I have found that expectations, seemingly SET IN CONCRETE BY SOME, include everything you can think of; classes, pregnancy, nausea, work responsibilities, boy or girl, natural labour, pretty as a picture Mum delivering baby whilst made up and smiling (in truth, sweaty, yelling and swearing), natural birth or caesar, stoic guy holding hand (then fainting), handing out cigars, Mum knowing everything there is to know about new borns, Mum handling everything everyday 24 hrs a day, hard working Dad who expects his wife to be his mum too, Dad never having to change a nappy (diaper), keeping in-laws happy?, baby sleeping through the night not long after coming home, Dad thinks Mum can get by each day on hardly any sleep, no self induced peer parent pressure, Mum thinks Dad can handle everything and has an easy time, a great sex life and out to dinner every second Saturday night. Single parents of course have it all to do.
Hopefully this gets the ball rolling. My point is, unrealistic expectations about how perfect and easy things will be compared to the real thing, can be a huge obstacle to get your head around; for both parents. The Mum can already be struggling to cope because she has just delivered a baby after whatever labour she endured, has had little sleep, is probably hormonal and trying to figure out how to keep this new little bugger from crying all the time. Nothing has changed my mind on this either as I go through the daily slog with three (3) teenage kids.
Funny thing is; as we feed and water our fledgling humans who have dummy spits or disappointment when things don't go their way, we try to teach them that we can't always get what we want, that life is without guarantees and we have to accept and adjust accordingly (how did I put that in toddler words again?). It's good advice but do we accept it for ourselves? A lot of the time, I think not and we end up super pissed-off, discouraged and perhaps even less confident in our own abilities and nature.
Next post I'll probably talk about a few mistakes that I've made. I'll try to keep it below 100 pages.