prepare [prɪˈpɛə]

verb

1. to make ready or suitable in advance for a particular purpose or for some use, event, etc.

I pride myself on being prepared for almost anything. Cool as a cucumber. Rock solid. Imperturbable. But I didn’t see this coming. I was given nine months to prepare. Nine whole months. It seemed like an eternity. I read some books, took some laborious classes, so to speak, with wifey and even made some time for a quick babymoon. And then WHAM. There she was.

Cool Toddler - Voices from the Ville

I remember the delivery room like it was yesterday. I’m standing next to the gurney, grasping one of wifey’s legs, plastic-smiling back at the young stud of a med student across from me. He is busy holding wifey’s other leg like he has just won the lottery. Mom-to-be is out of her mind on some concoction of meds that has me in jealous fits after umpteen hours spent cleaning up amniotic sac mess, dutifully timing contractions, and updating my FB status to punching bag. Then, oh miracle of miracles, out comes my beautiful child, a tired mess of what looks like a mix between a small otter and a Shar-Pei. No offense to otters. Slowly she opens her eyes and gives me a look that I promise you could mean nothing other than, “I’m ready.”

Adorable Swaddled Baby - Voices from the Ville

I missed the email. In fact, I missed the book, the college course, the warning from my mom, my dad. My Sister had four, and yet not a peep from her. Where was everybody when I needed them? It’s not that my life’s path would have been drastically different; it just would not have been quite the same. Maybe a few more memorable moments with wifey where we could actually enjoy dessert, watch a movie, be romantic. HA! Romance. I remember that too as if it were yesterday.

I know for sure that both of us would have been a little more frugal if we had known that our little Shar-potter was actually just a cleverly disguised ATM machine.  Hard to imagine how large a fortune is spent on such a small package. It’s important to get the house in order when it’s more than just the two of you. Financially, it’s imperative to budget wisely and decide if any lifestyle changes are in order. Mentally, it’s probably impossible to fully prepare for a child, particularly your first. But sugar-coating your expectations is a dangerous path. Be critical with each other without criticizing. But also be loving, be comical, be compassionate, and be passionate. But most important, be honest and open about the extremely wild ride that the two of you are embarking on together.

The running legend, Bill Rodgers, once said, “If the marathon is a part-time interest, you will only get part-time results.” The same goes for parenting. It can be painful and heart-wrenching, but it can also yield the most beautiful and wondrous moments that life has to offer. The sooner one realizes that everybody is flawed, everybody makes mistakes and nobody knows all the secrets to being a parent, the better. Pre-child couples should prepare together and learn from each other (there is no “I” in team) and use your combined strength to yield dividends many times over. Post-child couples, the exact same goes for you. If you say no, not us, this all seems so foreign, you have too many nannies.

Image Source:// Author’s Own

Peter Hegener

Kidville Member

Peter Hegener

A humbled father, a devoted husband, an appreciative son.

A man much wiser than me once said, “It is much easier to become a father than to be one.” I agree. Bill Cosby once said, “Nothing I’ve ever done has given me more joys and rewards than being a father to my children.” Again, I agree.