You've read plenty of articles and social media posts about all the things you need to do before welcoming your new baby into your home, from freezing meals for those times when nobody has the energy to do the cooking to making sure you have enough diapers to delegating duties across eager to help friends and family members. You and your partner have talked about how your lives will change and feel you're up for the challenge. You've made arrangements at work. Everything seems ready, but are you?
Published: April 26, 2023
By: Drew Allen
You think you’ve prepared yourself and done all the things you thought you needed to do. But are you ready? There may still be more work to do in preparing for the big changes ahead.
You’re Never Ready
This may seem like an absolute contradiction to what’s written above and to everything else in this article, but the idea is to accept that there is no perfect moment when everything is finished and when you feel absolutely prepared to become a parent. It can be surprisingly freeing to let go of this idea. Once you realize that perfection isn’t possible, you can start to think more realistically about what you want, what you can do and what you can accomplish in the time left before your child’s birth as well as about your hopes and fears. There’s no such thing as ready, so you don’t need to panic in the belief that every other parent before you achieved a level of preparation that you haven’t.
Dealing with Finances
You might think this is something you’ve already done. Maybe you and your partner sat down and looked at the financial side of things before you even decided whether to have a child now. However, there’s more to finances than the numbers. There’s an emotional component to dealing with finances as well, and it has a few different parts to it. You’re probably aware that the changes a new baby brings to your life can be stressful as well as wonderful.
Another big source of strain in relationships is money, and it’s often related to things left unexplored, particularly the role money played in your family growing up and the different attitudes you may each hold about it. It is worth discussing this topic across multiple conversations, perhaps even with the assistance of a counselor. You may also want to go back over your own finances one more time and see if there are ways you could simplify to save money. If you have student loan debt, have you considered refinancing it into a new loan? This can lead to monthly savings and lower interest rates, saving you money in both the short and long run.
A New You
Speaking of student loans, do you remember being a student? Do you remember the transition into becoming a working adult? You might have felt as though you were, in some ways, leaving an old you behind. The same is true when you become a parent. It’s not that you become a completely different person, but the change is so profound that it’s inevitable you will not be the same either. You may feel both excited and apprehensive about this, and it’s okay to have these mixed feelings. Exploring them through daily journaling and talking to your partner, friends, family members, or a counselor can help you better prepare for this new phase of your life.
Mistakes Are Okay
Just as it can feel as though you must be perfectly ready, even though that’s impossible, you may also feel that you must be the perfect parent. The more you read, the more you may have convinced yourself that the slightest deviation from this perfection will be disastrous. It’s important to approach parenthood in the same spirit that you do readiness, with the knowledge that perfection is unattainable and that doing your best is enough.
Because you are human, there are going to be days when you’re too tired or busy to even give what you think of as your best, but it’s still your best in that moment. Sometimes even little tweaks like simplifying your morning routine can make a world of difference in the bandwidth you have to parent in the way that you want to. Keep in mind as well that there are many ways to be a terrific parent. Taking some of the pressure off yourself and your partner with this approach can help ensure that you’re better able to enjoy the first few weeks of your child’s life without worrying that you’re failing to live up to an impossible standard.
Drew Allen is a financial enthusiast, seasoned blogger, music and sports fanatic. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and daughter fishing and boating. He is dedicated to his 20+ year career in the banking, mortgage and personal finance industry.