Friday, January 21, 2011

Advice for New or Soon to Be Parents

When I was pregnant I thought that everything would be great, I thought that when we had our baby, my boyfriend at the time would step up, I listened to his stories about getting a job,  helping with the baby and moreover providing a safe enviroment for our daughter to live in.

Maybe I should have gotten that in writing.

I thought that the video games would slow, that the television shows would become less important then our family and our daughter, I thought that drinking everyday would come to an end.

I was wrong. So when I think of advice to give to new parents I have some that other people may not even realize are important.

First Tip
Spend time together, away from video games, away from television. Start having dinners together not in front of the TV, cut down video game and internet time to a few hours a day.

When I got pregnant my ex started playing more video games then he used to. It bothered me, it frustrated me, instead of coming to bed and laying with me, he stayed up in the wee hours of the morning playing video games with friends. Of course my sleep was horrible being pregnant, so I would awaken at all hours of the night to see him sitting on the couch playing video games.

Then we moved, I thought that by moving into an area where there was lots of things to do, like a pool in the neighborhood and music playing on the weekends that we would be able to spend time together like we had when we first met.  Instead, he turned the room across from our room into the "video game room" a tiny room with two chairs, a small TV, and an xbox 360

I'm not sure if this was because he wanted an escape from me, now five months pregnant and viewing video games as the enemy I tended to get a bit butt-sore at the sight of them.

At this point I have realized that I should have made him get involved, I should have made him be active in my pregnancy. I should have made him sing my belly songs, or just talk to her inside. But I was too afraid that he hated me and he would leave

Spend time together,  do things with your significant other that you want to do with your kids. You are a family now, and if you want your family sitting in a room not talking and playing video games. I now think that this was a greater underlying problem that my ex faced, some sort of anxiety to having a baby and not knowing how to handle it. It was something neither of us were ready for.

Get on the same page with your partner, figure out what you want to do with your life, figure out what he wants to do with his. Most importantly talk about how you want the baby to be raised, talk about how many hours of screen time are acceptable and how much each person will help with the chores and taking care of the baby.

Require him to help, my ex didn't help, I can think of four times that he washed dishes, a handful more that he changed a diaper. He took Annabella out without me five times in his entire time as being a father, and never fed her a bottle or put her to sleep.

This was partially my fault, I never made him do anything that he didn't want to do for the first part of our relationship, and when we had a daughter I had expectations that he would step up and grow up. Instead it seems that he went backwards in his head and became younger, the video games didn't stop or wind down, they got worse, now it turned into computer video games and at any given time he would be playing on the laptop as well as the computer.

I never talked to him about it, I held it in and it always became a huge fight when I brought it up partially because of frustration and holding it all in. Partially because he didn't want anybody telling him what to do.

Make your partner help as soon as the baby is in your belly, make them set up the crib, wash bottles and clothes, read baby books to your belly. Help your partner connect with that baby just as much as you do so that he feels like he is a part of that baby.

Other friends that we have that had babies around the same time had the father read to the baby, and help get the baby's room ready and they seemed to have a closer connection with the child and therefore be more apt to help them mother.

New moms get stressed out, especially when it feels like the other person doesn't really want to be a part of this parenting thing. Having an infant all by yourself is hard, and it makes it harder when someone is sitting across the room ignoring you.

So my two tips for parents?

1. Get Daddy involved from Day 1! He's in there too!!
2. Lay off the screen time, it just puts you in a life outside your own, when really you should be focused on the life that you are living, and the one that you are creating!


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