By Guest Blogger Will Scarbrough
Stay calm…It’s happening. I’m having a baby! Well, technically, my wife will be having her but the title of “Dad” will be mine come December. I’ve always known that I want to be a parent. I often picture myself coaching little league, attending dance recitals, and loading up the stroller with snacks (some of which will inevitably fall victim to the “dad tax” and end up in my belly). I think of taking walks at the park, splashing in the baby pool, and memorable vacations that will bring our family closer together. Ahhhh. It’s going to be magical.
You know what I hadn’t thought about until recently? The bad stuff.
As my wife and I sat down to work on our baby registry, some items caught my attention. Spit up rags? A battery powered booger sucker? Diapers?? Ok, I’ve heard of diapers, but in all my time dreaming up the idyllic dad life, I don’t think I ever thought about actually changing one. As it turns out, babies can be kind of gross. A friend of ours, who is a new mom, recently told us about the diaper rash her newborn has been fussing about. I can guarantee you that applying cream to a diaper rash was not on my radar as I thought about the joys of fatherhood. Not to mention the germs and illnesses that will inevitably crawl throughout our home along with our daughter. This is not a comforting thought to a self-diagnosed hypochondriac like myself.
There is no doubt that our clean, freshly painted nursery won’t stay that way for long. There will soon be a trashcan dedicated specifically for poopy diapers, the rocking chair will be stained with baby barf, and the whole room will smell like spoiled milk. These are not things that even crossed my mind as we planned where our little “bundle of joy” will lay her head.
I know that I sound naive, and that’s because I am. Becoming a parent feels like being qualified for an entry-level role and immediately being promoted to CEO. I’d say there is no book on parenthood, but that’s not true. There are thousands of them. Each with advice, anecdotes, and step by step instructions on how to handle certain situations. All the advice can be a bit overwhelming for a new parent if you let it be. Sure, there are ways to prepare, but they don’t offer internships or on the job training for parenting.
So what’s my plan? I’d say “winging it” would be putting it too casually. I’m a responsible guy and I’m sure those parental instincts that people talk about will kick in. Plus, I’m lucky enough to be with a partner that just innately has what it takes to be an amazing mom. Having an all-star teammate makes the thought of raising our daughter much easier. I have had to right size my expectations though.
I now understand that my future of raising children will include snot, drool, and body fluids of all kinds, but I’m ready. Even though I’m entering this stage of my life without a diploma in parenting, I’m determined to give this everything I’ve got. If you think about it, there is nothing good in life that is all positives and no negatives. The bad stuff makes the good stuff good and the messy moments make the magical moments magical. So here’s to parenthood! Wish me luck!
*Photo by Tracy Anderson Photography