10 Suggestions For New Parents In Their 20s

As this monumental moment in your life approaches, let me first say that I am proud of you. I don’t want this to come off as me being resentful of your reproductive success. I’m not jealous. I’m not trying to mock your choice to bring another life into this bleak, overcrowded world of systemic injustice. Your decision makes perfect sense. The following are merely things you should keep in mind, for like, the rest of your life.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not a parent, but I was a child at one point. Most of my ex-girlfriends would argue I still am.

1. Raising a child is not easy. For the first 10 years of the child’s life, you will have very few pieces of clothing that won’t get ripped or soiled in some fashion. Men, you might want to consider not wearing ties around the house, as they are perfect for your child to yank on or vomit on. I suggest plenty of solid black t-shirts or a potato sack of some sort. Maybe a burlap bag? Anything you can get your hands on that’s sturdy and easily washed is preferable to an article of clothing that’s fashionable/expensive/attractive.

2. Kids also put a major dent in your social calendar, or more to the point, they get one of those giant flamethrowers from Prometheus and set your social calendar ablaze. You might want to sweep up that giant pile of ash that used to be your weekend. It’s unsightly and potentially harmful to your child’s respiratory system.

3. Your children will not always like you. For seven and a half years, I pretty much didn’t care for my mom or my dad. The only thing they could do right is remember my bank account information so that they’d be able to keep putting money into it. To me, they were overbearing, nosey, judgmental and passive-aggressive. It wasn’t until I got a job and a life that I realized I was equally as overbearing, nosey, judgmental and passive-aggressive as my parents.

4. Suits look stupid on babies. I had to wear a suit through most of my formative years, because my mother thought I looked ‘sharp.’ In truth, I actually resembled a well-dressed dwarf. Adult clothes are for adults. Invest in plenty of overalls and t-shirts. You might as well put your kid in Crocs, since, unlike adults, they don’t look stupid wearing them — and I hear they’re super comfortable.

5. Keep the Facebook pictures to a minimum. “Here’s a picture of my baby smearing chocolate frosting on his bare chest while wearing a Mickey Mouse hat!” is the last thing I want to see on my Facebook News Feed. The next-to-last thing I want to see is a picture of your dinner at Outback Steakhouse. The next-to-next-to last thing I want to see is that Kony 2012 video. I mean, how OLD is that video now? Probably older than your baby.

6. Don’t let your newborn play with your dog. Dogs bite things. Dogs are stupid animals. Babies are also fairly stupid. Putting two stupid creatures together in a confined space makes you almost as stupid. Your baby will be attacked and suffer from a deformity that will make them resent you, or worse, turn them into a Batman villain. PRO TIP: Deformed person = Batman villain.

7. Children are not a cure for a dysfunctional relationship. You may think that having a baby will bring you together, but it only exacerbates the problems you are going through with your mate. If your significant other doesn’t pay attention to you now, he or she certainly won’t when they have to tend to a living creature with no capacity to take care of itself. Instead, try couples counseling or become insanely rich. Both of those options should take care of your dilemma. After you become rich, just adopt a child from a Third World country. They tend to be a lot more independent than an American baby.

8. Your child is not magically self-sufficient when it turns 18. They certainly will think they are, up until they get out of college and realize they have no clue how to function. Don’t listen to them. Ever. Help them financially when they need it and you can afford it. Offer them advice, no matter how many times they tell you that you’ve ‘said this before.’ When they come to visit, make their bed for them. Teach them how to cook when they’re growing up, but make their food when they come home. The less safe I feel in the world, the more I want to know someone is looking out for me.

9. Babies do not need to see movies in theaters. First of all, please refer to number two on this list. Kids affect your life because they need attention. That does not mean that you bring your baby to every social activity as a compromise. No matter how ‘clever’ your baby seems, he or she does not understand what is happening during Men in Black III. They will not remember the experience of seeing the film. What they will do is ruin everyone’s good time by crying during the the super cool action scene where Will Smith jumps off the roof of the building. Get a babysitter. If a babysitter is not available that night…pick something else to do that doesn’t involve interfering with the rest of humanity. And if you took your baby to see Prometheus, Child Protective Services will be calling you in the next three minutes. Try and tidy up your house a bit.

10. Take care of yourself. Quit smoking. Don’t drink so much. Exercise. Cut back on the fried foods. Go to the doctor more than is reasonable. If you take medication, take it every day. Your kids need you. Don’t let them down. TC mark

 

image – Paul Bollo

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  • Kate

    Facebook should stop at conception.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessica.dedeo Jessica DeDeo

    Yeah, this is great. I just read through this with such ease. You’re right about a lot of things. Why people let their baby play with a dog is beyond me. Nicely put. :)

  • Sher

    This cracked me up so hard, and based on my experience as a kid I completely agree.

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/06/10-suggestions-for-new-parents-in-their-20s/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • H

    Number 7 yes!!!

  • http://jenniferalyce.wordpress.com jenniferalyce

    I love the way you ended this piece. It’s so true, almost heartbreakingly so. My father never took care of himself and the reality is that he probably won’t be there for many of the important events in my life- wedding, landing my first real job, the births of my eventual children, etc. Thanks for putting that bit in this article, it’s something so many forget, because even as an almost-kind-of-not-really adult, I find that I still need my dad and he probably won’t be able to follow through. I hope everyone remembers that when it comes to their own children.

  • http://corporatehipsters.wordpress.com Corporate Hipsters

    I’m considering giving a Burlap Sack as a gift at the next baby shower I attend…

  • http://gravatar.com/rosiemccapp rosiemccapp

    Great article! Lots of good, solid advice that people don’t really think about. Also would throw in there that kids will make you broke, so your priorities will also change!

  • anny

    Another addition to the list: don’t bring your children on long haul flights. Flying 16 hours directly behind a cranky 1 year old who cries every 20 minutes is not something I signed up for when I purchased my ticket. Neither is being subjected to the idiocy of the parents who changed her shitty diaper on the table tray…at their seats.
    If you must fly with your spawn…break up the trip into shorter, more reasonable flights.

    • Tory

      Sorry dude, but your inconvenience is nothing compared to the inconvenience suffered by parents who have to take their kids on long-haul flights. Do you think it’s their idea of a picnic to sit on a crowded, cramped airplane for 6-16 hours trying to keep the baby quiet so as not to incur the wrath of hundreds of inconsiderate, self-absorbed jerks like you? Do you think they are enjoying the experience of being the center of everybody’s attention as their exhausted, unfortunate child who doesn’t understand what is happening wails its displeasure? Get over yourself.

      And before you say people shouldn’t be taking their babies on trips in the first place: some people’s families live in a different country. If I have kids in England, I’m sure as hell not waiting until they are 3 years old to take them home to meet their grandparents. Families have a right to see their children, and your ‘inconvenience’ does not trump that.

      • anny

        hence my last point – if you must travel with your kids, break up the trip so that every person who paid for the flight (yourself and your travel companions included) might have some sort of peace. Or have your family come to you – pay for their ticket if it’s an issue for them. They still get to meet the kid, with minimal ‘inconvenience’.
        I’m an advocate of kid and parent only sections in planes. Just cause you feel the need to travel with a child who can’t keep calm doesn’t mean the rest of us ‘inconsiderate, self-absorbed jerks’ need to be subjected to it. If I was travelling with my kid, I’d sign up for this.

        Also, dude,your comment is exactly my point. It’s not at all pleasant, and you admit to that yourself – so get over yourself.

      • derrrrrrrrr

        Whoever is more fit to fly, should make the trip. And if that person is too poor to fly, then the other family should pay. Grandparents may really want to see family but are not healthy enough to fly. So they could, of course, pitch in for their child and grandchild to make the haul. I still think there is not much different between age 1 and age 4 form the child’s perspective, they are going to remember the trip from age 4 on. I feel that, only if a grandparent is really on their deathbed, should a 1 year old travel with a parent to see them.

      • Tory

        It’s not just about the child’s remembering it. It’s about a grandparent being able to see their grandchild and get to know them.

        And, as I said above, you don’t get to decide where people take their kids and when. You are not in their lives, you don’t know their circumstances, and it’s unfair to expect people to keep their kids basically locked up until they are of an age adults can ‘tolerate’. Of course there are spaces where it’s not appropriate to bring a child, but public transport isn’t one of them.

      • H

        Ahhh the good old ‘I bred therefore I am entitled to do whatever the hell I want’ excuse.

        Having flown with my sister and 1 year old nephew I can say the attention induced by having a child on a plane is something that parents absolutely love. If you want your kids to see their parents, have them near to your parents. It’s simple.

      • Tory

        Ahh, the good old “I don’t like kids, so I am entitled to expect that they be removed from all public places and parts of society so I don’t have to deal with them” excuse.

        Parents are people who deserve just as much choice in their movements as you do. So are children. Do you hear yourself? Every single person should have kids close enough to their parents to drive them so that *you* don’t have to be reminded that there are people other than yourself with needs different from your own?

        This attitude that children should be removed from “adult” society for the first seven years of their lives makes me so incredibly frustrated.

        “Bred” is a very offensive word. The idea that you get to decide who gets to have children, and when, and where, and that you get to judge them when their choices don’t meed your standards, is so privileged and self-centred that I can’t even comprehend it.

      • H

        That’s exactly my excuse and it’s perfectly reasonable, in fact 7 is too young an age. 12 would be more appropriate.

        You’re talking like it’s some kind of necessity that you have to travel because YOU chose to have children far away from your parents. Whose fault is that? Anyone else’s? No, yours. That’s privileged and self-centred. “Bred” is not an offensive word, do you hear YOURSELF? Breeding is exactly what people do. I never said I should get to decide who has children, frankly I couldn’t care less but it irritates me when parents think that because they have to listen to their spawn screaming, wailing and generally causing trouble then so should everybody else. They just drown it out because they’re so used it.

      • anny

        You’ll note that the original comment was to keep kids off long haul flights. You took the discussion to a ‘remove kids from adult society’ type of place.

        You attitude is very self serving as well. Absolutely – parents have the right to move freely with their children. Just as the childless have the right to live a relatively child-free existence, if they so desire. Your choice shouldn’t impact the rest of society at large.

      • BestDadEver

        Anny and H have clearly won this one. Tory, having a child is a choice and a responsible adult would consider as many variables as conceivable when making that choice and simply acting on impulse is not one of them. Being a parent does not make you any more special than someone who has chosen not to be a parent. The person who needs to get their head out of their azz is you.

      • kitties!

        @Tory re: bestdadever’s comment. LAWYERED!
        I completely agree, I’m so sick of overwhelmed parents acting like the rest of the world owes them something or should “understand” how rough being a parent is. It was your choice to breed, you should have thought of how stressful kids are before you pulled the goalie.

      • BestDadEver

        Multiple flights are actually more cost-effective than direct flights. Only a selfish, self-indulgent, self-absorbed parent would subject their baby/ies to the long list of ill-health effects of flying, nevermind the discomfort of pressure changes, loud noise, poor air quality and the accelerated effects of aging (refer to Einstein’s theory of relativity). A baby belongs in the tender arms of a parent in the comforts of home.

    • Sam

      What is wrong with you? Not everyone has the luxury of being able to afford multiple flights so inconsiderate, entitled people like you don’t have to listen to a kid cry for longer than an hour or two. If people want to go on vacation, they shouldn’t have to reconsider their plans and forfeit a probably well-deserved break just so they don’t annoy you for a little while.

      Forgoing the minor discomfort that you’ll endure for the flight, and that you’ll forget about a couple of hours later is not worth denying a couple and their children a week or two of relaxation and fun.

      I don’t have kids, and I get annoyed if they’re constantly making noise near me. But I wouldn’t banish them from the flight and take away their leisure time which they probably worked hard for just so I can continue to be self indulgent. I’ll happily endure the crying. Have some consideration.

      • BestDadEver

        Multiple flights are actually more cost-effective than direct flights. Only a selfish, self-indulgent, self-absorbed parent would subject their baby/ies to the long list of ill-health effects of flying, nevermind the discomfort of pressure changes, loud noise, poor air quality and the accelerated effects of aging (refer to Einstein’s theory of relativity). A baby belongs in the tender arms of a parent in the comforts of home.

  • Samantha

    This rules, and I think it should be required reading for 20-somethings everywhere.

  • Everyone-is-so-special-all-the-time-forever

    ew. People are people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, physical and mental capability, wealth or AGE. Put your headphones in and suck it up, buttercup.

    • Everyone-is-so-special-all-the-time-forever

      ^^ @Anny

      • anny

        That’s not being disputed. Did you even grasp the crux of the debate?

    • Kye

      Why should anyone have to suffer because of other people’s children?? Idiot.

      • Everyone-is-so-special-all-the-time-forever

        I just suffered because of you and you are someone’s child. Idiot.

      • Kye

        Except for the part where I’m not a child.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.schilling.754 David Schilling

    Everyone is being so mean to each other.

    • Everyone-is-so-special-all-the-time-forever

      Kids, hey?

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