If you were to take the Hollywood message about childbirth and parenthood at its word, every prospective parent would head to the birthing room with innocent awe and excitement. They would all return home, blissed out with love for their new child. And then, weeks later, they’d keel over from exhaustion because they didn’t expect a new born baby to be so much hard work.
In reality, every prospective parent knows that bringing a new life into the world is going to present challenges. We’re ready for them, mostly, because we’re used to life being sequential. You are born, you nurse, you walk, you talk, and before too long you’re at school. As a parent, you know your job is to make that easier for your new little one. If anything, the movies have exaggerated how important it is to prepare for a surprise. However, as your kids get older, you’ll learn how parenthood demands that you become something close to an expert in some fields you never really thought about so much before.
Health and Healthcare
There are a lot of books about caring for a baby, deciphering every noise and every face they make, but once the toddling spell is over, you’re pretty much left to figure it out yourself. And even while your child is still too young to really express what’s wrong, they will have some health bugs (we all do, as children). You’ll spend so long researching what a certain pain, or any other symptom, can mean in a child, that you’ll practically be a pediatrician by the time your third is born.
When you were in school, you went to lessons, you did homework, you sat exams and, somewhere in among all of it, you could suddenly speak French and knew what date the Gettysburg Address was delivered. As kids, education happens to us as much as anything else. As an adult, when you’re responsible for someone else’s education, you suddenly can’t know enough. An understanding, patient teacher and principal you can speak to are handy things to have. A good list of education technology terms and a useful refresher on how classrooms have changed since you were last in one will also be useful. You want your child to have the best possible chance of succeeding, so you feel you can never know enough.
We can all immediately refer to at least one craze that was at its height when we were kids, from yo-yos to Pogs to Minecraft and more besides. We can also remember how nonplussed our parents were, initially, before we explained a bit more about why these things were important. The first craze your child gets into will, likely, leave you equally bemused, so be ready to listen to them when they talk about it – and read everything you can about said craze (while allowing for the fact that it will have been written by an adult and will thus be at least 40% wrong).
Life happens quickly, the more so as you get older. There will be times you want to freeze it in place, but you can’t – and if you talk and listen to your kids and pay attention to what’s going on in their lives, you’ll learn what you need to.