There really is no way to prepare for a baby. Not necessarily the baby itself, but the impending change to your life once you become a parent. It’s one of the few instances in life where you may think you know, but you truly have no idea. See, even though they know, show, and care about what happens to you once you have a kid, the experience of being responsible for one FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE is probably the realest shock to life possible.
In case that scared you in any way, it shouldn’t. The truth is, while parenthood is a lot of work, the reward is worth it. Kids are freakin’ adorable. Have you ever held a baby? ZOMG! Babies even give men baby fever. They smile at you and hold onto your pinky and you feel this overwhelming sense of care and protection, even if the kid isn’t yours.
Case in point, a few months ago, I had to take my son to the hospital to get some shots. I took one of my best friends with me. And I had him hold my son while he was getting his shots. The look of dread and terror on his face (my boy, not my son’s) as my child was screaming and crying because of these ravenous needles piercing his skin amazed me. I’ve NEVER seen my boy look so vulnerable. He looked like it was truly hurting him to have my son, who he was meeting for the first time, get these shots. Babies make you care. Sure you’re glad that you can give them back to their parents but the more you’re around babies, the easier it feels to be around babies. The idea of them isn’t as scary.
Of course, the idea of giving up the freedom to come and go as you please and party all day and night and drink all of the Jameson and all of the mimosas is equally repelling, but the fact is, as you get older and your priorities change it becomes harder to drink all night (and wake up the next morning in tact) and going out to day parties every weekend does get old. The idea of having a little person to raise and love and hug on can be romantic, especially if you have somebody you love and care about to partner on this journey with you. I have heard people say that babies and babysitting are birth control. And while it may delay the process, unless you’re not interested in kids at all, babies themselves tend to have the effect of making you want one of your own.
So let me tell you why you should just Netflix and Chill forever and have the safest sex possible with all the people.
Daycare is a motherfucker.
Listen, babies and kids are great. Having to find somebody to watch them? That’s that bullshit. If you’re like most people, you are not rich. And you also cannot afford for one of you – assuming that there are two of you at the ready in the first place – to quit your job and stay home and watch the baby/babies until they’re old enough to speak and tell you what’s going on. That? That’s the ideal situation. Almost nobody but the rich has the ideal situation. Most of us need our jobs and multiple incomes coming in to take care of the lives we’vc created.
So what this mean is that you’ll fall down the rabbit hole of having to locate some stranger whose entire job it is to convince you that they’re the best option available to take care of your child. Keep in mind, this person will spend more waking hours per day with your child than you will. So this new person at this new facility is going to tell you everything you need to hear, then charge you an arm and four legs for their services which, let’s be real, you’re inclined to want to pay. The belief is that the more you pay, the better quality services.
Either that or you live in New York City or Washington, DC. Since I’m the proud owner of a nearly 8-month-old, I’ve had to do the daycare waltz recently and the prices for day cares was insane. I’ve had people quote me $1,800 per month, which is more than the average mortgage in 40 states (that’s completely unverified). I’ve seen costs of $1,500 and had somebody tell me that $1,200 was cheap (it was for this area). The race for slots at high quality and regarded day cares exists from day one.
At my job, the waiting list for day care is literally three years long. How do I know this? When my daughter was born, they continued to call me every year to see if I wanted to stay on the waiting list (for a $75 fee) for three years. By the last time they called, I informed them that my child was in school already.
We cool, b.
The financial toll is a bitch. The psychological? Oy vey. Like I said this person is caring for your child for more hours of the day than you are. And all you can do is hope and pray, especially for infants and children that can’t speak, that this person cares as much as they claim and is as diligent as they claim to be. Reading stories of children who die while in the care of their daycare provider breaks my heart every time. Or seeing videos of toddler “fight clubs” orchestrated by people who run day care centers. These are people you pay to look after your child and all you can really do is hope and pray that you lucked into the right situation with the right person(s) who are doing it for the right reasons.
With my daughter, her grandmother provided her care for her first two years of life. And the relief that was has not been forgotten one day since. The only person who loves your kid as much as you do is grandma. But when family isn’t an option and you have to find and determine in one interview and tour if you’ve found a long term solution for your child’s well-being?
That’s enough to make you not want to have kids. It’s going to cost you everything and might give you a nervous breakdown.
Babies? They’re adorbs.
Daycare? That shit is for the birds.
Since you can’t have one without the other (unless you’re rich), just make sure you keep THAT in mind the next time you decide to test fate and your reflexes.