Instant parenthood? What are you thinking right now?

Listen along to Instant Parenthood

Catch human nature at its best when you find yourself in the instant parenthood club. The idea of having your life turned upside down by an upcoming new arrival is enough to make anyone stand up and take notice. Or is it?

I'm sure there are some people who can sit together planning intensely, and ponder the future of their newborn with the greatest of care. And even before the baby comes, some will have considered post secondary savings plans, a larger house, better neighbourhoods and a minivan.

However, although that is commendable, it only treats how to school the child, where he or she will sleep, the safety of the surrounding area, and how you are going to get the little one(s) to the mall. It doesn't speak to the child's upbringing or development as a well-balanced individual.

OK, so the husband has a job that can support the family, good. Mom and dad have excellent family histories as far as health goes, good again. The neighbours are supportive with nice kids... for baby sitting, and grandma is waiting in the wings... ready to pinch a cheek or two. Hey life is good... yeah... yours.

Getting married and having kids are likely two of the most important decisions people have to make, and yet they are left up to the young and inexperienced. These decisions are made when life is exciting, new and interesting. Everything is a wonderful adventure... that we can go through together... in joyful bliss. OK, so ask the 50% or more divorced couples who have tattooed teens with drug problems, what went wrong. "We should never have done it". Which? Take your pick. If one was a bad choice... the other one was too.

Instant parenthood, if it has already come to that for you, is a time to stop and look inward. Forget about the 'things', and concentrate on the few people that are going to control the whole show. List all of the bad babits of you and your spouse and of your parents and in-laws. Now, recognize two things. First, that some of these failings are something you consider too late to change, even though they are likely destructive. And second, those traits, and the rest, will probably all be passed down to your child, with absolutely no effort on your part.

I'm not suggesting sterilizing the environment to clear it of loud music or the occasional squabble... that's unrealistic. I'm talking about adjusting attitudes, prejudices, resentment, hatred, laziness, greed, envy and more. And ignite some of the good values, inspirations and morals that you wish you had inherited. You probably already know what they are, and they are not very hard to find. Build a better foundation from which to launch yourself into instant parenthood. Go to counseling now, and tell your spouse you're both doing it for the baby. If your spouse refuses, you have probably identified a problem right there... pride, shame, fear... whatever. Get over it! How will you deal with raising a child if you can't fix yourself when you are young, and presumably, able.

I know all young parents are probably invulnerable, and all-knowing, but that's a shame. This isn't a time to feel immortal, arrogant, or to be resistant to new ideas. Instant parenthood is a time for instant change and humility. I don't care who you are, we all have something to improve upon. In fact, to say you don't, is to show us you do have a problem.

Instant parenthood means guiding, nurturing, protecting and developing a new life. To ultimately set it free upon the world. That responsibility is the biggest job you have. Do all you can to understand yourself, what makes you tick, and your impact on those around you, before using any of your 'cast in stone' talents on your child. Fix yourself first and raising your child will become less complicated.

Make a contract with yourself now that you will become, and will inspire, a well-balanced, happy individual.

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