I first ran into Kathy Richards when Jon Acuff's Stuff Christians Like blog was taking off a couple years ago. She dominated the comments with her hilarious snark and wit. Since then, we've connected on Twitter, each other's blogs, and Words With Friends.
I don't really know what Kathy does. She's an artist, a writer, a literary agent, a webmaster, and probably a convict and/or international spy.
Check out her blog, but wait until after you read her post. It's kinda rude otherwise. Easter Egg: hunt around for the cheese butler post and leave a comment.
During a recent game of Words with Friends, the following conversation took place with Ricky, aka Bob, aka Arthur, aka Ricky Bobby:
1357bob: Nice start.
Katdish10: I’m gonna beat you someday.
1357bob: Yes you will. Wanna write a guest post beforehand?
Katdish10: That was very subtle.
The rest of the conversation involved me asking him what he wanted me to write about and him telling me he was about to be a first time dad looking for some sound, deeply intellectual advice from me. Or something like that…
This was followed by me suffering yet another crushing defeat at the hands of 1357bob. But true to my word, the following are some insights into first time parenting seldom found in that dog-eared copy of “What to Expect the First Year.”
Get it while you can: now. Before the baby is born. Of all the things I was unprepared for when my son was born, the lack of adequate sleep was numero uno. Prolonged periods without a good night’s rest does things to a person. It’s a seldom shared Hollywood secret that all those extras in zombie movies are not heavily made-up actors and actresses but are, in fact, first time parents. The first year my husband and I were parents, our conversations about lack of sleep can be summed in four four-word phrases:
“Now we are family” (We were so blissfully ignorant at the hospital.)
“This kid never sleeps.”
“What have we done?”
and most importantly…
“This too shall pass.”
I would also recommend stocking up on DVDs of your favorite movies and/or television series to watch at 4:00 in the morning lest you become addicted to the late night infomercial.
You have no doubt already either purchased or received as gifts a few baby products. Many are quite useful, others not so much. When I checked the Babies R’ Us website for the most requested registry items, the Diaper Genie was among the most popular. I had one. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. You probably have one sitting in a giant pile of baby stuff. Save yourself some time and money. Take that thing back and use plastic grocery bags instead. Have you ever seen sausage being made? The Diaper Genie works much like that only instead of ground pork or beef the casings are filled with stinky diapers. It’s really quite disgusting.
Most helpful baby products: An endless supply of diapers and wipes, Lavender Bed-Time Baby Wash, burp cloths and Infant Gas Drops.
You may have had deep, philosophical conversations with your wife during pregnancy about what it means to bring another human being into this uncertain world and the miracle of childbirth, but after the baby is born much of your daily conversations will probably center around baby poop: how often, how much, what color it was and its consistency. I’m going to stop talking about this now because I just threw up in my mouth a little, but trust me when I tell you this is perfectly normal. Okay, maybe not normal, but certainly typical of new parents.
I hope this advice has been helpful. I’ll save the most important gem of wisdom for last:
Your wife is a beautiful woman made more beautiful in motherhood, but there will be days when she doesn’t feel that way. Days when she’s too exhausted to take a shower or even change out of her pajamas. Your most important role as a new father is to be her knight in shining armor. Never let a day go by without showing her how much she is cherished. Congratulations to you both. Your lives will never be the same, and I mean that in the best possible way.
What other tips do you have? It's almost go time!