‘I won’t sugar coat it. Having a baby is like having 15 shots of espresso. Parenthood is the wildest ride you could imagine.’: LGBTQ adoptive dad shares parenting advice

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“Parenthood is the wildest ride you could ever imagine. For some, the process to even become parents is just as crazy. My husband and I adopted all three of our children and brought them home from the hospital. Our oldest was premature and needed to stay in the NICU until she was about a month old.

Courtesy of Erik Alexander

The journey to become parents can be brutal. Trying to learn the ropes in just a few months can cause ANYONE to freak out. Adding all of the paperwork, home studies, certifications, and background checks, on top of getting the baby’s nursery created, it is just about maddening.

If this is you right now, stop. Take a breath. No, no. Take a deep, solid breath. And — exhale.

I am here today to tell you three of the most important things I WISH someone would have told me when we first became parents.

You will be okay. Trust me.

Courtesy of Erik Alexander

Keep in mind that realistically there are many more, but to make it simple, I plucked my Top 3 to hopefully guide you and your spouse to a much more tranquil and optimistic place.

Don’t Fall Prey!

In the beginning, it is like you have taken 15 shots of espresso and you are bursting with adrenaline. You are reading every baby helpers manual you can get your hands on.

One thing you need to keep in mind is every single baby is different. I know you have heard that time and time again, but the truth of it is, regardless of how many books you read, every baby will develop a little differently. Some quicker than others.

Though books are great, do not get tunnel vision because of them. Think outside the paperback!

You are also choosing every item under the sun to put in your baby’s nursery.

If you are anything like me, you find yourself daydreaming of just how your new days and nights will be spent, just how it will play out, and just how you will solve each problem as they arise.

All of this is super sweet. And very much realistic.

When carefully selecting things for your baby’s nursery, remember, this is a BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY you are about to walk into. There are products made today that absolutely blow my mind — for good and bad! You will find the most stupid products ever made in one hand, but then, the coolest and best time saving products in the other.

When our first daughter was born, we fell prey to one in particular. You absolutely DO NOT need a baby wipe warmer. All you are doing is spoiling your baby to freak out and scream when you are away from the house. Seriously! Not to mention, they require too many stupid reminders in your phone to keep up with.

Don’t buy it! Don’t fall prey!

When planning, think about the most sensible, practical, and logical products you can find which will make your life easier. Bottom line.

There are also things that will surprise you, even when you both thought you may be wasting your money. For example, the automatic formula makers. This, my friends, is a game changer! Our third child is 6 months old, and I do not understand how we didn’t have this thing sooner. It is amazing!

For $200, you cannot beat the ‘Baby Brezza.’ (And no, I did not get paid for name dropping.) I am just speaking from my heart.

Although I say don’t fall prey, also be willing to experiment. But ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, read tons and tons of reviews. Ask your friends if they have used the product and get their opinions as well. Trust me.

Draw Your Boundaries

Speaking of opinions, always remember, everyone will have one. Just as you and your spouse are bursting with excitement over your new baby, so is every person in your family. With that being said, you will find some who are VERY eager to help and give advice in the beginning. And believe me, you will need it!

I am here to tell you, if you are lucky enough to have family in your life who are tossing out their opinions left and right, accept the help! Remember, their advice is usually coming from a place of love.

Trust me, in the beginning, you will need all the help you can get.

Later on, as you gain your confidence and balance, and begin to learn your newfound rhythm with this new parenting life, along with juggling all of the daily tasks this new life brings, you may find the once welcomed parenting advice from some family members starts to become ‘overstepping’ boundaries.

When this happens, take a deep breath.

Drawing your family’s boundaries in the beginning is probably the most important thing you can do aside from keeping your immediate family healthy. In a way, this is also keeping you healthy as well, just mentally instead of physically.

I am not going to sugar coat it. This can be very controversial. It may ruffle some feathers. Feelings may get hurt. Some will even get mad. Some may stay mad.

In a way, understandably so. After all, most are coming from loving places in their hearts.

It’s all in how you package your words. If you are respectful and you keep the other’s feelings in mind, then they should have an obligation to do the same. After all, if you aren’t being respected in the beginning, then this will definitely become a problem later on down the road.

Unfortunately, some may not see how they are personally overstepping your boundaries. By showing them examples in the beginning and pointing out where it makes you feel uncomfortable, it will help.

It is absolutely crucial. Communicating your feelings is a must.

If you choose not to open this dialogue, they most likely will continue to overstep, and it could grow into judgement and resentment amongst both parties.

Remember to draw your boundaries. Be respectful and have good communication and you will be fine. And if it takes a while to iron out the kinks, then so be it.

Do not give in until you feel in your heart your point is made. Period.

Courtesy of Erik Alexander

Savor EVERY Second!

When your baby does arrive, you will quickly be thrust into a brand new way of life. Everything you did before will seem like light years away after a few months.

I used to religiously watch ‘The Price is Right’ every single morning. It was my jam. Who am I kidding? It will ALWAYS be my jam. That was my hour to sit and get transported. Today, I absolutely laugh at myself. I barely have enough time to drink my espresso or go to the bathroom, much less sip on a mug of coffee for an hour. But believe you me, ‘TPIR’ will always remain my favorite game show, and the many years and countless hours we spent together will always remain in my heart.

Today, my babies complete my soul. The good, the bad, and the disgusting all sit front and center in my mind to allow me to see just how quickly time passes.

There are poop explosions, bedtime stories, nuclear meltdowns, cuddles, and even quarantining together with 2 toddlers and a newborn.

It all changes so fast, and before you know it, the page turned and you have moved onto the next memory. The days seem long at times, but trust me my friends, the years are incredibly short.

Just remember that cliche, ‘This too, shall pass.’

Sadly, even the things you don’t want to pass most certainly will. Those little voices and those chubby cheeks will grow into the kids who will change the world. And we will help make it happen.

So, if you take any piece of advice I have offered in this piece, take this. Savor EVERY second.”

Courtesy of Erik Alexander

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Erik Alexander of New Orleans. You can follow his family on Instagram here, Facebook here and Youtube hereDo you have a similar experience? We’d love to hear your journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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