© my mad little family

the joy and delight of william hunter howell.

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The answer is no. No one is ever ready to have a family - that is until you have a baby and then you simply have to be. It’s a crazy experience that throws manic curves balls at you from nowhere and that you wouldn't change for the world - even as you hide in the bathroom for two minutes alone. Having a family is amazing but it does mean some massive changes in your life; your priorities completely change. But that doesn't mean that you have to give up on your dreams - you just have to find a new way of doing it. If you want to travel then do it! You just need to take kiddie boredom and needs into consideration. Want to go back to school? Amazing! It just might take a little longer while you do it part time. You will never be 100% ready to start a family, but there are things you can do in preparation to make it seem like you are.

 

 

The nursery

 

When you become pregnant the nesting hormone really kicks in for both of you and the urge to make the place perfect for your baby can't be ignored. Nor should you. Sorting out the nursery, assembling the cot, putting away the baby clothes, stocking the changing station with nowhere near enough nappies, will go a long way to making you feel like you've got this. It also gives you the opportunity to aww at the tiny socks and shoes that your baby will where for a total of three months before they're too big - seriously, buy a range of clothing sizes, you'll be given thousands of new born baby grows, so prep for the months after.

 

 

Maternity/Paternity leave

 

When you find out about the bun living the high life in mummy’s oven, go and have a chat with your boss about the company’s policy on maternity and paternity pay. It's incredibly unfair that the dad will only get a few weeks off, but mum will be able to relax (joking you have a newborn) at home for a good few months. Use a maternity pay calculator to figure out the ballpark of your payments throughout leave - you'll feel less stressed about it all once you know. And, this is nothing against women, but mum’s maybe get the dad to check it over for you; pregnancy brain is real ladies and it will make you do, think and say some weird stuff.

 

 

The books

 

Run down to your local library and check out all the baby and pregnancy books they have. They might make a cool coffee table for nine months, but you might also learn a thing or two. There is more to giving birth than Hollywood shows; it takes a lot more than two pushes, and you're makeup won't be camera ready at the end of it. Read the books on what to do while pregnant (or what not to - there's a lot of those) what to do for the birth, and what to do once baby pops out of mummy’s belly button (another myth, sorry.)

 

 

The classes

 

If the books aren't enough, sign up for some pregnancy classes. There are some that mum can start alone and can continue post-birth like water classes. You go from stretches to blowing bubbles - new borns are incredible swimmers, well they have just been living in a water tank (also known as mummy) and can hold their breath on instinct rather than as a taught habit, it's great for them and for you. Birthing classes with your birthing buddy is also a great idea - If they don't know any methods of how to cope when you're on all fours moping like a cow and squeezing a human out of your… belly button, then they are likely to freak out. Plus it's a weekly excuse to get your partner to massage your back.

 

 

The borrowing of your friend’s puppy to see if you're capable of looking after a live being…

 

It's not mandatory, nor is it a likely scenario. But for people who have never baby sat or looked after a puppy, they are never going to have any idea of how tricky it is to have a tiny being 100% reliant on them. Yes a baby is harder because it can't even lift it's own head and just pops itself, but a puppy runs everywhere, eats everything, bites and hides it's poo somewhere in the house. So it'll help give you a good idea of what to expect when your baby is a toddler.

 

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