Jason Specland: Consultant, Comedian

Making it up as I go along. Always.

To the New Parents: You’ll Be Okay

In the past four days, three good friends of mine have had their first children. One from work, one from the PIT, and one who I was in a show with so long ago that she has long since made the transition from “theater friend” to “friend.”

So, to put the unsolicited advice I feel compelled as an experienced parent to give all in one place, I’m posting it here:

“Relax. You will be fine.”

Right now, you’re listening to a thousand different voices telling you exactly what you should and shouldn’t do. You’re getting glossy pamphlets from the hospital. Visits from friends. Advice from your parents and in-laws who were expertly trained on you. Books that have titles like, “What to Expect…” which could be substantively replaced by a single page reading, “The Unexpected.”

On top of that, there’s a whole cottage industry out there of parent panic. Am I feeding him right? Is she eating enough? Too much? If I have trouble breast feeding, am I failure? Should I soothe him when he cries, or let him cry it out? Am I swaddling her properly? Are her toys enriching enough? When should he start talking? Walking? If she doesn’t reach these milestones at these times, does this mean she won’t get into an Ivy League school?

“Relax. You will be fine.”

Kids are amazingly resilient. They can thrive in any environment, as long as there’s love and affection. Although none of you know each other, I know all of you and I already know that these kids have love and affection in spades. Kids need to be talked to. Kids need to be played with. Kids need to be loved. All of you guys have hearts so overflowing with love that the very idea of you not meeting these most important needs is ludicrous.

While everyone wants to tell you that everything is dangerous, kids today are incredibly safe. Statistically, they’re safer now than they have ever been. Just the same, they will bump their heads on coffee tables. They will fall down and scrape their knees. There will be boo-boos and Band-Aids. (Pro tip: The ones with Dora on them have greater healing powers.) There will be coughs, sniffles (dear GOD so many coughs and sniffles) and the occasional fever. But, in the end, they will be fine.

So the next time you’re crying over which model of stroller to get (trust me, you will), or panicking about the precise moment to introduce solid food, or waking up in the middle of the night just to make sure your baby is still breathing (no really, you will totally do this), please remember:

“Relax. You will be fine.”

I can’t speak to the parenting experience beyond the age of 5. I can, however, tell you all for certain that when you come home, and your kid jumps up and runs into your arms shouting, “Daddy! I’m so happy to see you!” that it’s pretty much a thousand times more amazing than any feeling you’ve yet experienced.

Good luck, try to get some sleep, and relax. I promise, you will be fine.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go sit in a corner for a while and repeat to myself, “He’ll probably stop wetting the bed before he goes to college.”

2 Comments

  1. Just one of the many reasons why I love you.

  2. But remember this: if you sing the wrong lullabye, your child will grow up to be a Republican.

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