By Eric on July 9, 2012 4

Parenting: Experience Required?

Question from Joanna: I’ve been thinking a lot about having kids recently, something my husband, Mike, and I definitely want to do someday. But last night while we were out to dinner, I had this thought: “Wow, I can’t imagine having a baby right now.” I continued thinking about this subject while driving home and one of the main thoughts I had was, “Wow, Mike has never been around babies. Will he be scared when we have a baby that’s ours full-time? I have a feeling I’ll know what to do. I’m the oldest of five and have a pretty strong maternal instinct. But how will he feel?”He doesn’t seem too concerned about it, says “We’ll figure it out.” I’m confident we will. That he’ll be an amazing dad. And I actually can’t wait to see him holding our future baby.  But I still wonder will he feel like a fish out of water? Will the learning curve be ridiculously steep?

Since you are the only guy I “know” that has a baby, and are pretty reflective about the experience, I thought I’d ask you if you had similar feelings.

This is such a tough question and I’ve wondered many times if anyone is ever really ready to become a parent. Especially the first time around. I was lucky to have a nephew and three nieces before Rooney came along, and while it was good experience, nothing can compare to the responsibility that comes with having one of your own.

Parenting Experience

This was all too clear the first night in the hospital. The nurses took Rooney to the nursery so we could get some rest, but a few hours later, they brought her back. She was hungry and it was our responsibility to feed her. I knew we would be having to get up in the middle of the night to feed her, but when it actually happened after only sleeping for what seemed a few minutes, reality set in…there was no turning back.

My point is that you can and probably should read some books and gather information and whatever experience you can before having a baby, but you will never be fully prepared. I think it’s important to have the “we’ll figure it out” attitude and know that you are embarking on an incredibly challenging yet rewarding journey into parenthood.

Someone gave us the advice when we were expecting that we should volunteer at our church’s nursery as a way to practice. I thought that was a pretty good suggestion, but we never actually did it.

Your husband is right, though. You will figure it out when the time comes. People have babies all the time and they are resilient. You will make mistakes. Your child will be fine. That’s hard to accept, but it has been freeing for us as we figure this parenting thing out. We do the very best we can, and pray a lot!

How would you answer Joanna’s question?



Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. What are some of the books that you read that you found most helpful?

    • Two of my absolute favorites: “Successful Christian Parenting” by John MacArthur (I feel I still reference this daily and my oldest is 3 & 1/2) and “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp. Another that has been really helpful is “What’s Eating Your Child?” —> the advice in this one helped me overcome picky eating with my oldest and ear infections with my youngest. Books I wish I had read are any related to baby-led weaning as it relates to eating whole foods.

  2. Great answer, thanks Eric. I will definitely be reading a lot of books when I’m pregnant and other than that we’ll just figure it out as we go. Nice to know that my husband has the right attitude.

    Looking forward to book recommendations!

  3. Good post! Before my daughter was born, my husband had little to no experience with babies. He was once described by his cousin as “the world’s most awakward baby holder.” So, yeah, I was a little nervous about how things would go.

    In the time before she was born he took a daddy boot-camp class, a baby care class (daipering, bathing, swaddling, etc) and read some parenting stuff I sent him. We had some fun diapering stuffed animals, too. After she was born, my husband became a great father. I had nothing to worry about.

    Eric is right that you can prepare your socks off reading and researching but when the rubber meets the road, you step up and figure it out. It is really different when it’s your kid. Even for me with my years of babysitting and baby holding, I had to get to know my daughter. The previous experience gave me confidence that I could figure it out.

    All three of us learned together, how to become a family.

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