10 Pieces of Advice for the Royal Parents-to-Be
Are you into the media craze surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge? Rumor has it that they're expecting an heir to the throne this month. There has been rampant coverage of the couple, and nobody admits that this waiting game could go on for quite a bit longer. They never stated she was due in mid-July - that was pure speculation. She could be due July 31st, for all anyone knows. And babies can be up to 2 weeks late, in some cases.
So what are people talking about in the meantime? The baby's name. His or her gender. Whether or not he/she will be a Prince/Princess of Cambridge. How rich the tot will be. Where they will live. How William will protect the little one. What school, even, the future monarch will attend.
While Kate is packing her baby bag and waiting for the stork - which likely shies away from public pressure - I've put together a list of ten things that change after parenthood. Reading up on this list will no doubt help the royal duo - or any expectant couple - feel prepared.
- 1. Typing Speed
Whoa. You might say this doesn't even apply. But it's a big one. I emailed a lot of people one-handed after my daughter and son were born. Before parenthood, I used to type at least 40 wpm. Add the baby-holding factor: it went down to 10-20 wpm. Hunt-and-peck is the name of the game.
- 2. Bedtime
First you go to bed when the baby goes to bed. Then you don't go to bed at all. When the baby's awake, you're awake, which can be frequent and often. (A word of caution: be careful driving in this deprived state.) Also, your child's bedtime is not always about resting yourself; it's about getting things done. Of course, if you're royalty, you might have the nanny take on some of your responsibilities. I can hear Prince William now: "Mildred! Come change this stinky nappy!"
- 3. Cleanliness
It's amazing when you have time to take a shower, the first year or two. Add a brother or sister and it becomes well nigh impossible. Also: going to the bathroom. There's something my daughter called the 'Pee-pee Races' at her preschool. Two kids would sit down on two toilets, side by side, and see who finished faster. I call it the Pee-pee Race because you just want to get it all out before your toddler opens the door and exposes you. Of course, in England, porcelain throne experiences might be very different. They're posh. There's a bidet to wash your bum and all that.
- 4. Modesty
I didn't even want to think about breastfeeding before I got pregnant. Then, the more I read about it, the less strange it seemed. By the time my daughter was one month old, I would nurse any old where, and as for onlookers, who cared? Well, I did cover up at least, discretion being paramount. It just seemed like if my daughter was hungry, no big deal. I had the miracle meal: milk. Even my breast pump, much as it looked like a bizarre torture device at first, became something awesome.
- 5. Pizza
Oh, but I skipped a few steps. First it's liquid, then it's powdered oatmeal, then it's soft foods. Then you avoid hazards like marshmallows and hotdogs. THEN it's pizza. Yes, pizza: it evolves. Backwards. It no longer has those tasty ingredients like peppers and mushrooms, which kids often find icky. You get two exotic choices, eventually: cheese or pepperoni. Or, nothing. Get used to it.
- 6. Work
You'll do anything to be able to work. What you spent years studying at university now seems like a piece of cake. And it is, compared to parenting. Which is why it's so nice to get back to it. Work = vacation. Wills still has a job as a flight pilot: cherish these moments before they pass.
- 7. Entertainment
When I asked my brother and sister if they'd seen a recent movie (after they had kids, and I was still naïve,) they laughed. Then I learned. You start to avoid movie theaters and restaurants that cater to grown-ups. Actually, scratch that: we once snuck into Casino Royale with my one year old daughter. But luckily, she fell asleep almost immediately and stayed that way throughout. We never attempted that again. (I don't know what we were thinking, really.) Drive in theaters: where did they all go? That would be perfect. Also: forget Showtime, and CNN. Hello Nick Jr., and Disney. I hear those channels are popular in the U.K., too?
- 8. Parties
Forget dancing naked at wild Vegas parties. (Oops, that was Prince Harry.) Hello birthdays, and scrambling for as many Chuck E. Cheese tickets as you can get. A restaurant with a playgym? Heaven.
- 9. The Lightness of Being
Newborns require a lot of gear. It's amazing how much you can pack into one trip. For me, a stroller was like my surrogate husband, during the day: it carried everything for me, including the baby, groceries, my purse, and the diaper bag. My trunk never had room for what I bought at the store, because it was full of said stroller and sand buckets and what-have-you. The British call a stroller a 'pram.' It's a great investment. Every parent needs one.
- 10. Family
Something nobody tells you: when you become a parent, you become dependent on your parents. They are a Godsend, when you haven't yet chosen a babysitter. If, in your pre-parenthood days, you visited Mom and Dad only on holidays, suddenly you'll be seeing them a lot more. It may be the only hour in the week when you can (mostly) relax. It's comical to think of Prince Charles being pressed into service this way, but I'm sure it will happen sooner or later. Good luck to him.
The royal couple will be like any other set of brand new parents, it is certain. Anxious, proud, and stressed out. Consulting experts, calling their doctor, and protecting their new addition. It's a journey of ups and downs and usually doesn't take place in the limelight. Here's hoping it's not too difficult a transition, and instead a safe one, full of happy memories.