2015 was an explosion of good fortune for my husband and me; ALL of the emotions played out. From buying our first dream home to getting married to welcoming our first baby into this wild world.
As a papa of three through domestic infant adoption, becoming a dad is BY FAR the greatest moment I’ve ever been blessed to experience. (Getting married to my then-boyfriend of 9 years after the supreme court ruled that love is love also ranks pretty high on the “memory maker” list.)
Today, 8 years later, I am able to pinpoint the things that happened that I am immensely grateful for; and some matters I wish that had gone a little differently.
Imagine all of the excitement from your village of family and friends when you bring home a baby! (Unless they are bigots, of course, and don’t reach out.) Everyone is chomping at the bit to help and it really does come from the sweetest place in their hearts. But while some simply help, others start to overstep their place.
To protect these relationships and your sanity, I am here to share with y’all some helpful tips for those about to become dads and managing your village’s best intentions.
1. Set family boundaries
We love and rely on our village. But sometimes those relationships begin to get stressed and tired when a new baby is involved.
In one scenario, everyone who plays an integral role in your family’s life now competes with one another. And if any of y’all are Southerners, you know friends and family can also be just as judgmental. Once boundaries are crossed the warm and fuzzy feelings also fade. Those feelings become more like a sinking feeling in your gut, as people seek attention, and importance.
But how, you may ask?
Listen to Papa, please. Set visiting hours. Make it clear if you’re accepting – or not accepting – advice on such things as sleep, schedule, eating, etc. Ask for specific help such as cleaning or meals.
And remember, in the beginning you WILL NEED YOUR VILLAGE, but boundaries are key to making it work.
2. Social media best practices
Please remember that social media can be hurtful if you accidentally leave someone out. And it happens – trust me. Family and friends take great pride in their love of your new baby and the precious role they play, and some may take it as a snub even if you forget to tag them in every single photo.
So make it simple. Tag your partner and that is it!
While we are talking about it, don’t create montages of all the family holding the baby.
Again, it unknowingly becomes a competition. Just nip it in the bud early on and it will alleviate a lot of heartache. This is especially hard on the parents because we too are coming from a genuine and exciting place. Do not let the excitement cloud your decision process.
3. Show your appreciation
We’re all sensitive at times! Be cognizant of how you talk to your village. Even when you are covered in baby barf. Show your appreciation, remember your manners.
But at the end of the day, do not get steamrolled. Take charge of your own family and the direction you are going. Which leads me to no.4.
4. Little white lies can help
At the end of the day, if it gets to be too much, a little white lie won’t hurt.
Tell folks y’all are sick and can’t have visitors. Do what you think is best for your own feelings and your future relationships. Sometimes a little white lie can save the day AND a lot of hurt feelings.
We each have a role to play in this. Today, I am owning up to my own role. There are definitely missteps I can’t take back, all I can do is learn from them. And in this process, I hope that you can too.
Over on our website, nolapapa.com, our digital magazine just launched! I would be honored if y’all checked it out!. Created by a dozen writers from across the country, from all backgrounds and creeds. All joining forces to share inspiring stories of hope, grit, self acceptance, kindness and LOVE.
And as always you can follow our family’s journey on Instagram@nolapapa