My wife is due in less than three weeks. Less than 21 days.
To say that I’m personally unprepared is an understatement. Now, don’t’ get me wrong here. I’m an engineer by trade, so preparation and organization is what I do. Our checklists are completed, items have been purchased and assembled, and the closet is stocked with diapers. I’m confident that our home, nursery, and all the required “stuff” is ready to rock (likely overly-ready-to-rock). Stuff-wise, I feel like we could bring home half a dozen babies and not need to buy a thing, but mentally, that’s a different story.
I’m usually calm, collected, and practical. I plan, I rehearse, and when the time comes for most things, I’m sure I can deliver. I’m the kind of guy that rehearses presentations and buys adequate life insurance. I’m confident. I perform well under pressure. That’s why this baby is beating me up. Sure, I’d like to think that I’m mentally prepared for this kid, and I think I do a pretty good job of convincing my wife that we should feel comfortable and ready (and we should!), but deep down I know that I’m personally not even close. What’s worse is that I know even with infinite planning, I'll never be totally prepared and that scares me. I’m not used to that at all.
It’s just that the consequences seem so extreme to me. If I botch a presentation or mess up at work, it’s fixable. If I bang up the car or burn down the house, they’re replaceable. But with this kid, I get one shot to get it right. No do-overs. No mulligans. If I mess him up, it’s permanent. Not only for my wife and I, but for the rest of his life too. That’s absolutely terrifying.
I’ve got the mechanics down. I know how to change a diaper; I know how to operate the carseat. I know how to carry him and I know what to look for when he’s ill. But, how do I know what to say and when to say it? How do I know what to teach and how to teach it? What if I teach him the wrong thing? What if I’m already out-of-touch with today’s kids? How do I even know if I mess up?
This is way out of my comfort zone. I like well-defined answers. Every calculus problem has one correct answer. One. Every design has one optimum. One. Every manufacturing process has one maximum efficiency. One. With this baby, there isn’t one answer, and that unbelievably frustrating.
I need a single solution. An optimum. A perfect plan of what to do and when to do it. It’s pretty obvious I’m not going to get it.
Maybe this is why I hated all those liberal arts classes in college; I need a right answer.
As always, any and all advice would be appreciated.