How do you prepare to become a parent?

My sister had a baby!!  Her tiny beautiful son and my nephew was born last week at 11.35am. He is already a week old. The birth was not easy and I am so in awe of how brave and strong she’s been all the way through. I can’t imagine how scared her and her partner must have been in some moments but instead of giving way to fear they have stayed unerringly positive.

Although I have lots of friends with children, seeing my sister go through the whole process has really brought home to me how completely nuts and world changing the experience is. Knowing that my sister was in labour was particularly odd, I wanted to rush and protect her from the pain even though I knew it was part of the process and is one of the few instances of pain that lead to great joy. I don’t have children, I’ve chosen not to, but I have been a full-time (and now a part-time) teacher and most of my friends have children. I care about children and how we can be good parents and teachers and role models now in this very confusing, seemingly transitional time. So how can we figure out what ‘good’ means for us here and now?

When you are working hard to bring about important changes like equal pay, discrimination free workplaces, transgender bathrooms, or gay marriage it can feel like society moves at a glacial pace and for those suffering, it does. From a historical view and a parenting perspective however… the last few decades have see huge shifts in society, much faster change than in previous centuries. I think about my sister, her partner and my nephew and I can imagine the difficulty and complexity of becoming a parent now at this time. How do you make clear headed decisions? How do you know what will be helpful for your child’s future when the future may be significantly different from your childhood?

As I don’t have any first hand experience to give to my sister, I’ve done what I can do to help which is read and research! I’ve spent the past few months avidly reading articles about parenting and teaching and anything to do with kids. I haven’t read any books about parenting yet so if any of you have recommendations that I can pass on to my sister?

Obviously, you have to find your own way as a parent, that’s part of what makes it so fun, heart wrenching and incredible, but I have found that reading other people’s experiences and advice is fascinating and helpful. A lot of it has been helpful to me as an adult!

How did you prepare to be a parent? What would you do if you were about to become one?

So I thought I would share with you here some of the great articles on parenting and raising a son that I’ve found:

This brilliant list of tips from Esther Perel on parenting and keeping your relationship healthy as a parent

How to raise a feminist son

Teenage Brothers on Sex, Social Media, and What Their Parents Don’t Understand

In fact, the whole ‘How to raise a boy’ series on The Cut

How to raise a sweet son in an era of angry men

John Gottman on how to strengthen your kids emotional intelligence

Schools that teach empathy

Cup of Jo‘s recommendations for children’s books-here and here

And her article on Why you’re already a perfect mother

AND the entire Cup of Jo series on Motherhood around the World

How to talk to your doctor about postpartum stress

The Ackerman Institute Gender and Family project which has info on raising transgender kids

And this article about raising a transgender child

A great list of websites for children’s clothing

Finally, The Kids Should See This…an amazing site filled with educational and fascinating videos for adults and kids.

Both photos are of my new nephew Oscar with my family!

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