Ladies, this is not for you. This is just between us dads. This is not a post with affordable tips on baby-proofing a room. Nor is it a guide to color schemes and themes. This is a post of practical wisdom for fathers who are about to undertake what can be a fairly laborious process: getting a room ready for that first baby.
What qualifies me to give advice on this topic? Well I’ve done this four times and just finished my last baby room in my home. Over the last eight years I’ve gone from rooms with themes to hanging borders to assembling cribs to stenciling stripes to wrestling with wainscoting…twice.
I don’t want expectant fathers to be caught unawares with what’s to come. A dangerous road lies ahead unless it’s navigated properly. Here’s how to keep your home a happy one while preparing a room for baby.
Get locked in on a theme or color scheme early
This is critical to the weekends of your future. As soon as you find out what the gender of the baby is try to nail down a theme or color scheme for the new baby’s room as early as possible. Don’t bother arguing with the lady about how Winnie the Pooh is too girly for a boy’s room. If she’s picked a theme or knows what color she wants, you’re in good shape. What you’ll now want to do is buy as much stuff centered around that color or theme as early as possible. You see once you’ve invested money, it will be hard for mommy to change her mind. If you only buy one can of paint or a single mobile for the crib, you run the risk of her changing her mind…several times.
Lock a concept in and then go buy paint, a bed spread, curtains and whatever else is desired for the baby’s room as quickly as you can. You will earn brownie points for your initiative, but you’ll also save yourself from future angst as mom-to-be will probably be less inclined to change her mind. (Note: Expectant mothers changing their minds is completely unpredictable and this is in no way a guarantee that you will not be threatened with bodily harm to buy new stuff anyway.)
Prepare Your Calendar
Yes, you have 9 months until a baby is born, but the nesting urge can occur at any given moment. It’s important for you as a man to prepare yourself for the fact that you may get ambushed with a baby room project at any given moment. Map out your calendar so you know which weekends you want to absolutely avoid having to make 18 trips to Home Depot. For example, I knew March Madness began this weekend so if I wanted to free myself from any baby room duties, I had to have that room done (we’re talking completely finished) at least 2 full weeks before March Madness began. Why 2 weeks? Because just when YOU think you’re done, another small, but likely painful, addition to the baby room design plans will be added. It’s a classic mommy maneuver that’s hard to plan for.
Know which weekends have things which you cannot miss (golf outing with college friends, NFL Playoffs, weekend opening of that movie you want to see, etc.) and make sure you get the baby room chores ahead of that occasion so you are free to enjoy it without rebuke.
Spend the Money to Have Stuff Put Together
Prepping a baby room can be ridiculously expensive, but one cost that is worth its weight in gold is having someone put together stuff for you. Unless your name is Ty Pennington, assembling baby furniture can be ridiculously frustrating. It’s stuff for a child that weighs less than 10 pounds. Why on earth should it be so complicated? But it is. You’ll buy that rocking chair at Babies R Us, bring it home and find that there are 346 pieces and the only tool that can put it together is an Allen Wrench. Yes, an Allen Wrench.
To minimize the adult temper tantrums that takes place in your home and to ensure that your child will be sleeping in a crib that stays put together, go ahead and pay the extra money to have someone else put it together. Plus, you’ll have someone else to blame for years to come if for some reason something breaks. Always a bonus.
Don’t Argue with the Pregnant Lady
Our instincts will tell us that putting 4 coats of paint on a wall is just illogical. Or that you just installed hardwood floors so why would you want to put carpet in the room? But I’m telling you, for the sake of the peace in your home and your own survival, don’t argue with the pregnant lady. She wants purple curtains, you go get purple curtains. She wants you to rearrange the furniture for the 34th time, go ahead and do it. Arguing will get you nothing but trouble, and you’ll wind up having to do what she wants anyway. Trust me. I know.
I wish you luck my fellow fathers as you wrestle with this new challenge of being a parent and home owner. You may think you know what you’re getting into, but really you have no idea.
For those that have, and survived, you know what I’m talking about and I welcome you to share your advise and wisdom in the comments.