Whether kids are in your near(ish) future or a 10 years away, if you want to be a cool parent we suggest doing these 9 things:
1. Get it All Out of Your System
To be a grounded parent one day, party your face off now. Indulge in back-to-back nights out that end with 4am pizza, get stupid wild on those girls’ and guys’ trips, and check those random hook-ups off your to-do list. That’s right; get it all out of your system before you choose to enter the next phase in your life, because, really, it’s not a cute look once you have mini mes running around. You won’t be as into the 6am swim practices or hockey games with a hangover and unidentified party wound.
2. Learn to Save
If you’re still blowing your entire paycheque, you’re going to need to start saving stat – because kids are damn expensive. According to MoneySense.ca, the average cost of raising a child to age 18 in Canada is $243,660. That’s just one child. And that doesn’t include university costs, complete with tuition fees that are expected to rise 13 per cent in the next four years alone. But it’s not just the essentials; you want to be able to afford the extra things for your kids too, like vacations, birthday presents they’ll brag about, minor hockey or gymnastics, and clothes they feel good in.
3. Tackle Your Travel List
Add as many stamps to your passport as you can now when you don’t have to worry about the cost and production of lugging kids in tow or finding a sitter. Not to mention, each trip enhances your worldliness. When your kids have geography-related questions they don’t feel like Googling, you can enlighten them with first-hand accounts of your own travels. Travelling also exposes you to a variety of people, values, cultures and lifestyles, which inevitably open your mind – and with your future kids, you’re really going to need an open mind.
4. Accept That Normal Doesn’t Exist
So, you may have grown up with the white picket fence and the heterosexual nuclear family, complete with a station wagon and a stay-at-home mom. And though you may opt for that route for yourself, know that life is going to look a lot different for your kids than it did for you. Not only will they think that same-sex parents are totally normal, thanks to the half-dozen kids in their class with them, sexual preference and gender roles are going to be increasingly ambiguous for the next generation as well – meaning, sex-ed isn’t what it used to be. Cue the Modern Family marathon.
5. Hang Out With Your Friends’ Kids
Sure, they look cute, cuddly, and super fun in all your parent friends’ social media posts. But do we really have to remind you how much better everything looks on social media than in real life? The best way to get a feel for children – disgustingly dirty diapers, tantrums, whining and all – is to spend time with them to see how they operate. You’ll get a sense of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to parenting and insight into their little minds in general. Not to mention, you’ll be tight with your kids’ future babysitters – always a bonus.
6. Find Your Inner Calm
The best parents are the calmest parents. The last thing you want is to give off a high-strung, anxious, or angry energy to your children. That could only mess them up in a big way, leading to more stress and anxiety for you. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, self-reevaluation, or therapy, do what you need to now to find your inner calm now. Hint: it could coincide with ditching the drama in your life.
7. Learn to Disconnect
When you think back to your childhood, were the best times those spent in front of your Nintendo, or were they of bonfires, lake swims, and evening bike rides? We’re going to guess the latter. Our lives became more connected than ever since then. According to a new survey commissioned for Participaction last month, Canadian kids are now spending just as much time in front of the screen as adults each month. If you want to give your kids – who will practically be born with a smartphone and laptop in hand – the same sense of unconnected simplicity and the ability to appreciate the simpler things, you need to learn to disconnect yourself.
8. Keep On Top of the Tech
Remember rolling your eyes at your parents when they didn’t understand how your Tamagotchi or first MP3 player worked? As much as you should be able to disconnect, you also need to keep with the tech times to be a cool parent… because if not, your child will outsmart you in the tech department by his or her 5th birthday.
If you don’t already “like” tech publications on social media, we suggest you do now.
9. Stay in Shape
Don’t even think about letting yourself go or slacking in the workout department just because you’re now the oldest person in the nightclub. Your tech-bred kids are going to need all the motivation they can get when it comes to venturing away from the video games or computer screen for physical activity. If you can’t keep up with them on a hike or bike ride, they’re going to want to leave you at home.
Cover image from: Friends with Kids