Guest post by Ashley Taylor
Image via Pixabay
Parent: A job that puts you on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and doesn’t offer a paycheck. In fact, you can expect to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next couple of decades — not counting college costs.
Parenthood may not make for the most compelling classified ad, but it’s a job hundreds of thousands of people around the world — including many with disabilities — take on each day. And, while it’s definitely daunting, there are ways to prepare for the countless duties you’ll encounter as a parent. Here are a few words of advice to get you started.
Get Your House in Order
If you’ve been in your home for a while, you may already have some modifications in place. Childcare can present some new challenges, however, so it is important to take a look at your home through that lens. Perhaps installing grab bars in tubs and showers will make maneuvering around your bathroom with a wet baby more manageable, according to advice from HomeAdvisor. Or maybe you need to reevaluate the flooring in your home considering you’ll be carrying a kid around. If you have mobility issues, removing tripping hazards and opting for non-slip floor coverings will not only help you, it will also be a boon to your baby as he or she learns to crawl and walk.
Some parents with disabilities may also want to invest in adapted products specifically designed to suit their needs. For instance, some manufacturers sell cribs with a side door to allow caregivers who use a wheelchair to comfortably put babies to bed or pick them up. Such specialized products can be expensive, however, so you might opt to make modifications to standard products to create a better fit for you family. There’s a wealth of advice available online and from other sources on making childcare easier for parents with disabilities.
Get Your Finances in Order
In addition to making modifications to your home, you should also evaluate whether your finances need a little renovation in the months before a baby joins the family. Experts advise expectant parents to start trimming debt and getting better acquainted with their budget as soon as they know a baby is on the way. Considering all the new costs that come with kids, it’s likely most people will need to change their spending habits to prepare for parenthood.
Also make sure the beneficiaries on all your accounts are up to date, pen a will, and purchase life insurance if you don’t already have a policy. One expert quoted by Parents recommends insuring yourself for at least six to eight times your gross annual salary.
Get Your Health in Order
If you are carrying a child, odds are good that you are trying your hardest to eat right and otherwise take care of your mental, physical, and emotional health to give your developing baby the strongest start possible in life. You should plan on carving time out of your busy childcare schedule to maintain those healthy habits once the baby is born. And, even if you’re not carrying the child, you should also be minding your own diet and exercise routine to provide support for your partner and prepare to set a good example for your future family.
Expectant parents may also want to look into special training and therapy programs that can better prepare them for parenthood. For example, professionals may be able to teach ergonomic techniques that make typical childcare chores safer for parents and children alike or instruct prospective parents on best practices for tackling tasks such as feeding and diapering with a parent’s specific disability in mind. Asking your healthcare team for advice and resources early on will give you time to find the help you need.
Parenting is certainly one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. But, with a little planning and preparation, you can sharpen your skill set to be ready for the challenge.