Dear Damon, Here’s Some Advice On Your Impending Parenthood » VSB

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Dear Damon, Here’s Some Advice On Your Impending Parenthood

Dear Damon,

If my math is correct, you’re set to become a father next month. Congratulations. There are few times in the life of a person more exciting (and nerve-wracking) than the birth of your first child! As your friend and brother, I couldn’t be happier for you and the Gay Reindeer on this life changing event (it’s good to know how to use insurance terms since in your case, the baby is born during most open seasons – good timing!). I look forward to watching your daughter grow into the young woman that she’ll become with the wisdom and guidance of her great parents.

And since I’ve been there a few times, I figured the least I could do was tell you a bit of what life is going to be like in the near term.

Basically, you’re going to miss a lot of it due to sleep deprivation. I mean you’ll be there, but you won’t be there sometimes. Once, when #YoungPanamontana was an infant, I literally had a dream that I rolled over on her on the couch and woke up terrified that I’d killed my child only to realize she was upstairs asleep with her mother. Do you understand what I’m saying? I was so tired that I dreamed that I was asleep, except I committed murder in my sleep WITH MY SLEEP. Which gets to where I’m going with this.

There are probably countless people who have told you to get all of your sleep now. And though you can’t, it’s one of those things that scientist’s should be working on – a sleep bank. Right now, you can go to sleep at, say, midnight, and wake up at 8am after a night of uninterrupted sleep – assuming the Gay Reindeer allows you to sleep all night, as I’m sure she’s super uncomfortable right now. But let’s say she does. Yeah, that’s going out of the window the DAY young homiette is born. See, babies, they have to eat every 2 hours for the first few days (weeks) of their lives. You don’t have to do the math to realize that means that at least 12 times a day, maybe less if she’s doing 2.5 hours, your child will be awake seeking sustenance and attention. Many of those hours come at times you’d normally be asleep.

I don’t know what you all are going to do regarding breast feeding is, (if she does, it saves a FORTUNE on formula, price matching and Amazon.com are your friend) but if she is going to, she’ll be up all night long after short naps only to arise to continue giving life to this person you two created. Trust me on this one, fam: wake up too. Just be awake. Stare at the ceiling fan. Cut your toenails. Hold her boob. Do something so that she knows she isn’t up by herself. There’s a good chance she’ll be scowling at you and even if you are helping, but it gets better. And if you’re asleep, there’s a great chance that she’s going to wake you up. I promise. Motherhood makes women petty. See, their bodies are built to sustain life. Ours? Well we just put a baby in there. So while she’s over here keeping something alive, you’re just looking stupid on the other side of the bed if you’re sleep. Don’t sleep. Stay woke. All that.

Let’s talk a bit (more) about sleep. You know how you go to sleep and then wake up and use the bathroom, but because of the numbers of times you’ve repeated this activity, you can do it with your eyes closed? Yeah, babies are the opposite. You have to be awake and ACTIVELY doing stuff, like changing a diaper, not dropping the baby, and feeding her. Don’t even get me started on putting the baby BACK to sleep. I had an active daughter; she didn’t just fall asleep while feeding. Nope. I had to PUT her back to sleep through song, dance, origami, yodeling, and rocking. Just saying, be prepared. Also, there’s nothing worth watching on TV between the hours of “why am I awake and normal people are awake now”.

Oh you know how daylight savings time happens in the fall where the time falls back an hour and you get an extra hour of sleep? Yeah, that was the last time you’ll ever feel that shit, b.

All of that sounded negative. And I’m sorry. Babies aren’t negative at all. In fact, the excitement that you’ll feel when you pick her up for the first time might make you really believe in a totally different type of love. There’s something about holding a baby, your flesh and blood, for the first time that introduces a new type of love. It’s unexplainable unless you’re a poet or write self-help books. Hmm…you’ve done both, maybe you should try to explain it in a few months, and knowng you you will.

Oh, here’s some really important advice: when folks offer help, you take it. Of course, you all can raise your child by yourself. You’re grown ass people. You’ve got this. We can all watch you whip and nae-nae. Except you’ve also never been as tired as you’re going to be for the first month nor have you ever had to keep somebody else alive and happy that couldn’t speak, walk, or see very far. Not to mention, your wife just pushed a human out of her body and has to get adjusted to this NEW body and emotions that come with differences in hormones as her body becomes hers again. You know how she just went through a lot? yeah, she’s going to go through a lot again to get back where she was in the first place before you did this to her. She may throw things. Just duck. Don’t even sweat it. You don’t even have to say anything. Just know that people think pregnant women are nuts, just-after-pregnancy women are just as crazy. She will have questions and ponderances about who she is and what she’s doing in life, etc. Just be supportive, man. Again, trust me on this one.

Oh yeah, taking help. People are going to come by and offer to do things like cook and clean. Mothers are especially prone to this and just being around a bit more than you like. It sounds irritating, but the truth is, they provide you a service you can’t get anywhere else: extra arms from somebody who would never drop your baby. While you take a nap, grandma and aunties will offer to watch the baby. Let ‘em. See, they’re well rested and not seeing in threes, because they don’t have babies…like you. So they can afford to spell you for some hours while you brush your teeth and try to remember what day it is. Yes, the days will bleed into one another. Sunday is just like Wednesday early on. Everyday is Tuesday, basically.

Also, don’t be so pressed to make sure everything’s super clean; the house, I mean. You’ve got a life to keep alive, that carpet will get vacuumed and that dust will get dusted.

Interesting enough, trips to the gas station will seem like going to the club because you’ll feel like you somehow escaped. From what? Who knows, but you’ll feel like you’re getting a moment to yourself of freedom that maybe you shouldn’t. Target was my sanctuary. But it’s okay, she’ll feel the same way once she’s comfortable enough to go somewhere without the baby, which you might be inclined to suggest, which might lead to your death. When she’s ready, she’ll go…to the store. Alone. At which point you will know she believes that despite the fact that you are a man, just maybe you are also capable of taking care of the child you two created together. It’s not personal. Almost nobody thinks men can take care of children, despite the millions of men actively taking care of their children. Matriarchy, such a blower, yo.

The most important thing to remember here is that you two have and need each other’s backs. Babies are a lot of work. It’s the funnest, most rewarding work ever, but they require constant attention and awakeness. They require you to be actively attentive and focused. At least early on, the baby will sleep 90 percent of the time AND will be exactly where you put her if you turn your head. Once she starts getting bigger and rolling, well, it’s the beginning of the end of your ability to put her down while she’s sleep and wash the dishes.

Nobody wants to be the dad that lost the kid, ya know?

You two are in this together and as long as you keep your eyes on the (supportive) prize, you’ll be just fine. It will be a long first month, but it flies by and eventually turns into age 4 and beyond, and as your baby girl grows and you see her do things that excite you, like smile, you’ll know that you two did God’s work and feel like seasoned pros. Which is funny because once you become a parent you pretty much realize that your parents were winging this shit the whole time.

So stay up player, and remember, I’m here as a resource. I’ve made a few kids of my own so I’ve got some experience. And I haven’t really been asleep for almost seven years now. But I’m still standing and so will you two.

Tell the Gay Reindeer I said hello!

Your friend,

Panama

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Charles Johnson

    such an adorable picture!

  • First, the baby in the picture is soooooo freaking cute OMG. Second…my goodness parenthood sounds like a lot. Congrats to Damon…and The Gay Reindeer…who I assume is also The Wife Person? I personally prefer babies I can give back! #TeamAuntie in the house!

    • [Insert Creative Name Here]

      TeamAuntie, represent!!

      • BeautifullyHuman

        Word! #teamaunt #alldayeveryday

    • haute_coutoy

      Aunt life is everything!!!!

    • Also #TeamAuntie !!

    • QuirlyGirly

      Yay for #TeamAuntie

      Watching them and giving them back in the 2000s

    • SororSalsa

      #TeamAuntie all day! I’m down with OPC (Other People’s Children)!

  • Janelle S

    “Motherhood makes women petty.”
    You know what…

    • panamajackson

      No. What? Try me. #whogontessmenawh

      • Janelle S

        Let’s just talk about the last three/four months of pregnancy. All that heartburn and needing to eat, but having a stomach the size of a walnut because *somebody’s* taking up all this room in your abdomen. That same someone who’s trying out their Kid and Play movies on your bladder. Then to come through with FAKE ASS contractions–in preparation for the real thing–before you start feeling like someone’s taking a knife to your uterus.

        I won’t talk about labor. (I had the good drugs early.)

        I’ll see your pettiness.

        • panamajackson

          I’m not saying I don’t get where it comes from – which I alluded to – I’m just sayin’ y’all are petty.

          • mochazina

            you ain’t lyin. LOL

    • GLAMCAM

      Truth.com

    • Sigma_Since 93

      …get ready to carry again! #datazzisfine

  • IT’S A GIRL!!!! I wish you and the Mrs. a smooth labor and delivery and a healthy child next month!

    Also, Panama your son is just the cutest little thing! Those cheeks!!

    *pops BC pill and continues loving on children that aren’t mine*

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      Hehe…you’re gonna make babies soon.

      • If by “soon” you mean after 15 years from today, ok cool.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          lmaoooo you my favorite for a reason

  • Ani-Q

    Panama, this is a wise and beautiful post. Congrats Damon.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    All dis.

    I would add:

    Take the help but use it sparingly. There’s nothing worse when the help fades to black and you don’t know how to soothe the child, get stuff done with the little one up, how to get them down like the grandparents did.

    Tell your wife she’s pretty. Post par tum is nothing to mess with. Look out for the I’m yo Wife Ninjas’ health and well being because she will put it on the back burner to pour into the baby.

    Take a drive. Got a fussy baby and it’s 2:15 am? Take a drive around the block. There’s something magical about cranking the ignition and how it makes them fall into sleepville.

    • *takes notes*

      Within the last 3 years, I’ve had a friend from my close circle be pregnant. Momma #3 is due next month as well and I’m hoping my other friends wait at least 3 years until they pop up pregnant.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        remind them not to heed the words or O.D.B. #CuffingSeasonishere

        • Luckily my other friends without children are all single again, so, barring any one night fuck ups, none of them should get pregnant during this winter *prays to God*

    • Ani-Q

      Yep. Your second point is very important. New mothers so often forget about their own health and well being. It is very important that their SO be mindful of this, and be supportive and encouraging.

  • miss t-lee

    Awwww. This is sweet.
    Is that young PJack up top?

    • panamajackson

      Perhaps. :)

      • miss t-lee

        LOL!!!

  • BeautifullyHuman

    This was a sweet open letter! Champ, you’ll be an awesome Bougie Black Dad. Lol

    And Panama, your baby is killing my ovaries and maternal instinct right now. *repeats to self…travel over kids. Travel over kids*

    • Ani-Q

      IKR?! That making money vs making babies debate with my ego and my ovaries is crazy especially when I see a beautiful baby.

      • BeautifullyHuman

        I can’t even front, I want a baby. Then, I start thinking about my freedom, my wanderlust, and my sleep…then I be like nah. Lol. Let me go see my nephews because one day with them and I be like do you really want this right now 24 hours a day. Lol. Decisions.

        • Epsilonicus

          If you do it right, you can do all of that.

          • panamajackson

            Right. Kids definiteiy make things more difficult. But it doesn’t have to divert your dreams.

            • PhlyyPhree

              Not divert? What about delay and alter?

              • Epsilonicus

                I have found that having a child doesn’t delay my dreams, but makes me reconsider them.

                • PhlyyPhree

                  Maybe it depends on the dream. There are plenty of things that I plan on doing…but now that I have a child, they HAVE to be put on the backburner because some of what I want would make me a horrible parent to her.
                  Im not completely giving up on anything, because that’s just not me, but my biggest dream beyond anything is to make sure that I raise a happy, healthy, whole, productive, self sufficient free black girl and there are things that I just CAN NOT do right now, because it would prevent me from being the best mother I could be to her.

                  • Epsilonicus

                    Maybe it is more accomplishing them differently than planned.

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      Maybe.
                      But this is why I said alter them. A lot of my dreams are those “it’s about the journey, not the destination” type dreams so having a child changes the experience and I’m still adjusting to that.

          • PhlyyPhree

            Really?
            I’m always conflicted when I hear people say that. You can travel, you can build an empire, and all of that but freedom? No.
            Not once you have a child

            • Epsilonicus

              It depends. I think if you married, middle class, etc then it doesn’t divert. If you doing this thing completely solo with no help from dad, family or friends, then yes. But shucks, I got a home girl that is doing this child thing solo and travels with and/or without a child about 2-3 times a year and she makes less than 50k.

              • PhlyyPhree

                I have a friend like that also and I always wonder how her child feels about her travelling so much…
                And single parenting vs co-parenting/parenting in a relationship definitely have their own individual sets of pros and cons.

                I was referring more to the freedom aspect. Now that I have a daughter I don’t have the freedom I once had simply because in the back of my mind, I’m always asking “but what about her?”

                I can still travel the world, sky dive, run with the bulls, blahze blah, but now it’s always with the thought of “if x happens to me, I have to make sure that y is prepared for her.” Not to meantion, that when she’s away from me, there’s an anxiety that just won’t leave. Ever. Doesn’t matter who she’s with, her being out of my direct care limits me from ever being truly mentally free.

                • Epsilonicus

                  For each their own. I know I don’t feel mentally restrained in the same way. My decision-making process has not much changed.

                  • PhlyyPhree

                    Interesting. I wonder if your wife feels the same. I think some of it may be just plain ol maternal instincts, but then again, maybe not. I’m weird so it could all just be my mental hangups.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      This is not for you specifically but this was all planned. Having J at this time of my life IS the dream.

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      Ahhhhh. Ok. That makes so much sense then.

                    • LMNOP

                      No, this is really normal. Even in day to day life I worry like what if I die in a car accident? What if my daughter starts choking when she’s home alone? My mind is like a constant worse case scenario generator. I think it’s a normal part of being a mother though.

                • RewindingtonMaximus

                  See, you really like being a mom.

                  • PhlyyPhree

                    Your reading comprehension astonishes me.

                    Like is such a strong word. It’s just that, if this is my legacy, I’d rather not leave a fucked up one, yaknow?

                    • RewindingtonMaximus

                      Lmaoooooooooo I really want to kick you in the knee.

                      As apprehensive as you are, you take your position pretty damn serious. Plus, I just find the way you Bob and weave your say through this topic as fucking adorable, probably because I’d do the same

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      LMAO!!
                      So basically, I’m you if you ever decided to procreate after all?

                      Thanks I think.

                      Parenting is scary. I take it seriously because I don’t want Iyanla to have to fix her life later because of me.

                    • RewindingtonMaximus

                      Hahaha you are basically letting me live vicariously through you if my balls ever start talking that talk to me.

                      I get parenting is scary as h e l l. I just want you to understand, I actually appreciate your honesty about how you sometimes feel one foot in, one foot out about the situation. Everybody else usually talks like they are die-hard parents, and I find that hard to believe period. You sound way more realistic. And you take the idea of creating a life and doing right by here very seriously.

                      Why would I not give you props for that?

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      If I wasn’t a savage, I might have teared up a little at my desk at this.
                      I might print this out for a little pick me up when she wears me down.

                      Thank you.

                    • RewindingtonMaximus

                      Be a thug all you want, your heart still pumps pink lemonade, that’s why I’m sweet on you.

                      Trust me pimp, no one is infallible, which is why I appreciate it when a woman owns up to her misgivings. It’s a beautiful thing and it adds to what makes you shine. Just do what comes natural to you.

              • LMNOP

                Another important piece I think is recognizing that the world isn’t going anywhere, if you want to see more of the world but you can’t for family/ financial reasons, the world will still be there when your situation changes.

          • Amber

            I have a good friend who now has two kids and is married but they travel all the time. They’re now living in south korea as both are teachers and prefer teaching there than in the states. I guess if you find the right partner or have the right mindset you’ll make it work.

            • Epsilonicus

              Exactly. I actually see my friends more now than I did before my child. Part of it is because having a kid makes you realize you need to pull close.

              The first two years, you may not be jet setting because infants and planes may not do well. But you can still do trips in driving distance (for me, driving distance is about 12 hours).

            • LMNOP

              This is basically my dream in life, except not South Korea.

          • Dougie

            Going on a cruise on Saturday… it’s possible!

            • Epsilonicus

              Where to?

              • Dougie

                Grand Turks Island and the Bahamas. Much needed break from life.

                • RewindingtonMaximus

                  Nice

                • Epsilonicus

                  That sounds like it will be lots of fun!!

        • mochazina

          ^5 all of @Epsilonicus:disqus’s comments in this thread. yes, you’re concerned for the family unit, but you are still you. your dreams and goals and visions just have an extra entity to account for. they may morph, they may get extended, but they don’t have to die. don’t buy into the hype, kids are great and you can still be great with them also.

          • Epsilonicus

            The key is using your social and familial supports. That is key. What I have observed is that people do not use their village, for whatever reason.

  • haute_coutoy

    awww the sweet lil baby in the pic ….*lovestruck eyes*

  • Myrna Orvam

    Congrats Damon! I rarely comment on here but i felt compelled to do so mainly because that lack of sleep is so so real. That sleep deprivation is no joke! Like..you swear you’re never going to sleep again..like ever. That cry of a baby when you do sleep..literally jolts you out of your slumber and nerves are more rattled than if you had a whole pot of coffee. It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve been in the new parent stage but that lack of sleep..for the first three months anyway..I thought was going to kill me.
    Scared yet? LOL

    Congrats again!

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