But it’s not just the baby you need to worry about. As a father (and, incidentally, a father who dotes unabashedly on his children) I know without question that from the day you bring that baby into your home, your house is going to take a beating. So forget the baby for a minute. Let’s take care of the house.
Rid the area of breakables
Before having children, couples have a ridiculous tendency to collect breakable objects. Vases, artwork, mementos from their travels. The list is endless. For the next decade, those objects are going to be in jeopardy every single day. That presents new parents with a choice: stow the nice things someplace safe, or spend countless hours scolding your child for getting to close to them. Why waste the energy? Carefully boxed and stored, those objects will be in fine condition when your beloved gift from God leaves for college.
Cover the floor and walls
You might think I’m crazy when I suggest this, but the logic is sound. Children are to floors and walls what anarchists are to orderly social progress, and there is absolutely no way to protect high-end carpet or designer paint from their ravages. So why bother? It’s easy to put up wallpaper on the walls, and cheap laminate flooring costs a couple bucks a square foot. Putting down a floating laminate floor (floating means you put it over your existing flooring) and papering the walls can be done in most family homes for a couple grand, and that couple grand buys you a million dollars worth of stress-free living. A decade from now, tear down the wallpaper and rip up the laminate, and you’ve got your old house back safe and sound.
Create a storage plan
There’s a weird shift that happens when you have kids. I can use myself as an example of this. Pre-children, every time I moved I got rid of almost everything I owned, and even between moves I regularly donated to the Goodwill to keep my space clean. Post-children, I must save every blessed thing they touch. It’s pretty ridiculous. I even saved my daughter’s first solid poo in the freezer until our cleaning lady made me throw it out.
Given that shift, your house needs you to create a storage plan before you bring your baby home, or else it will positively burst at the seams with all the stuff you a) acquire and b) can never get rid of. There’s really no escaping this. It can be an attic, a garage, a storage facility, or a shed, but there must be somewhere to put the stuff.