While there’s no way to be fully prepared for parenthood, it doesn’t hurt to be proactive. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2017)

Three months ago, my wife and I welcomed the newest addition to our family: a baby boy, our third child. Four years after our last visit to the delivery room, the event reawakened the sense of joy and wonderment we experienced when our first two children entered the world. Likewise, the first few days of bonding with our son brought back memories of our early days as parents. By our third time around, we’ve become fairly seasoned—the interrupted sleep and constant diaper changing are practically second nature. But that first time…not exactly a walk in the park. As you’ve no doubt heard, nothing can prepare you for your initial foray into parenthood.

Moreover, if you think diapers and lack of sleep are the only things you have to worry about, think again. A new baby can alter nearly every aspect of your life, from housing and transportation needs to financial planning. That’s why it’s a good idea to be prepared…as prepared as possible, anyway. Here are some common areas that the “baby bomb” is likely to affect:

Home safety
Home safety may not have been a top priority back when it was just you and your significant other, but the arrival of a baby brings a new sense of immediacy. Start with basics like assessing home security (such as the caliber of your door hardware) and verifying carbon monoxide and fire alarms are installed throughout your home and functioning properly. Additionally, address any areas of your home where the presence of mold, asbestos or lead may pose a hazard, such as old wall paint and insulation. Consider having an abatement contractor assess the level of threat and, if deemed necessary, perform a safe removal.

Transportation
Your sports coupe or compact EV may have served your needs up to now, but as a new parent, you’re going to need something a little more spacious and practical. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to throw style out the window—a quality car dealership can help you find a new or used vehicle that’s both fashionable and provides an ample amount of seating and storage. Of course, you’ll also want to be proactive about road safety after the fact by bringing your vehicle to a mechanic for regular service.

Taxes and financial planning
The birth of a child can affect both your short- and long-term financial situations, so it’s wise to consider these in advance. One of the big financial perks of parenthood, of course, is the ability to claim your child as a dependent on your taxes, which provides a substantial deduction. However, you’ll also want to anticipate future financial needs (such as buying a house) and start planning for your child’s future (college tuition isn’t getting any cheaper). Meet with a CPA and financial advisor to discuss these and map out a path to financial prosperity.

Once your home is all ready for baby, you’ll want to start thinking about your backyard. Photo: Laural Landscapes, Inc. (2017)

Backyard
Before you know it, your little bundle of joy is going to be a bustling ball of energy, at which point you’ll need a suitable space for active play. That’s why, in addition to addressing your home’s interior, it’s good to start thinking about your backyard. After all, depending on its current condition, you may have a substantial project ahead of you.

When creating an outdoor play area, safety is naturally a top priority, so you’ll want to address any potential hazards, whether a failing fence or the presence of dangerous rocks or bricks. If your backyard’s terrain mainly consists of concrete, consider tearing it out and installing a lawn. While a natural lawn makes a great play area, a synthetic lawn offers similar benefits without the need for watering or mowing, so it’s an option worth considering. Either way, by getting a head start, you can have your yard ready for play by the time your child is.

House management
Think keeping a tidy house is challenging with an infant? Just wait until they reach toddlerhood and start actively counteracting your efforts. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by your housekeeping responsibilities, consider getting some professional assistance. Especially if you and your significant other both work, a house cleaning service can be a lifesaver, allowing you to focus on family during your limited hours together.

Another helpful home management tool is automation technology, which simplifies daily life by streamlining basic home operations like lighting, heating/cooling and security. Moreover, an intelligent personal assistant (such as Amazon’s Alexa) can further simplify things by helping with schedule management, carrying out home operation functions and even looking up answers to questions, all via voice command. Altogether, the time and effort saved by these technological innovations can provide you with a surplus of mental energy—a valuable commodity when raising children.

To find a Diamond Certified company that can help you with your baby-related needs, visit www.diamondcertified.org.

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