Becoming a parent in the 21st century more fun than old days

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Every year just before Mother's Day, I tend to reflect on the time (a quarter century ago) when I first became a mom. It was so exciting for my husband and me.

We debated when we should we tell our parents, imagined if the baby would be a boy or girl, and wondered if he or she would be born close to the due date.

These days, it seems all that is handled differently. Couples are engrossed in intense planning of parties and surprises, almost a competition to have the most clever baby parties ever.

I will give them credit: It does sound like today's new moms and dads are having a lot more fun getting ready for the baby.

First is the planning and execution of the conception announcement. This generally involves a family gathering with the unsuspecting grandparents-to-be getting ambushed with the happy news. And of course, it has to be captured on someone's smartphone video.

Sometimes the news is delivered via a gift, which when opened reveals a T-shirt with a clever saying. Imagine unfolding a T-shirt that reads "And then there were 3." Or an apron for her with "Grandma" emblazoned on it (works best on a first-time grandparent).

The video of the squealing granny is, of course, posted to social media for all the world to see.

A few months later comes the reveal party. (Our reveal party was held in a cozy hospital room. The doctor said, as the squirming child burst forth into the world, "It's a boy!")

Reveal parties include lots of pink and blue everywhere, with games and bets to keep guests guessing. Finally comes the big moment. The gender is revealed when someone cuts the cake so all can see what color is inside. Or the parents spill out the contents of a box, or somebody pulls the tab on a hanging bag of pink or blue streamers. (For great ideas, I'm told one should check out Pinterest.)

My friend Sherry was the first to alert me to this phenomenon about seven months ago. In this case, her son fired his shotgun at a large balloon in their yard filled with pink confetti.

Once the baby's gender has been revealed, the follow-up baby showers can be programmed for specific colors, products, clothing and so forth. No more taking back a load of baby boy stuff if everyone knows it's a girl!

Sometime after the shower but before the birth date, the parents-to-be go off on their "babymoon." This is supposedly their last vacation as just a couple. (Heaven knows once kids start arriving, vacations are anything but relaxing!)

Later on, the blessed event occurs and he or she arrives to much celebration. And if there's a party, there should be presents, right? Of course. And nowadays, they go to the mom.

This is when the mommy gets her "push present" from - I'm guessing here - the daddy.

Interestingly, when I googled this kind of gift that I had never heard of before, I found mostly jewelry.

Once baby has arrived, there are more new-fangled situations to face. Should they hire a sleep nanny to spend the night and get up with the squawking infant so mom and dad can sleep? Should they wear the baby? Who? How?

So many questions! Luckily, there is the annual MommyCon in large cities across the country. Yes, a convention to learn all about mommy stuff - like sleep nannies and baby-wearing.

What will they think of next?

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