Parenting is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs there is. It’s the best thing to ever happen to you, but at the same time it completely flips your world upside down. I’m sure every parent out there can agree with those statements. Parenting is tough and unfortunately there isn’t a great way to prepare for it. Children don’t come with an instruction manual. You can read all the books you want to, but at the end of the day nothing prepares you better than experience.
I’ve managed to survive stumbling my way through life with my first daughter. I made mistakes and I learned from them. After experiencing life with her, I am more prepared and capable of raising a second baby. Like I said earlier experience is key. There were a few tough lessons I learned during my daughter’s first year. Today, I’m going to share with you five pieces of advice I wish I could tell myself before a became a parent. If I could turn back time I know these tips would be a game changer. However, I can’t. So, I will use these tips to better prepare myself for baby number two. Plus, I know they can help many first time moms out there prepare for baby number one. Good luck!
There isn’t one right way – There are a lot of big decisions you will have to make as a parent. Some of these decisions include whether or not to breastfeed, vaccinate, and co-sleep. These topics tend to get parents pretty heated. After all, parents are passionate about the way they choose to raise their children. However, it’s important to remember that parenting isn’t one size fits all. Just because something works for one family doesn’t mean it will work for another. So, don’t feel pressured to make a decision for your baby because everyone else says you should. Make that decision because it’s what you are comfortable with and it’s what works best for your family.
Your kids grow up faster than you think – You hear all the time about how fast these years fly by. However, it’s really difficult to understand just how quickly time flies until you are a parent yourself. It’s like you blink and they are all grown up. It’s so important to not wish away any moment of time. Yes, I’m talking about the bad ones too. One day you’ll miss those middle of the night feedings and the sweet snuggles they brought. You’ll miss the days where your baby was fussy and needed you to stand and hold them. You’ll forget how badly it hurt your back, but you’ll remember how sweet it was to get to be close to them. So, on the days you are struggling remember this: the days are slow, but the years are oh so fast. Cherish every moment.
Don’t compare your child – This is particularly hard to do in our society today. All too often, I see people comparing their lives to the lives of people around them. They compare their houses, cars, jobs, and even their kids. It can be discouraging to a parent when they see someone their child’s age mastering a skill their child hasn’t learned. This often makes parents wonder if their child is developmentally behind or if they are doing something wrong. However, it is so important to remember that we shouldn’t compare children. Every child learns at their own pace. Some children prioritize one skill over another. For example, one child may be more interested in walking where another child would be more interested in talking. You can’t push your children into hitting milestones. All you can do is encourage them and allow them to do it when they’re ready.
You need thicker skin – I have never understood why people are so comfortable tearing parents apart. People have no shame when it comes to judging parents. As a parent, you will at some point have a complete stranger approach you to tell you how you could be better. Unfortunately, this will probably happen more than once. Be prepared for this to happen even more frequently if you are breastfeeding. People have no filter when they speak to parents. That’s why as a mom you have to be tough. You know that you are the best mother for your child. So, don’t let these comments phase you. Don’t be shy and don’t be weak. Stand up for yourself and for your child. Your parenting choices are nobody else’s business.
Your marriage will be challenged – Unfortunately, bringing a child into the world often puts a strain on marriages. This is something that almost all couples face to some degree. Sleep is basically non-existent for parents. Lack of sleep leaves people feeling frazzled and irritable. Another issue that new parents face is a change in priorities. Before they had a baby their number one priority was their partner. They were able to focus all of their energy and time on their marriage. However, after you have children your attention often gets pulled in their direction. It’s important to give your children all of the attention and love they need, but it’s also important to not forget about your spouse. A happy marriage is hard work. It needs time, attention, love, and nurturing.