One of my oldest and dearest friends is pregnant with her first baby and rather than just inundate her with information, I thought I’d inundate you all. Because babies.
I really loved this series of posts from moms all over the blogosphere, and I appreciated what these moms of kids a little older than mine had to say. Hearing what other moms said made me think about what I wish I had known when I was pregnant with my first baby. Not that I’m at all an expert, obviously I’m only 3 years into this. And I really only know about parenting my own kids. I’m sure one day I’ll look back on this and think, “Oh Kacie, you were so naive”. But as I’m parenting my third child, I’m much more relaxed and wish I was this laid back I had just my first.
1. Get ready for a constant new normal. Not just a new normal that arrives with the arrival with a baby, but one that constantly adjusts as the baby grows. Just as you figure it out, something changes and you have to refigure it out. Adjusting isn’t a one time event, its a fluid motion.
2. Having “just one” kid is hard work! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and don’t compare yourself to others with more than one. When you have your first child you have a vertical learning curve; you’re getting to know your baby and yourself as a parent. Plus, babies are A LOT of work! A whole lot of wonderful but a lot of work too, the way they rely on you for every need and prefer not to sleep as much as you’d like.
3. Its perfectly okay not to enjoy every moment, but do embrace the big picture. The days are long but the years are short as they say. It may feel like forever when you’re in the thick of it, but one day you may look back and realize how quickly it has gone.
4. Its okay to not enjoy or be good at parenting every stage of childhood. Children grow. So do we. Child care workers and teachers focus on an age group that they prefer, and it makes sense that in parenting we may enjoy or be better at certain stages than others.
5. When in doubt, choose connection. Connecting with my child, getting close to her and offering her love she won’t get elsewhere: that’s my job as a mom. When all else fails, get down on their level, wrap your arms around them and tell them you love them.
6. I recently heard someone say, “Don’t forget to parent the child you have, not the child you want.” Parent towards your child’s needs and love them as they are, rather than as you wish that they would be (i.e. less strong willed, smarter, not ADHD etc).
7. Remember that character is what matters in the long term. Parent for the person you want your child to be in the long term future.
8. No matter what choice you make, someone won’t like it. And no matter what you choose, some mom will judge you for choosing the opposite of what they chose. Just stay calm and carry on. You can’t please everyone, and when it comes to parenting your child, you know best.
9. Trust your mom instinct. Seriously, trust yourself. You’re the expert on your child.
10. Two words: Self care. For me, self care is not just about getting a pedicure every few weeks or exercising regularly, but its also taking care of myself on a daily basis (like putting on lipstick, wearing earrings, getting out of yoga pants into jeans that make me feel cute). It may not be those same things for you, but find something that helps you feel like a woman on a daily basis. You may not feel like it but just trust me on this one. It makes a difference.
Have anything to add? What do you wish you had known before you became a parent?
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