I became pregnant with my first son when I was 18, and simply jumped into parenthood. All kinds of people gave me advice — family, friends, co-workers, and strangers at the supermarket. Seven years and two more kids later, I’ve learned a few things that have kept both my husband and I sane as our little ones run around us.
- You will never be ready; there is no perfect time. There is no clear way to prepare for parenthood. There is so much to know and learn and you can’t find all of it inside a book. Absorb information like a sponge, but don’t convince yourself that you are done learning and are “ready”. The greatest teacher is experience and time.
- What works for someone else might not work for you. We all have different parenting styles and will have different children. Try different methods and techniques out and remember that doing things differently doesn’t mean you’re doing them wrong.
- Let criticism roll off your back. This goes along with #2; people will always think their way is best. Again, no two people are the same, therefore nothing works for everyone. If they have something to say, let them say it and then move on. There is a difference from taking advice and falling to criticism.
- Learn to rest. Being crabby and tired all the time doesn’t do anyone any good. Learn to treat yourself out and rest; keep a good baby sitter in your contacts! Going crazy with stress will only make being a parent harder. Take breaks when you need them and keep yourself healthy.
- Forget about the to do list and cherish your time together. Sometimes we go a little wild trying to get things done so that we can rest. Here’s a secret: that to do list will never stop getting longer, and that’s okay. Your kids are going to remember the time you spent together — that’s what they’re going to cherish. They don’t care how clean your room is or how put together you look. They just want you to pay attention to them and love them. Do that first and the rest second.
Cheers to you becoming a parent. I’ll check back in a few years on your sanity.
This post was previously published on A Parent Is Born.
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