1) Baby’s gonna do what baby’s gonna do
I had a lot of expectations when I found out I was pregnant. I thought my pregnancy would go a certain way… It didn’t. I thought my labor would go a certain way… It didn’t. I thought my life postpartum would go a certain way… It didn’t. And I thought my baby would be a certain way… Nope. 0-4. She has a mind of her own and a set of very specific preferences, just like every other human on the planet. I never thought that she would be so strong willed at two hours old, but I really should have known since she is my daughter. I just try to embrace her stubbornness and passion because she knows what she needs better than I do (for now ;)). We’re all much happier when we go off her needs rather than trying to change her mind.
2) I really don’t care what you think
Pre-pregnancy I had all sorts of thoughts on how to parent. Now I’m a parent and find myself clueless 95% of the time. Talking to fellow parents, I’ve realized that most of us feel that way. We’re all just trying to figure it out as we go, so I’m not going to stop to worry what some mom in Kentucky thinks I should do, or a working mom, or a mom of twelve. Not to be rude, but I just don’t care. I’m too tired to give anyone’s preferences for how I parent my child consideration. You parent your way, I’ll parent mine. As long as we’re all happy and healthy, does it matter if we use bottles or pacis or hold her a lot? Nope. Parent on, fellow parents. We’re all in it together.
3) Everything really can wait
House a mess? When was the last time I showered? Take out for dinner again? Still have a few extra pounds from pregnancy? Oh, well. Seriously. I’m busy snuggling my baby, watching her take in the world and process it, something she’ll never be doing like this again. That is more important than if my pants fit in a flattering way. If nothing else, we’re helping the local economy by ordering take out so much, right? ;) Eventually things will fall into place, I’ll get back into shape, the house will be fairly clean (HA!), and I’ll cook dinner most nights again. For now, though, I’m trying to sleep and enjoy my babe. If you have an issue with this, please refer back to #2. :)
4) I can do a lot more than I ever thought I could
As someone that has had health issues my whole life, parenting was a terrifying thought. But so far, despite the epic lack of sleep that has crept into my bones, we’re all still alive and thriving. I can parent when I’m sick. I can parent when I’m tired. I can do a lot more than I thought. Take that! Mommy super powers are real. I’m living proof!
5) Community is key
Sometimes I need help, even though I’m capable of a lot. Sometimes I need to know when to call the doctor or how to get crusty sweet potatoes off of the high chair. In these situations, having some sort of community is vital. An online group is awesome, having a group of real people that you actually can get together with is awesome, too. It’s also important to have someone you can text or call when you think you’re going to lose it—because that happens every
couple weeks so often.
6) Don’t judge
As I said before, we’re all just doing the best we can in our situation, so I try hella hard to not judge other parents. We all have stuff going on that others can’t see. Also, there’s that old adage about saying your kid will never do something or you’ll never parent a certain way and then, BAM, you have the baby that won’t sleep unless she’s being held (who me?) or whatever. So, it’s kind of selfish… If you don’t judge, maybe you’ll have a super easy baby. Ha! Can’t hurt to try, right? ;)
(Bonus #7) My baby girl is amazing.
Seriously. When I was pregnant, people would seem shocked when I told them that I didn’t really like kids. I would tell them, “I’m sure I’ll like my baby.” They didn’t seem convinced. Apparently being pregnant and not loving kids is not socially acceptable. Please don’t let there be any confusion: I am totally smitten with my daughter. She’s awesome. So fun. So cute. Such an adventure. So if you were one of those people that thought I may not like her because I’m not a super-happy-always-loving-kids-eternally-maternal-type, rest assured. I. LOVE. MY. BABY.
What have you learned from having kids? What did you judge other parents for that you ended up doing yourself?