There's a little video going around facebook and various blogs I subscribe to:
It's a perfect launching pad for parent bloggers...
so here is my version, minus the video.
What I would tell myself if I could go back to right before I had my first child…
Accept help if it is offered. Because after awhile, the offers will stop coming. So take as much of it as you can, when you can. From your partner, from your siblings, from your parents, from your friends.
Breastfeeding is hard. It is not innate to women, it is a learned skill. Like any learned skill, it takes time, patience and practice. You may need to ask others who are skilled at this for their help, advice and input. Do not suffer through it silently if it is not going well. Do not think you are a failure. Ask for help.
You will be amazed at how little sleep you can get by on.
Let your partner be involved. When he wants to or tries to do something differently then you would have, let him. Do not tell him it is wrong or that the baby only likes it “this way”. Do not take over, even if it would be easier or save time. If the baby doesn’t like what he is doing, the baby will let him know. If your partner wants your help or advice, he will ask. Many men learn by doing. By trial and error. Not by listening or watching. Allow them to make mistakes and learn from them. Do not lecture. It is so important for the partner to develop his own relationship with the baby, one that is separate, but just as important as yours. Sometimes the best way to encourage this relationship is for you to leave them alone together so he is forced to do it on his own and you are not tempted to take over. Do not view your partner simply as your helper. View him as your partner, with equal say, equal time, and equal responsibility for the child. Eventually he, and the child, will thank you.
Buy slip on shoes.
Get out of the house with the baby. Go to a playgroup or parent group. Even if you don’t know anyone there, even if you only go for 10 minutes, go. You will meet people you never would have otherwise. People that will become lifelong friends. People that will change your life. Go to a park. Go for a walk outdoors or walk around a department store. Getting out can make a world of difference. A change of scenery can change your entire day.
If you want to remember something, write it down. Make lists. “Pregnancy brain” never goes away.
If you need something from your partner, tell him. Do not expect him to read your mind or to just “know”. He doesn’t and won’t. Guaranteed. It’s not his fault, it’s who he is. Don’t expect him to read your body language, don’t expect him to understand the silent treatment, don’t be passive aggressive. If you need something, if you need help, if you need support, if you need space, be clear and tell him with words. Becoming a parent will change your relationship with your partner forever. It can put even the happiest of relationships in serious jeopardy. Open and honest communication is crucial. From both sides.
You may come to understand your parents more than you ever have before. You may wonder how they ever got through some of the stuff they did. You may feel the need, at random times, to call them up and thank them. Or to apologize. You will understand that your own birthday is just as special a day to your mother as it is to you.
You can never have enough:
Prepared Food in the freezer
Support. From people who really mean it. Really care.
And then…the big one.
People will judge you.
Friends will judge you.
Family will judge you.
Everyone will judge you on your parenting, for the rest of your life.
You will be too young to have a baby. Or too old.
You didn’t breastfeed. Or you breastfed too long. Or you gave up too easily. Or too soon. Or you breastfed in public. Or you didn’t.
You co slept with your baby. Or you didn’t. You let your baby cry it out. Or you didn’t.
You gave your baby a soother. Or you didn’t.
You are too attached to that baby, you’re spoiling it. You never leave it. Or, you don’t spend enough time with that baby, other people are too involved in its life, giving you an “easy ride”. You leave it too often.
Your baby should be wearing a hat. Or a sweater. Or socks. Or a blanket.
You are feeding your baby jarred food. You are making your own baby food.
You’re using disposable diapers and ruining the environment.
And that’s just when it’s a baby!
She’s still in diapers!? You’re homeschooling!? You’re not sending him to JK!? You are?! You’re going back to work!? You’re not going back to work?! You’re sending your child to daycare where?!?! Your babysitter is who?!
They’re not playing hockey!? They’re not going to ____ camp!? They’re doing bowling instead of swimming!?
You don’t discipline that child enough. You are too hard on that child.
Your child has a cell phone??
You don’t let your child leave the table until the plate is clean. You don’t make them eat their vegetables if they don’t want to.
You leave your child with a babysitter too often. You never let anyone else look after your child.
You’re inviting how many kids to the birthday party?!?
Perhaps the hardest lesson to learn, that no one tells you, is that somebody, somewhere, will always be judging. This can seriously impact your self esteem, make you doubt yourself as a parent, and lead you to believe that everyone else seems to have it all figured out but you. No one has it all figured out. And if they seem to today, they won’t tomorrow. . The harshest of judges often speak and behave that way so as to draw attention away from what may not be so perfect in their own children, their own lives.
It’s okay when you’re not sure. It’s okay to admit you don’t know what to do.
It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to want a break. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to take time for yourself. It’s okay to be human.
The judging. It’s a tough one.
If I could go back to right before I had my first child, I would tell myself that becoming a parent changes you. You say it won’t…you vow it won’t…but it does. You say and do things you swore you never would. Your interests, priorities and passions change. You care less about many things, and care more about many other things. Your friendships change. Some will grow, some will not. Some will get it, some won’t. This is no one’s fault, it’s life. You will make new friends, and lose old friends. You will miss your old life…but given the chance…you wouldn’t change what you have now.
What about you? What would you tell yourself?