My brother and his wife have just welcomed their first child into the world, my adorable little niece. As I see them embark upon their parenting journey, it has me reflecting on my own. You just figure out so much along the way, you forget all that you have learned over the years, so I thought it’d be interesting to pause and reflect on the biggest learns, as if I’ve learned anything as a parent…
.. it’s that nothing can prepare you for it
This is the consensus amongst every parent I have ever spoken to!
It doesn’t matter how experienced you are with other people’s babies and children, it doesn’t matter how excited and ready for it you feel, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve read up on it, nothing can prepare you for everything you feel when you become a parent.
You just have to do it and then you’ll get it.
..it’s that it changes you
Priorities shift, your life is not your own, especially when those newborn days first hit you.
Go with the changes, accept that they are a part of you now.
You are still you. Whilst it might feel initially that you have lost a sense of self as you drown in sleepless nights and nappies, you are still there, you are still you, just a different version now. A parent version.
..it’s that there are always the worries and guilt
Now I’m not saying I have this all of the time, I am not much or a worrier naturally. But, it seems that as soon as I became a mum, worrying and guilt came along at the same time!
It can be easy to over think things, because of course you want to get it right. You do make mistakes along the way, quite regularly actually! But that’s normal, and everybody does. You cannot always get everything right, and often you are just putting pressure on yourself to achieve the unattainable.
Accept that the guilt and worries will always be lurking around, and then do your best.
Keep your kids as safe as you can, love them as much as you can, meet their needs as best as you can and the chances are, it is enough.
..it’s that you are not alone
There are a lot of other parents in the world, lean on them when you need to.
Ask for their advice, take their support when it is offered and share your parenting woes with them.
..it’s that you often have to roll with it
Kids are unpredictable.
Just because today they are well and full of beans, it doesn’t mean they will be tomorrow.
Just because today Bob is their best friend, it doesn’t mean he will be tomorrow.
Just because today their favourite food is pasta, it doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow.
It’s often best to accept the changes and just roll with it! You know your child, and you’ll get used to the changes and work out which ones are genuine and which ones are fleeting. Always such fun!
..it’s that you will never have it all figured out
Children like to keep you on your toes, don’t they?
No sooner have you mastered one stage, then they have moved onto the next. In the blink of an eye.
I have yet to meet a parent who feels that they have it all figured out. It can’t be done!
You are always learning as a parent, as your children grow and change. And as your kids will all be different, what you may have learned with one child, might not be at all helpful with the next.
Still, keeps things interesting..right?
.. it’s that there is nothing better
Parenting is hard. It can be exhausting, draining, frustrating and worrying. But there is no doubt at all that it is all worth it. There is nothing better.
What would be your top parenting learns?