Babies don’t come with handbooks, so parenting can be a long series of hit-and-miss affairs — some successful, others…not so much. I’ve been pondering the one parenting lesson I wish I had learned earlier and found that I couldn’t come up with just one. Honestly, parenting is one heck of a rollercoaster ride through challenging terrain.
Sometimes, it can seem that you need some fairygodmother supermom to come and guide you through the many challenges that come with everyday parenting.
I know I had a million questions and dilemmas to negotiate through a couple of decades of parenting. Still, I thought I’d try to come up with a few things that I do wish I had known before I had children. If they can help you, I’m glad. I hope they can guide younger mothers through those magical (and challenging!) years of being a parent to a youngster. Read on for some sage advice (in my opinion)...
Learn to cherish every special moment
From day one, parenthood can feel like a whirlwind of rushing from one thing to another. So much seems to happen that it’s easy to enter virtual autopilot. As such, you might suddenly notice that the baby you remember having just the other day is all grown up.
Yes, change is the one thing that is constant with kids. They seem to grow and radically alter before our very eyes. It’s so easy to forget the charming little things they do, their little habits and ways. My advice is to try to actively cherish the special moments while they are happening and write about them when you have a moment. Your writings will become very special records that both you and your child will cherish for years to come.
Don’t compare one child with another
Another lesson I wish I’d learned a lot earlier is to avoid comparing one of your children to another. Each child is an individual with his or her own personality and set of gifts. Even if children have the same parents, it can sometimes seem incredible that such different people could come from the same set of parents.
Accept each of your children as the person that they are: an individual with their own talents and weaknesses, their own particular character. Acceptance is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.
Trust your gut
And finally, I think this is probably one of the most important lessons I have learned as a parent. Throughout your life, and especially when your children are young, many well-meaning people will try to give you advice on how to raise your kids and solve particular difficulties. Sometimes, the different pieces of advice you get contradict each other, and you’re left wondering what on earth you should do.
This is when you need to give yourself a minute, gather yourself and go with your gut. Learn to listen to that little voice inside of you and trust your instinct.