Advice for New Parents: If I Could Go Back and Tell Myself One Thing
Each Baby Is Different
Claire, mother of two and grandmother of three has this advice for new parents: "Each baby is different, some more needy than others. It isn't your fault or the fault of your parenting if your baby cries a lot. If your baby is demanding, make use of all the help offered to give yourself time to rest and recoup."
Trust Yourself as a Mom
Marla, mom of three: "Breathe, it will all be OK. Have your child eat what you eat, don't be a short order cook. Make your relationship with your spouse your #1 priority, the little people are watching and how you treat your spouse is how they will act toward friends and others. How you talk and your mannerisms greatly influence your children. They watch how you talk, how you move, the jokes you tell, the language you use so talk lovingly and respectfully even when disagreeing."
Christine, mom of two: "I would absolutely tell myself to take it easy on ME! There is no 'perfect' way of parenting. Follow your heart and trust in the love you have for your child."
Lisa, mom of three shares her advice for new parents: "Trust yourself. As a mom, we know what's best for our children and trust the process. The little things (we think are big things) will pass. Watching my high schooler now and wish I would have allowed more trust in his development."
Every Stage is Temporary
Erin, mom of two: "Nothing lasts forever! Whenever my baby/toddler would start a new hard stage, I would panic and think 'This is it! He is going to cry forever/tantrum forever/be a picky eater forever/reject washing his hair forever....etc.' then I would furiously Google what to do. I wish I had known to take a deep breath and WAIT. Every stage is temporary!"
Julie, mom of four: "Parent the kid that you have, not the kid that you want them be. I wanted my daughter to enjoy having play dates, and to join clubs and groups, and want to hang out with the family on Friday nights, etc., and she wanted to read books and write poetry, and just 'think.' That's what filled up her tank. She's currently getting her Master's in a Great Books Program and couldn't be happier!"
Olga, mom of three: "I wish I knew not to worry so much. Also, throw away the parenting books. All of them."
Sarah, mom of three: "Know that everything is just a phase! Literally everything. The younger the kid, the shorter the phase (usually). This too shall pass should be every parent's mantra."
Let Your Child Evolve
Ramsey, a mom of two: "Don't try to be everything for your kid. They need space to figure out what motivates them, even if it means being hideously bored, totally failing to do that craft project, or making a huge mess."
Andi, mom of three: "My best advice is to enjoy their music, whatever they happen to be listening to at the moment, from Wheels on the Bus to Rap. It's a way to bond, to better understand their world, and to discover some great tunes you'd never have found on your own."
Kate, mom of two: "It's OK if you don't love your baby right away. You will eventually."
Jaimie, mom of three: "Say what you mean and mean what you say. EVERY TIME. Make them do chores from the get-go. Don't explain everything. Spend less time cleaning the house and more time playing when they are young."
Enjoy Every Minute
Erica, mom of one: "Tune the 'Oh you must enjoy every minute, they grow up so fast, soon she'll be out the door' rhetoric out. It's depressing and unhelpful. Replace it with 'every age is fantastic.'"
Dina, mom of three: "Play hookie, with and without your kids. And the kids' milestones and struggles belong to them, and are not a reflection on you, which can be especially useful to remember at gymnastics when yours is the 4-year-old who always veers out of line. And if you have one that veers at four, get used to it. And yes, please enjoy the time you get to yourself, whether it is for work or for play or for rest."
Amanda, mom of four: "RELAX. It's really not that big of a deal if your kid doesn't get into the "right" kindergarten, or sometimes their grades slide (especially those 7th to 9th grade boys), or sometimes they get scraped and bruised... brush that off and move on. Don't put your kid in every freakin' sport. Let them chill out for a while. Boredom inspires creativity."