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Things I’ve Learnt Since Becoming a Parent
October 27, 2016
Nothing can prepare you for becoming a parent. No amount of reading, researching, or advice can get you ready for this life altering event. I was probably less prepared than most, thanks to being in denial for most of my first pregnancy. Terrified of what was to come, I’d made no (so called) ‘birth plan’ and I definitely wasn’t prepared for the early appearance of my son at 35 weeks.
After the drugs had worn off, the news sunk in…I was a mum! Something truly monumental had happened, and I was determined to do the best job I could.
Five years on and a second child later, I’m still learning. What worked for my son, almost never works for my daughter. When you think you’ve cracked one part of parenting, something else crops up like toddler tantrums or night terrors. With a few precious moments on my hands, I thought about some of the things I’ve learnt over the last few years. Recognise any of them?
time flies when you’re a parent
When people tell you that they will grow up so quickly, they weren’t kidding. Time flies when it comes to having children. OK, I admit, it didn’t feel that way during those first hellish months of breastfeeding at 1 am, 3 am, 5 am (you get my point), but when I look at my now five and two-year-old children, I’m thinking ‘how the heck did that happen?’ Enjoy it and soak up every minute of them!
a full night’s sleep becomes as rare as rocking horse poop
Yes, you can wave goodbye to an uninterrupted night of sleep once you become a parent. Even when you think you’ve cracked it, teething kicks in, night terrors arrive and all manner of nighttime requests crop up…”mummy, I need a wee”, “mummy, I can’t find Teddy”, “mummy, there’s a monster in my room”.
you will never stop worrying, ever
From the day you find out you are pregnant you will never stop worrying about your children. You will worry about everything, from minor, trivial things to ridiculous potential threats and accidents that never entered your head before you had children. Remember, you can’t control everything but what you can do is provide them with a safe environment, good education, healthy lifestyle and a loving home. Take a deep breath and remind yourself you are doing a great job.
there is no such thing as the perfect baby
People who boast about their perfect babies are either delusional or lying. Rest assured their chilled out baby who slept through the night at six weeks will become the toddler from hell! Smugness has no place in parenting!
be flexible in your approach to parenting
We love them unconditionally, but it’s hard work being a parent and things don’t always go the way you thought. Be flexible and if something isn’t working try another approach. Those firmly held parenting beliefs like “I’ll never use a dummy” or “I’ll never let my child sleep in my bed” can go out of the window after endless sleepless nights. Don’t be too hard on yourself; you are doing an awesome job!
everyone becomes an expert
People will love telling you how to stop your baby screaming, how to get them to sleep through the night, why they ONLY feed their baby organic, home made food and use reusable nappies. While friendly advice is often welcomed and quite useful in many cases, being told what you are doing wrong is no fun. If you are ever at the receiving end of this “well-meant” advice, just nod politely and do what you think is best. It’s not a one size fits all situation when it comes to babies. Remember, you know your baby better than anyone else.
you’ll forget what you used to do with your time
As I run around doing pick-ups, drop-offs, fill the machine with what feels like the seventeenth load of washing, make a homemade meal which will inevitably end up on the floor, walls and ceiling, I’m left wondering what the heck did I do with my time before all this? But even amidst the utter chaos, I wouldn’t change it for the world. (The odd spa day would be nice though!)
join the conversation
Do you have any funny parenting stories? How has life changed for you since becoming a parent? Tell us your stories, we’d love to hear from you.