1) When Life Gives You Lemons
You want the best for your children. You read all the parenting books, you take classes, you even ask your own mom for advice but inevitably, the day will come when you feel like the job is just too rough and you’re the worst parent in the world. Congratulations! You’re normal; welcome to parenting! Know that you are doing your best like countless parents before you. Everyday won’t be perfect, but if you can muddle through it, the days you feel like you are getting it right will far outweigh those moments of doubt.
2) Cherish the Little Things
Children don’t remember they had a closet that rivaled a Beverly Hills Housewife before the age of 2, but they do remember the snuggles and bedtime stories you so lovingly shared with them each night. They revel in that time you pushed them on the swings on that crisp spring day. They’ll never forget the feeling of the coarse sand between their toes on their first trip to the beach. Do take the time to make those exquisite memories every chance you get.
3) To Mini-me or not to Mini-me?
It is very tempting to expect your child to be just like you, to act like you and think like you, but ultimately your child is not you. Shocking, I know! Nurture the spirit growing inside of them that is experiencing life through fresh eyes for the first time. They will not always do what you would have done, or even what you think they should do, and that’s okay. Just rely on the values and lessons you’ve passed on along the way and the rest will work itself out in the end.
4) Survival of the Fittest-The Teen Years
You now do not know anything, have not experienced anything, are super annoying and cannot understand what they’re going through. Welcome to the teen years! All I can say is do the best you can, keep your wits about you and it doesn’t last forever! Try to remember you were once a teen, too. And yes, you DID act like that!
5) Develop a Strong Support System
It does take a village to raise a child. Whether it’s family, friends, church groups, coworkers or paid help, you will need someone to step in to fill in the gaps when you’re running on two hours of sleep, stressing about work, needing a little R&R, or seeking counsel for one of the may challenges of parenting. Having someone share that load makes an incredible difference in the quality of life you have throughout your role as a parent. Don’t try to be a superhero! You probably will feel like you can or should do it all on your own, but you can’t always and you don’t have to! Take help when it’s offered and don’t be afraid to ask for help when it’s needed. Every parent has been there before, and if in doubt, refer to tip #1.
For help in navigating through the myriad of decisions involved in birth and parenting, please feel free to contact me at A Beautiful Creation Doula!
Jennifer Rivera, owner of A Beautiful Creation Doula, is a birth doula, childbirth educator and consultant serving the Greater Atlanta area.