Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Parenting 101

This past month I've learned that (at least) seven of my friends, acquaintances, etc. are expecting. They are all due around the same time so....maybe it was a full moon?? Or the water?? Whatever the case, it's interesting for me to watch. I'm 30 and had my first child when I was 19 and my second when I was 23. Most of my expecting friends are my age. While my friends were in college, I was changing diapers and fighting to fit a rear facing car seat into my car. They were crazy and hard times. I will admit that I feel I was too young, yet I wouldn't trade it now for anything. God has a plan. Everyday I watch my children grow and watch the plan unfold. 
       Having children makes you keenly aware of how our relationship with God is in many ways. We get the new perspective of being fully responsible for, loving, feeding, guiding, guarding, and teaching a being. Yes, it's very overwhelming, but that's why we need Gods help to do it. 

Now I'd like to address the new parents and parents of young ones with something I wish I'd been told. 

Dear newbies, 

        Welcome to parenthood. The most exhausting, crazy, sad, happy, exciting, rewarding journey of your life. 

        People are going to give you more advice (and blankets) than you ever thought possible. Some will be good, some will be not so good. The key is to remember that this is your child, not theirs. 

       There will be perfect sleepy, cheerful babies, and there will be those who cannot be consoled. With both types there will be nights (oh there will be nights) when you question why you did this, and if you'll ever sleep again and if your baby will ever stop crying. You'll cry while your baby is crying because you are sleep deprived and feel helpless. You'll learn that you can't always make it better, but you can try. There will be times when you question if you are both going to survive this. It's ok to let them cry it out sometimes. Though these nights seem to last forever, it will be soon that they are forever behind you. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't feel like you have to be superwoman. We are human and we all need help sometimes. My daughter would scream for hours every single night. Seriously. Hours. I had nobody near me to ask for help. The good thing is now I can tolerate any screaming or unhappy baby for ridiculous amounts of time (take note of this and put me on speed dial if you need to!).

        Remember that every child is different in every way. They will be different sizes, have different features, different abilities, and personalities. Don't compare your child with others, in good or bad ways.   There will be kids who seem to be able to recite the dictionary at 2 yrs and there will be kids who you think will never speak. There will be children who seem to be potty trained from the womb and then those who are afraid of the idea of sitting over a hole til they are 3. Don't worry, they will not go off to college in diapers. 

          You'll find that the quiet house is a time to become suspicious rather than peaceful. That nap time is a gift from God, and your house will never be as clean as it once was. Things that come from every part of your baby (mouth, and diaper area) will be on you at some point. Some of them frequently. 

       You will question if you were ready for this. The answer is always no. Always. You simply cannot ever be fully ready for this. Parenthood is a learn-as-you-go thing. You can read books and get great ideas and be super prepared, but you cannot be ready. And that is ok. You are also going to make mistakes. There is no such thing as a "perfect parent".

        Kiss your baby as much as you can. Read them bible stories even if you think they can't understand. Pray with them and for them. Teach them who God is and why he loves them. The time you have with them is so short, you have to make the most of it. Watch your baby sleep once in a while. It is one of the most precious things you'll ever see. 

      You are about to receive something that will teach you that you may not have really understood love before. That love is much deeper and stronger than you thought before. 

        When your child is crying because they don't like something that you are doing for their own good....you'll think of how you cry and fight when God does something for your own good. You'll get a better grasp on the fact that God knows so much more than we do. 

        You'll laugh, cry, smile, hurt, and love like you never have before. 

        There may be times when you wonder if you *can* love your baby. When my oldest cried all the time, I admit that I had a hard time feeling that "oh look at the cute baby" feeling. There were times when I felt hopeless and exhausted. These feelings don't mean your a bad parent or a horrible person. Find a friend and open up with what your feeling. Never keep it stuffed inside.

        Remember, your baby was assigned to you by God. He knows what he is doing. You can do this. They, and you, will reach milestones at different points than those around you. And teach your kids that you *do* have eyes on the back of your head and that God loves them even more than you do. 

        Best wishes to you all! I'm here if you need me! It's going to be so worth it all. 

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, Sarah! Thanks! As a mom to older kids now. Equally important to watch your teens sleep!! :)

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