Best Parenting Tip? Throw Your Rule Book Away
by Alicia Webster
(Winchester, VA USA)
- 1. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Everyone will tell you this, but nobody ever does it. If you ask any parent, "what advice do you wish you had taken?", this will be the one. So be the first, and make the rest of us look bad.
- 2. Be willing to admit you are wrong. "I will never use a pacifier. They are for lazy mothers who don't want to parent their kids". I am embarrassed to admit that I uttered those words pre-baby. And I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
- 3. Accept ALL offers of help. Even from your MIL, your overbearing neighbor down the street, and your know-it-all sister. Now is not the time to be full of do-it-yourself pride. Now is the time for free casseroles and a chance to bathe for longer than two minutes. You'll thank me for this one.
- 4. Let the house go. This is a tough one, I know. But right now you have a limited amount of time and energy, so something has to give. You are going to fight this, but believe me when I tell you that nobody really cares if your linen closet is organized.
- 5. Be prepared to eat your words. Often. "I will never let my kids eat fast food." oh yes, I uttered those words too. But you'll be surprised what you are willing to feed your kids when they are screaming, you have a migraine from another cosmos, and the thought of making that pot roast is enough to have you consider jumping off of a bridge.
- 6. Have a date night. My husband and I haven't had one yet, and our oldest is six, so I'll let you know how it goes when I have one. But I have heard it's great advice...from those who value their sanity.
- 7. Embrace imperfection. No really, wallow in it. Because there will days when even the best that you have to give is still not good enough. Make peace with the idea now, before you find yourself sobbing into a pillow and saying, "This has all been a horrible mistake..."
- 8. Motherhood will be an extremely important part of your life, but it doesn't define you. Nourish your other talents as well. Someday the kids will be heading to college, and if you have pinned everything on them, you'll be left reeling. Do not feel guilty for occasionally putting yourself first. It is both healthy and necessary.
- 9. Marry well. A supportive husband who wants to parent his children as much as you do is worth his weight in gold. Praise him when he is especially helpful. He loves you and wants to lighten your load. Let him.
- 10. And last but not least, lighten up. This may be the most important tip. So many moms are trying so hard to be the "perfect mom", that they miss half the fun. If you let an occasional swear word fly, you will not scar Junior for life, I promise you. If you buy some baby food that is on sale, but it is not organic, shade-grown, and trade-certified, this does not make you a bad person. If you turn down some nookie with the hubby in order to get an extra hour of shut-eye, this isn't proof that you have "let yourself go". Motherhood is hard, cut yourself some slack, and enjoy the ride.
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