When you are expecting to be a parent, there might be a thousand things you are worried about: how long you should breastfeed, which developmental toys you should buy, how to deal with sleeps and daycares, and more. Why not learn from those who have had experience? Here are a few things that parents wished they knew before having a child, with tips on rearing, building habits and maintaining healthy relationship with your little one as well as your partner and yourself.
Ask for Help
“I wish I had known I’d need a lot of help from other people because it was really hard to do it on our own. I suppose it really used to “take a village” but in cities people are very isolated… we sucked at getting and keeping babysitters so that we as a couple could have some time to ourselves. There were almost no dates, no fancy outings—just parenting that was really stressful because I was struggling with addiction and then I was trying to get sober, which also takes up a lot of time and effort. I really wish we had more help and asked for more help. Ask for help. Set it up in advance. Surround yourself with people. Don’t isolate. The rest is easy. (It’s f****** hard but you’ll figure it out—just don’t drop the baby!)” – Jowita Bydlowska, VICE
Mind Your Own
“Every child grows and develops at their own pace. Try not to compare your child to others. They all have their own timeline.” – Geralynn Moore, Infantino
Look Out for Cues
“If I had a nickel for every “one more bite” I was forced to take as a child, I’d have enough nickels to buy a nickel making machine. Parents always think, actually demand, they know more about their children then the children themselves. Kids, however, tell you when they’re hungry. You know how they will do it? Communicating! Whether they cry, use sign language, open the refrigerator door and take out a tub of cream cheese on their own or simply use their words. They know what and when they want to eat – you just have to listen.” – Jason Stahl, Business Insider
“When my son was two years old I started potty training him because that’s what everyone said to do, but he was not ready and the pressure to ‘perform’ actually made him constipated. It got so bad that we had to take him to the ER, where he got powerful laxatives. The doctor there told me that you have to wait until kids are ready to potty train and they’ll let you know when they are! So we put our son back in diapers and waited. He didn’t potty train until he was 5 but this time it was quick and painless, without a single accident.” – Marie H, Reader’s Digest
Feel Your Feelings
“I hated it when people told me, ‘Enjoy every moment, they’re only young once!’ I believed this and lived with constant guilt because I was actually not enjoying every minute of it. And you know what? That is fine. I wish people had been honest that parenting is not always sunshine and roses, and feeling that way doesn’t make you a bad parent.” – Carrie S, Reader’s Digest
In the End, Trust Your Guts
“When it comes to parenting and being the best mom or dad you can possibly be, believe me when I tell you that no one has any idea what the hell is going on. We live in strange times, people. These are the days when opinions are offered up whether we want them or not, 24/7, and rare is the day when there are not 50 gazillion people across the world signing on to the internet or appearing as a so-called “expert” on TV trying to tell you how you should be raising your children.
Trust your instincts, take in advice from here and there, wherever you feel comfortable getting it, but never ever feel as if you need to be more in tune with whatever the latest parenting craze or debate is. When decisions must be made, you will make them according to your gut instinct.” -Serge Bielanko, Babble