Back when I first found out I was pregnant, I began brainstorming some great pregnancy and parenting content to share with you all. Since I’m in no position to give actual parenting advice any time soon, I came up with the idea of interviewing our friends and family members who are parents to see what advice they wanted to share with us on being a new parent. So I sent our family members a short list of questions for them to answer and they were all more than willing to share their advice with us. Originally this was supposed to be one big collaborative post with everyone’s parenting advice rolled into one, but once I started getting everyone’s responses back, I decided this would make a much better series than it would a single blog post. So in the first installment in this series, I have my amazing mother-in-law sharing her best advice on becoming a new parent.
What was your biggest fear in becoming a parent?
Maybe crazy, but I can’t say that I feared what it meant to become a parent. I’m certain looking back on it that I was not aware of the magnitude of responsibility I would soon feel. I thought, I just have to love this little guy with all I have. Since that was the case before I ever saw his face, no fear. After he arrived my simple notions where quickly replaced with endless thoughts of all I was responsible for teaching this sweet boy before he was to integrate into the world as an independent member of society!!! That was all on me? In what universe was that a good idea!!! So I think my biggest fear became wondering if I would be enough and all they deserve.
While waiting to be a new parent to my second child, my biggest fear was love. I never spoke about that fear, I felt guilty for even feeling it. I wondered how it was even possible to love another human as much as I loved the sweet child I already had. I was certain that my heart was already full up! There was not enough room to accommodate what my next boy would deserve and need. I have never been more wrong in all my life. My heart grew.
What’s something you wish you had done differently as a new parent?
Could I have smooched them more? Told them I loved them more? Tickled their toes, chased them through the house laughing, or snuggled more? Probably not! They were pretty amazing babies. It was pretty easy to be with them in my “new parent” years.
If you were married, what advice do you have for making time for each other and making that transition into parenthood together?
I was not married but I have had relationships. So my advice is to take turns being “crazy”. That’s why you have each other right? For balance! The hard stuff is always easier when their is a designated stable person on the team.
What has been the most challenging moment for you as a parent?
Challenging moments are abundant in parenting!! Of course there is the day to day testing of patience, but when you look back, those are the things that stand out. Not for me anyway. The pressure of wondering if 18 years will be enough time, not because of them but because you are not sure if you remembered to teach them everything is challenging! Lacking patience when the reason has nothing to do with them, or just very little 😉 Messes and mud and finger paint, challenging!! Remembering that taking care of me would by extension, help my boys. Dealing with the odor four teenage boys create in the car after a soccer game, challenging. Thoroughly cleaning vomit out of a car seat, also challenging. It’s also difficult to keep enough food in the house, convince them their sweaty bodies are most certainly staining the couch, or get them to wear a jacket! I could go on. Most parenting challenges seem smaller as time goes by and many of them create funny memories. It’s all real life, embrace all the moments.
What has been your favorite or most memorable moment as a parent?
A favorite moment is impossible to choose! Life with my boys was full of moments that melted my heart, made me proud, created laughter, or made me wish for a replay button. But if there is one thing to choose than I would have to say it would be now. They were made brother’s by chance. To watch them, two similar yet different personalities, choose to be friends in addition to family literally makes my heart smile 🙂
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about parenting over the years? / What advice would you give to new parents?
Biggest lesson? Perfect parenting doesn’t exist! Advice? It is the toughest thing you will ever do, and nothing will be more rewarding. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t feel you have done your best because the truth is, you probably did do your best in that moment or day or week. You are human and you will want your little one to know they can be human too. Follow your heart, it will lead you in the right direction.
What parenting advice do you have for new parents?