The other day when I was sweeping up the random food, crayons and socks under my dining room table I thought about some of the things that I wish somebody had told me when I first became a parent.When you first have a baby and everything has settled into a routine you think “I got this.” And the truth is you do but what you don’t know is how often you are not going to feel that way in the coming years.
I know I have only been a parent for 4 years but I like to think that because of all we have been through and that I had 3 in those four years that I have earned a little “street cred” (translation: respect from other parents). So here are some words for the newbies:
1) Please do not be one of those parents who has everything organized in baskets with perfect little chalkboard labels. Nobody lives in a Pottery Barn catalog and nobody who has more than one child will like you. They will never tell you this but trust me veteran parents and parents of more than one DO NOT have time for this and seeing you do it just makes us chuckle on the inside at how cute you are. And I guarantee you it won’t be your kid sorting toys into those perfectly labelled baskets every day. And if you do insist on having these… Enjoy them while they last. Your kid will be using them as a chair, bath toy and step ladder before you know it.
2) Never sweep under the table when the food is freshly dropped. It sweeps up much easier dry!
3) Plan on doing things in 5-10 minute increments. I have a new rule that I never start the washer until the dryer is empty because I have learned I will never have that much time at once and the clothes in the washer will end up needing to be re-washed.
4) Don’t worry about what other people think of how you parent. You are the only one walking in your shoes. But the flipside of that is that you should ask other parents about their experiences and learn from them.Many of us have been through some crazy stuff with our little ones. And for every 10 pieces of useless advice there will be 1 useful nugget. That one nugget could change your life so listen up!
5) Hold your baby as much as you want. You probably won’t know which kid will be your last or when the last time will be when they fall asleep on your shoulder.
6) Even if your kid doesn’t sleep they still need naptime in their room. This is what we call a sanity break.
7) Share the funny times, embarassing times , good times and bad with people. You will be amazed at how many people are dealing with/have dealt with the same thing you are. I have made so many new and unlikely friends since I started talking about Blaze’s autism.
8) Never say what your kids will never do or what you will never do. 99% of the time this will come back to bite you.
9) Laugh at anything you can… We even laugh at autism. Even if is cry laughing…which is what I did the other day when I told Alan how excited I am to make homemade vanilla. How sad is my life? Vanilla…really?
10) Accept right now that your kids are not perfect. When we all envision being a parent we never think these little people could have any problems of their own;but they do. Some problems/ challenges you will expect, some will blindside you, others will make you drop to your knees and feel like you got the wind knocked out of you. Your job as their parent is to adapt and overcome and help them to do the same.That is what we do…what we have to do.
Feel free to add any of yours in the Comments!