I believe I found the only baby advice you really need. It’s the advice I wish I had known before my daughter was born, something I have to remember daily, and still true if your baby is 2, 10, 25, or 45.
So last week I traveled across the country for my sister’s baby shower.
She is expecting a much prayed over, long-hoped for baby. Part of her baby shower was that we were asked to share our best advice on these cute onesie cards.
However, the longer I do this parenting thing, the less qualified I feel to give advice.
I can tell you how I got my kiddo to sleep through the night or eat peas or quit whining or how I dealt with colic, and hope you find success in that technique as well, but giving general parenting advice is so challenging because so little of parenting has turned out the way I expected.
My precious, precocious lovable child spent most of the shower being rambunctious and generally difficult. I was upset and saddened that instead of my sweet girl they saw an overly emotional meltdown. Dealing with a difficult child was painful when I wanted to visit and enjoy the shower festivities. I struggled against tears with no way to remove her from the situation and tried to do my best to give her limits and discipline (and less sugar).
But that is the reality of parenting.
Sometimes, it is a disaster. Sometimes, even when we know what to do, it doesn’t work. Sometimes, you just have to roll with the punches, even when they are embarrassingly public. (And your victories are mostly when no one is around to see.)
Her behavior was a good dose of humility for me,
And prompted me to share the best baby advice I have to give.
Parenting is a journey. You know you are getting a child at the end of your pregnancy (even if adopting). Other than food, sleep, and basic necessities, you really have little idea what to expect. Even if you have done your research, you’ll constantly be surprised.
Learning your child is a journey of discovery. You will have to learn YOUR baby and all the wonderful and terrible ways your child is completely unique. Every new stage will be terrifying and joyful with new accomplishments and challenges.
You’ll never get done learning this job. Parenting is perpetual. I’m 45 and still need my parents; my daughter is almost six and just about when I feel like I’ve successfully navigated her current stage, she changes.
You will have to learn your new identity as a parent and partner. Being a parent changed me completely. I never knew I could love so much or be this tired for so long! Our marriage has had to adapt and overcome adding another person as well. Our little universe shifted focus for a few years, and we have to be spouses and parents and people all at the same time.Parenting is a challenging journey of discovery, learning yourself, your child, & family. Click To Tweet
So, listen to everyone’s advice and their best tips because you never know what gem will work during a 3 a.m. scream session, but carefully and prayerfully choose what works for your child and your family.
And don’t feel badly about ignoring well-meant advice that doesn’t suit your baby or your home.
. . . but keep listening.
There is no better gift than a humble, loving parent in a family who is willing to discover the world anew.
So my advice is embrace the journey and take all the tips you can get, just don’t take them to heart.
(that being said) My three best tips for expectant parents:
- Swaddle and put baby down drowsy with music from the beginning. Sleep is not overrated. Alone or together, teach your baby to sleep in a way that works for your future five year old, too.
- Gas drops – Better to have them and never need them, than need them and not have them. Because invariably colic happens at midnight.
- Take the time to enjoy this child: the midnight feedings, the rocking chair reading, even the colicky bouncing. It goes too fast.
- I know I said 3, but seek God in all of it. The rest will be your adventure.