About two years ago my husband and I shared that we were starting on the new, thrilling and yet frightening, journey of becoming parents.
We made T-shirts and shared ultrasound pictures. We planned for everything from the nursery colors to a birth plan.
We enjoyed the fun in watching my stomach grow into its own entity and the excitement of what the end product would be.
We packed a hospital bag weeks before and attended every parent class at the hospital that we could sign up for. We even worked up quite a detailed labor plan in place for when we arrived at the hospital.
Of course, all the parents out there know, it never goes the way you think it will. 23 hours later, one emergency C-section, and a baby in the NICU I quickly learned that having a plan holds no weight within the new world of being a parent.
In my first year of parenthood, I learned how unprepared I was for this role, classes and all.
Since I’ve had my daughter, a few friends of mine have signed up for the parenthood train.
I get the simple questions about what books I read, and what items I recommend they register for.
They ask how Eva’s birth story went, and if it was our plan. And somehow mixed in between these diaper pail reviews and recovery recommendations the big question always appears.
What advice do you wish you had going into parenthood? This is my motherhood advice
1. Take your nose out of the book.
As much information as you can gain from this, it isn’t as knowledgeable as the experience itself. Know that everyone questions their decisions (and having your mom on speed dial is always helpful to reassure you that you’re doing it right).
2. Let the negativity role off your back.
There will always be someone to critique you. In many ways this applies to all of life, and not just parenthood. No matter what you do, someone will disagree. You must know that as long as your baby is safe and loved, you have the right to parent the way you see is best. In the end only you and your significant other know what’s best for your child.
3. Enjoy every minute.
And last but not least, do all you can to enjoy every minute because it’s hard to explain how fast the first year goes. Smell her soft skin, snuggle up together for a feeding and soak it all up. Those are the memories you will have for the rest of your life.
I am in no way claiming to be a parental expert – anyone who does might just be insane. These three things are simply the lessons I remind myself to hold on to through the tough days and the best days.
I know I will mess up countless times; my only hope is that my wins outnumber my losses.
I have years of learning to go, and I can only imagine all the experiences to come.
I hope to escape with some good stories, quite a few lessons learned and some wonderful kids.
And for now, these three things are the chorus to the song I sing daily. The same song that keeps the important things just a little closer.