Another post I wrote months ago (4/3/12) and didn’t publish … here it is!
Earlier today, we learned that a close friend of my husband’s and his fabulous wife are expecting their first child. In his email, the dad-to-be asked for advice. Naturally, that got me thinking about what advice I would offer as a parent of one (Er, now two …). Here are just a few of the things on my list …
- Expect to love like you’ve never loved before. Your love for your child will surpass any type of love you’ve ever felt. I know you can’t imagine now, but you’ll see.
- Expect to laugh every day. Well, almost every day!
- When your child runs to you, arms outstretched and calling out to you, expect to fight back tears. You’ll feel an amazing sense of pride when they start saying “mama” or “dada,” when they curl up next to you on the couch, and when they first say, “I love you” without being prompted. You’ll feel just as proud when they first say “thank you” without prompting and when they share a hug or a favorite toy with a friend.
- Expect to be imperfect. You’ll learn to pick your battles. There are times in which you won’t compromise, but also more than enough times that you’ll give in, even though you always said you wouldn’t. Believe me, they’ll be just fine as long as you find some balance.
- Babies are by no means easy, but with that first smile or the first mention of ‘mama’ or ‘dada,’ you’ll melt. The sleepless nights will end, though don’t be alarmed if it’s much, much later than you ever expected it to be. You’ll sleep through the night again, I promise.
- There will be days when you won’t feel like yourself. As I said and as you’ve likely heard from others, this is hard, and many times you won’t get the break you so badly need. Tomorrow’s a new day, and a fresh start usually cures things. I’ve still not learned the art of asking for help, but if you’re the type that can, do yourself a favor and ask – you’re no less of a parent for doing so. Just be specific in what you need – people can’t figure out what you need, so tell them! (Hey self, LISTEN to this!)
- Your house will be filled with more toys than is even fathomable. It’s okay to donate the ones they don’t play with … the ones without a story. Hang on to the ones that are full of memories – at least for a little while.
- Take lots and lots of pictures! Your memories alone will fade, but with pictures, you’ll be able to relive those precious memories. Most of what I remember of our daughter’s early days are things we captured in a photograph. Don’t forget those little and imperfect moments – messy faces from their favorite food, dirty hands while helping outside, crazy hair, play clothes, and all. They might not be the most glamorous photos, but they represent who they are, and these photos will be even more precious than the posed photos years from now.
I could go on for days, and perhaps I’ll write a post in the future continuing this list. I’ve heard people say it before and I say it myself, as well – being a parent is not only the hardest role I’ve ever filled, but also the most rewarding. It’s one I wouldn’t trade for the world!