An Uncomplicated Life Blog: The Most Important Lessons I've Learned In Parenting

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Most Important Lessons I've Learned In Parenting

Pre-kids, I was a parenting expert for everyone ELSE'S kids. Actually becoming a mom was a humbling experience!


Is it just me, or was there just a massive baby boom?! I mean, at least 20 bloggers I follow on Instagram had babies between December and January. If you didn't pop out a baby in the past few weeks, it seems like everyone has announced a pregnancy. My blogging BFF is pregnant, my sister is pregnant, freaking all the Duggars/their wives are pregnant, heck - even Joanna Gaines is pregnant! It's looking like another baby boom this summer and early fall. All these babies got me thinking about motherhood. Specifically, all the things I thought I knew, all the things I didn't know that I didn't know and all the surprises that humbled me along the way. This post is all about the most important lessons I've learned in parenting.


The hardest transition is having your first child.
I know the jury is still out on this one and every woman experiences it differently, but for me, going from 0-1 children was absolutely the hardest transition of my life. (More than half of my mom friends agree with me on this one and the rest say 1-2 was the hardest. After that, I'm told, life just becomes a total sh*t show!) For me, losing the ability to just leave the house on a whim was a challenge. Instead of simply leaving the house, I now had to pack for all the needs a baby might have for as long as I anticipated we'd be out. I became a pack mule. You have to time leaving the house to feeding and pumping schedules. 

Perhaps more than losing spontaneity, losing my down time was ROUGH. No more relaxing on the weekends, no more long morning showers, no more sick days, no more guaranteed rest or sleep when all you need is a good night's sleep, no more dinner after 5pm (gotta be home before bedtime!), shopping became a chore instead of a treat, and no more cranked up music in the car. Having that first baby makes you re-learn how to live your life. Everything that you used to do on your own time now has to be re-learned and done on baby time. THAT is why that first baby is the biggest challenge.

FYI, a lesson I learned after having a second is that having only one child with you becomes the easiest thing in the world! I look back on when it was just Henry and me and think, why did I find this so challenging, one kid is a vacation! Ahhh, hindsight.

Throw your strict rules out the window.
Think you'd rather drink poison than feed your baby formula? Think again, you might end up formula feeding! Even if you don't have supply issues, you might do it for your sanity so that your partner can take some of the night feeds. Or you just want your body to be yours again. Think you're definitely going to have an unmedicated birth? Think again sister. 16 hours into contractions with Otto, I waved my white flag and gave my husband a look of death to get me an epidural right now. If you don't know what a real contraction feels like, leave your options open! Also, you might end up with an emergency c section. What I've learned is babies come how THEY want to come, and you're just the vessel to get them here. There's no glamorous way to give birth and there are no prizes for any one method beyond getting to hold your baby. 

If you have really strong opinions on feeding, sleeping or ways to give birth, let them all go. Even if you're about to be a second time mom, that second baby is his own person and will be completely different than your first. Lighten up and go with the flow.


Everything is a phase.
When you first bring home your baby, and you're so tired and the baby doesn't seem to sleep at all at night? It's a phase. It might last longer than you want, but it's a phase. Sleep regressions that have you at your wit's ends? A phase. A constantly fussy baby with teething pain? Yup, that's just a phase too. If you approach the hard times with a "this too shall pass" attitude, they're a lot easier to get through. 

In the same vein, don't let those challenges tarnish the good moments. Take relief in the fact that those hard moments are just that - a moment in time, but also know that the good stuff is also just a moment in time and treasure it dearly!

You're really just wingin' it.
All of parenthood is a "best guess" at what the best method for any given thing is. Growing up, I felt like my mom had all the answers and knew how to do everything. Now as a mother myself, I realize she was just winging it, and that's exactly what every parent does, all day every day. You're basically giving it your best guess. And you know what? That's ok! There's no one right way to parent, and you don't even have to parent both of your kids the same. Otto requires a lot more snuggling than Henry does. Henry requires a lot more conversation than Otto does. Want to know how I learned that? Trial and error, and a lot of wingin' it!

Momin' aint easy guys. There are so many lessons I've learned in the almost four years I've been one, and I can't imagine how many more I'll learn in my lifetime. I've only just begun this motherhood journey! I think the most important lessons I've learned in parenting require flexibility on my part, an open mind, and a go with the flow attitude. If you've got that going for you, you'll enjoy parenting so much more.

11 comments:

  1. I think one of the most important lessons of parenting is to learn to let go of what you believed to be true for what is really true. )

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  2. YES!!!! As a full time single "step" mom (husband is deployed) I totally agree. I 100000% wing it every single day and he thinks I have all the answers in the world. It was definitely difficult going from just my husband and I to adding his son when he was 4 (he's 10 now) full time. So many things come into play. No longer are we just planning vacations on the whim or scheduling other things because school/sports/ other extra stuff is consuming our lives.

    and I totally agree it seems like a baby boom time. Too bad hubby is deployed or I probably would be on that baby boom train too.

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  3. Yes to throwing out strict rules! I feel like every new Mom comes up with black and white rules for everything and then struggles to stick with them when they don't actually make sense for the family. I wish I would have relaxed on things much earlier. It's hard enough to be a Mom these days.

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  4. This is some actual, solid advice! Literally, throw everything out the window. I'm a one time mom, and her birthday went nothing like it was 'supposed' to. It was almost comical, looking back...all of the things I was so big on got trashed by necessity. And guess what...she's happy and healthy. In the end, it's taking it day by day with that single goal in mind.

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  5. I seriously could not agree more on all accounts! 1 to 2 was a breeze compared to 0 to 1, and I wish I didn’t waste so much time reading every book imaginable during my first pregnancy- it was all out the window once the baby came.

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  6. Totally agree! I always laugh inside when I get advice from non-parents.

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  7. I'm a parent to 1 and still have no idea how anyone goes on to have 2. Honestly, it kind of irks me when those parents complain because in my head I can't help but think "then why did you have another kid?!"

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  8. Everything is a phase is so so true. They come and go so quickly. Going from 1 to 2 was pretty easy for us because E was such an easy baby. Now.....not so much, ha!

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