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7 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Parenthood

by Alison Wood | May 16, 2013 12:00 AM
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I was very young, ignorant and searching for knowledge. My husband and I had been married for four months when I found out I was expecting our first bambino. I was thrilled, but had no idea where to start. I must have looked like someone begging for opinions and help because it was thrown at me from all directions. Strangers, family and friends all gave their inputs on subjects like morning sickness cures, clothing for the baby, labor tricks, breast-feeding, baby names, nursery decor and more. I was so thankful for the valuable knowledge and wisdom I gleaned from those well-meaning individuals. However, there were some things people never told me that I wish I knew before I became a parent.

1. Parenting is not a contest.

Many times I would compare my growing son to other babies around me. If they were sitting up at five months, he should be too! Was their baby sleeping through the night at 8 weeks, then mine should be as well! No one took time to lean over and whisper, "This is not a competition." So, I acted like it was. Only after a few more kiddos, did I realize that even babies are individuals and develop at different times and have various areas of strengths and weaknesses.

2. All kids are not created equal.

I have four little munchkins that are currently in school. Two are accelerated and challenged by schoolwork while the other two are slower and less enthusiastic learners. Some of my kids are very social and love interaction, while others prefer to play alone in a quiet atmosphere. Each child has his or her own individual personality, and as a parent I need to work with that. I do not need to mold my child into being something that he or she is not.

3. Sleep is a distant dream.

There are no more infants in my home, only toddlers and school-aged children. However, I still have sleepless nights and very early mornings. Many times my preschoolers wake up as the sun rises and ask for breakfast. Night-mares may wake up a kid or two each week. Some of my kids have experienced bed-wetting issues and needed help changing clothes and sheets during the night. At other times, I would have to stay up to offer comfort to a feverish child. Sleeping in on Saturdays is a long-lost memory.

4. Stain-remover is a must.

Spit-up, dirty diapers, ketchup, kool-aid, mustard and mud all seem to attach themselves to my little one's clothing. No more are the days of just throw in the laundry and wash. After babies come on the scene, laundry has to be examined and pre-treated before washing or the majority of your child's garments are going to be pretty scary. Stain remover is always on our shopping list!

5. Stash away all breakables.

Expensive scented candles, decorative hanging plates, framed pictures and other breakables are non-existent at my house. Many times I have heard a shattering noise followed by sobs as my child breaks yet another item in my home. I try to remind myself, "It's just stuff. It's just stuff." But it's always hard to forget that I paid for that stuff, or that stuff was a special gift. So if you are highly attached to your fragile items, stash them away for a few years.

6. Walls were made for coloring.

I always thought walls were made for protection and privacy, but alas, I am incorrect! All six of my kids have proved me to be in error as they have let my walls become their canvases for colorful masterpieces. Unfortunately, their masterpieces are scrubbed off and I hand them paper and crayons in futile hopes for cleaner walls. What's my advice to new parents? Invest in Mr. Clean magic erasers—a lifetime supply.

7. Parenting is the best job in the world!

This is the main thing I wish someone had told me before I became a mom. It is hard to verbally describe the joy that floods my soul when my toddler wraps his chubby arms around my neck and announces to the world, "I love mommy!" Or what about the moment when my first baby cried and found no solace in anyone's arms except mine? Or what about when my five-year old says she doesn't want to ever leave home because she loves living with me? What about all the love notes my kids slip under my bedroom door?

I can't help but remember all the rushes of happiness I experience when I buy my child a special gift and his or her eyes light up with thankfulness and joy. My kids want to spend most of their waking hours with me. We are not only family members, we are friends. From the moment I brought my warm, soft cuddly babies home to this present day, I have experienced a bond like no other. Truly, parenting is the best job in the world and I consider it a wonderful gift to enjoy in this life.

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.

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