Everything you need to know about parenting you can find online!
Just kidding! I have been a parent for a little over five years now, so you would think that I’m an expert! You would be wrong. I have looked all over to find tips & tricks to make sure my kids have a great childhood, however you will see a lot of conflicting advice. One such example is sleep training.
Raising kids is the most wonderfully frustrating thing you can ever choose to do. I did say choose, as anyone can go and make a kid, but you have to make a commitment to become an actual parent. There is no half- ass way to do this stuff.
I am far from the best dad any kid could ever wish for, but I wanted to share some things that I learned over the last five years.
#1. You get to write your own instruction manual…
I don’t care how many books or blogs you read about parenting. Nothing is going to prepare you for how much your life is going to change when that first child comes home! Everyone has their own way of doing things, and will happily tell you what works for them.
You will realize while watching YouTube videos on swaddling at 3 AM that you have to try a few things out to find a solution that works for you. Sure, all these resources will help, but in the end it is all trial and error. You have to decide what works and what doesn’t. Eventually you will find your own style.
Don’t worry, you will get to a point where you look at new parents and chuckle. Just as more experienced parents are most likely having a giggle while watching you right now.
#2. The first child experience…
The first kid will get all the cool stuff. All the accessories that you can find at Buy Buy Baby. The snot sucker, binkie whips, awesome diaper bag, etc. Make sure to get refills for the Diaper Genie!
This kid will get all of your attention. They won’t be allowed to eat off the floor, play in dirt, and everyone gets to wash their hands before they are allowed to touch the baby.
You will worry about this little one constantly. Rush to pick them up every time they fall, and call the doctor about every fever.
#3. You will never sleep again…
Truth. Forget sleeping through the night, at least in the beginning. If your lucky you might get to sleep in when the kids a teenager. My son is a rooster and makes sure we know exactly when the sun begins to ever so slightly crest the horizon.
#4. Get ready for all the photo opts…
Your child’s early years will also be very well documented in baby books. You are going to take so many pictures of this kid it is crazy. Make sure you come up with a good way to view them all. My wife will use Shutter Fly to make hard cover books for each year that are truly awesome!
I love that Face Book shows me memories each day. When I was growing up we never really dug out the photo albums. Having these memories shown to you automatically is great. You will be surprised how fast that kid is going to grow.
#5. You will spend way too much money…
All that cool stuff you got. All those cool accessories. You won’t use them after six months. Pretty sure that we have never used the snot sucker. You will also realize that you have been carting around a ton of stuff that you really don’t need.
You know what the best changing pad on the market is? The floor. Yep, that wiggle worm can’t fall off the floor. Once you have some experience, you can move from the floor to the couch.
Also, it is way easier to clean poop off tile or hardwood than it is carpet. Choose your spot carefully!!!
#6. Your kid is going to get you sick…
So so very sick. Nothing like the entire family ending up in the hospital with the Norovirus because you had a fun day at the Children’s Museum. Make sure everyone is washing their hands anywhere you encounter several germ buckets in one area. Especially when you visit all those awesome public places full of other peoples sick kids.
#7. The second child experience…
All that crap about washing hands goes out the window with this kid. You won’t think twice about letting this one eat dirt. This one gets to play with that kid at the playground with green snot running down their face. You might even remember that snot sucker you have collecting dust in the medicine cabinet.
You now realize that kids are a lot tougher than they seem. They also heal extremely fast. You are not as worried about the huge goose egg on your kids forehead after they face plant on the neighbors sidewalk as you were the first kid.
There won’t be as many pictures of this kid. They sometimes get the short end of the memory stick. You will still love them just as much as the first kid, but now realize that you just don’t have as much time to spread between these two super needy creatures.
#8. Forget going out to eat…
Don’t expect to have a nice meal out to eat anywhere that doesn’t have a playground. Even bringing some books and toys will only last the kids so long.
When we first had my son, we bragged about nothing changing and going out to eat all the time. Yea, that lasted about five minutes.
Rushing to take a few bites while your spouse is walking a screaming kid around outside sucks! Taking turns walking the little trouble makers around gets old quick. Better to get take out and embarrass yourself in front of your friends at home on your own turf.
#9. Your house will never be clean again…
You are going to spend so much time cleaning, folding laundry, and doing dishes it becomes a second full time job. Just accept it. You may want to think twice about getting a huge house. More house = more to clean!!
Watch your step around Lego’s! Stepping on a Lego is it’s own special kind of pain.
#10. Your kids pet is really your pet…
Having a pet growing up is great! I had a bunch of pets when I was a kid. Just realize when you decide to get an animal when you have young kids that you get to take care of it.
Maybe if the pet lives long enough you will get to teach them some responsibility.
#11. Kids really are the best thing ever…
You might be thinking that after the first ten things on this list your life is over. Truth is that the first time your kid says your name, or grabs your finger with their little hand your’re hooked.
There is nothing like being a parent. Life is full of so many ups, downs, and sideways. Kids do make these swings more significant in good and bad ways.
Your goals will shift. Your dreams will be centered around the little ones for the time being, but don’t forget to keep the long game in mind. Eventually these kids will move out.
#12. Your partner in crime…
Don’t take your significant other for granted. It is really easy to fall into a routine of work, kids, clean, sleep. Remember your partner that’s tagging along on this journey with you. Maintaining that bond and connection is extremely important! When the kids have moved on to their own lives it will just be the two of you. Make sure there is still an “Us” at the end of the day.
If you are a single parent, I tip my had to you! I couldn’t do this on my own, and can only imagine how strong you must be. Same goes for Step and Adoptive parents. It takes a special person to come in and raise another persons child.
All that said, you will never know another love like that of your kids! Whether they are your own or adopted, these kids will force you to be a better person. You just have to do your best not to fuck them up too bad…