In thinking about my role as a parent lately, I ponder all the things I've been told and warned about versus what this gig really offers. New parents are faced with a lot of truth and fiction and I have learned over the past 3.5 years that what works for one parent, won't work for another.
Since of course I'm an expert on parenting (please note the sarcasm there) I'll give you my list of Dos and Don'ts I've learned during my time as a mom.
DO know that when your baby is brand new, it will be the easiest part of parenthood. Although that baby cries and wakes up all night long, it will be the easiest part. No back-talk. No time-outs. No tantrums. Just a squishy cute baby that actually sleeps more than you realize!
DON'T hesitate to ask for help. We all need help. It's the hardest thing for me to do. But it's important. The absolute BEST present my husband and I got when we brought home our baby for the first time was several hours of sleep while our baby was watched. It was heaven-sent.
DO back up your videos...OFTEN. As much as a pain in the ass it is to back up all your videos (especially when it is a HD camera and your computer doesn't support it) it's SO important. It's absolutely gut-wrenching to have most of your child's "firsts" stolen from you when your house is broken into. In fact the only item you will care about recovering is that video camera. Years later it will still bring tears to your eyes thinking about all the footage you lost. BACK UP OFTEN. Even when it's a pain in the ass.
DON'T listen to experts or friends or family that tell you your child should be doing this or that by a certain age. Sure, some things should be checked out if significantly delayed but your child will coo, smile, sit, crawl, stand, walk and talk on their own time. Take in each moment and actually be ok if they aren't crawling or walking right away. You will like that more than you know.
DO take a step back and realize this time, no matter how difficult, will fly by. Before you know it, that child you brought into this world, the one you taught about life, will be out of your arms as you offer the world back to them.
DON'T worry, Supermoms and Superdads don't really exist. Laundry will pile up, dusting will be put off, crap will accumulate throughout the house. If you, your spouse and your kids are clean, fed, smiling, laughing and happy...you are doing a damn good job.
DO believe the pediatrician when they tell you the average number of illnesses the first year of preschool is a minimum of 30. No matter how clean your house is, how many vitamins you give and how often you wash hands...your kid will get sick from the germ-infested breeding ground known as preschool or daycare. Believe it or not, your kid won't be the only sick one although it will feel like it. Those germs will also get your other children, your spouse and yourself sick. Be thankful if it's only sniffles and flus. Strep, lice and even pinworms (ack!!!) are also common.
DO know that having two children is insane. It's doubly hard. More than double. But also know that it's a wonderful wonderful thing and so worth it!
DON'T listen to others. Don't listen to the mom that offers condescending advice. It's ok to formula feed, use store-bought baby food and disposable diapers. Don't listen to the mom who thinks they can discipline or calm your child better than you. Don't feel like a bad mom if your child rolls off the couch onto their head in front of said moms.
DO know that when you go to bed later than usual...your kids will wake up WAY earlier than usual. Every. Single. Time.
DO love. DO laugh...all the time. DO hug and kiss and then hug and kiss some more. DO teach. DO bend the rules. DO allow ice cream. And DO back up your videos!