When you’re about to have a child, you want to prepare yourself the best way you can. You start to go out and buy all the books to read up on HOW to be a parent. One book comes to mind whenever someone is looking for a book to read when pregnant and it’s the What to Expect When You’re Expecting series. It’s pretty popular in the parenting world, but is this what we need? Is this where you want to get advice on parenting?
I’ll be honest, I find them to be a bit biased, based mostly off opinions rather than facts, and driven by societal norms. But let’s face it. What about our society is normal right now? We are no longer living in the era where every household has 2 parents, a SAHM, working dad, picture perfect kids. So many moms don’t fit into their narrative, and when you read those one star reviews you’ll understand what I mean. So many moms feel like the book is too cutesy and fluffy. As if it’s not coming from a real mom with real accounts and problems.
Now I’m not saying those books are all bad. They DO have some good information in there. But when you have one book that’s written by one author, of course you’re only going to get information from their perspective. I don’t know about you but I don’t need anything to be sugarcoated. I need the real raw, uncut, truth and I believe that is what parents want, and NEED. They don’t need someone to tell them that everything will be ok all the time, that their babies will sleep through the night by 4 months, and that their pregnancy will go a certain way. Because that’s not the case for all. Truth is, some days are shit, your baby may not sleep through the night for quite some time (sleep training or not) and you may have some complications in your pregnancy.
I’m giving you the inside scoop from real moms and dads that have been in the trenches and are ready to give it to you straight. Everyone here is a mom or dad with the majority having 2 or more children. These are the OGs. The vets. They’re not giving you the glossed over picture perfect fantasy. Here is some practical advice from people that have been there.
Don’t compare yourself
Don’t compare yourself to other parent or even your own parents. All you can do is be the best mom/dad you can be… It’s a different world than how they raised us. Don’t beat yourself up things will go wrong or not the way you planned it’s ok.
Tiffany| Mama of 3
How true is this? So many times as new parents we’re either trying hard to be as good as our parents because we had a great childhood, and we’re trying hard to be ANYTHING like our parents because of a rough childhood. Either way, you’re fighting and internal battle, trying to be something you are or aren’t, instead of just being YOU. Parenting is all about growth and learning yourself and your child. You’ll discover many things about yourself as a mom or dad and you’ll be surprised at how alike or not you are of your parents without even trying.
NO 2 kids are the same
NO 2 kids are the same!! And not Everyone has a “mother/father” instinct. Its okay, you’ll learn and because you took the Time to learn you’ll be Phenomenal.
Sunie| Mama of 2
This is something all parents need to hear and it’s hard to listen to. Wherever we go, our children are measured by charts and graphs on their development. Are they on the weight and growth chart? Are they rolling over at the appropriate time? So and so’s child is already talking why isn’t my child? My first baby was a good sleeper, I don’t understand why this one isn’t. It’s because every child is different. All children grow at their own pace. While graphs and charts are good to have for a general idea of our children’s development, it’s ok if your kid hasn’t met a certain milestone at precisely the right time.
Your birth plan probably won’t go according to plan
Most pregnancies have some sort of complications, people just don’t talk about it. More woman have emergency c-sections than you know. Your birth plan probably won’t go according to plan.
Tiffany| Mama of 1
Working with moms, I’ve seen this all too many times. Moms come in to delivery their baby with a very specific birth plan. They’ve envisioned this moment their entire pregnancy and they know exactly how they want to deliver and what they want to happen. Unfortunately, you don’t call the shots, you baby does.
Many women, understandably get extremely disappointed when things in their pregnancy don’t go as planned. They don’t expect to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes (See I Failed My Glucose Test-Understanding Gestational Diabetes) or have other complications. There’s all these ideas of how they want their delivery to go: natural no meds, immediate skin to skin etc.
But the baby may not tolerate labor and start to have decelerations, or perhaps they swallowed meconium at birth and needed to be moved to the warmer immediately instead of your chest. It’s so important to be open for changes in your birth plan and open to the fact that things might not go exactly as you planned. The goal is to have a healthy baby and healthy mama.
It’s normal to want time to yourself
It’s normal to want time to yourself and not be smothered by your children 24/7 365. Tired of moms being shamed when they want/need a break because “they signed up for this”.
Ashley| Mama of 4
You know what, being a parent isn’t always enjoyable 24/7. Some may not want to admit to it, but it’s true. Sometimes you can feel touched out. And that’s ok. It’s ok to want time to yourself. You may need time to reenergize to feel like yourself again. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for wanting that.
Keep an extra pamper for a shield
If you have a boy keep an extra pamper for a shield because they will get ya and like Step Curry they don’t miss #prouddad
Sam| Brand new daddy of 1
This is one of my best friends ya’ll, and I failed him. I didn’t let him know that little baby boys have a target system where they’re able to lock in on any unsuspecting parent and fire at will. Yep. I forgot to tell him🤣. So I’m letting all you know, this goes for boys and girls. When changing their diaper, always have the clean diaper ready and covering their genital to catch any spontaneous waterworks.
Talk to your child and establish a relationship
Talk to your child and establish a relationship where they could come to you and not be afraid of expressing their feelings”.
Genene| mama of 2
This is very important to establish early on. You want your child to know that, no matter what, they can talk to you about anything. This establishes trust. The last thing you want is for them to feel like they can’t come to you when they’re in some sort of trouble. Remember your teenage years?
Trust your instincts
Trust your instincts not what society says is a must… There comes a time where you need to think deeper on if it’s really your instincts or fear but that doesn’t usually start until the end of the first year-18m lol
As a new parent this can be so hard. Are you paranoid or is it your natural instincts? Trust me, you’ll learn to differentiate the two.
Don’t forget about the dreams and aspirations you had
Don’t forget about the dreams and aspirations you had before you had children. Show them what it means to achieve your goals so that when they get older they’ll be inspired to do the same. Set the example.
Jamie| Mama of 3
I’ll admit, I put everything on the back burner when I had kids. I just felt like there wasn’t enough time to be a great mom and do everything I set out to do. I’m finally learning some balance and making sure that I show my kids how great it feels to accomplish their goals. So I graduated from nursing school with my BSN, I’ll be working on becoming an IBCLC, looking to become a certified doula, and last, becoming a midwife. Sounds like a lot yes. But I want to show them that they do anything they set their mind to.
Have fun with your kids. Be silly. Enjoy them and learn to put the phone and computers down to take time for them. Work will still be there. Get on an adventure and make sure to take pictures so you can have those memories to share with them as they get older.
James| Daddy of 4
This is hard for many. In a time where mobile phones are just an extension of our bodies it seems, it’s so hard to detach. We leave work and come home only to continue working. Sometimes we can be too busy to play, or just talk. So it’s so important to just take a break.
Now moms. If you’re like me, i know this one may be hard. You’ve given birth to 1 or multiple children and you aren’t exactly satisfied with the way your body looks. So you avoid pictures at all cost. Stop. You’re beautiful and amazing and you’re missing out on being included in some awesome memories. Let your husband take a picture of you rolling around on the floor with the kids, or splashing around int he sprinklers and pool outside. Don’t let your feelings about your body stop you from enjoying the memories. You’ll end up with hundreds of pictures without you in them.
Teach them about autonomy
Teach them about autonomy and being in control of their own bodies. Let them know that no one else controls their bodies except for them. Teach them to use the correct terms when referring to their body parts. Don’t use cutesy names as a replacement for their genitals. Teach them that they have a right to say “No” and that no means no regardless. It’s ok to not want to show affection to people so if they don’t want to give grandma or auntie a hug they’re perfectly within their right, so do NOT force them to. And when they tell you something, believe them.
Janessa| Mama of 5
Ok, here I come with the statistics. It’s been shown that 1/4 girls and 1/6 boys are sexually abused in some way before the age of 18. One of the ways to help prevent this is to make sure your child knows proper body parts. Teach them to say vagina and penis. Let them know that they control their body and they can say no. THEY have the power of their bodies. And don’t focus so much on stranger danger because unfortunately, most children are abused by someone they know.
Ask for help
Don’t be too proud to ask for help. We aren’t superwoman and you shouldn’t put those expectations on yourself. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
Toya| Mama of 4
We put too much pressure on ourselves to be everything for everyone. So many moms are afraid to ask for help for fear of judgement. So and so is able to do this all while juggling 4 kids, a job and a business so why am I struggling with just one? Easy, because likely so and so is getting help. She’s probably also screaming in her pillow at night sneaking chocolates because that’s the only alone time she has. It’s ok. Remember, don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
Teach them how to lose gracefully.
Teach them how to lose gracefully. Get them to understand that everything will not go their way all the time and let them fail. You don’t have to save them from every failure. They’ll never learn how to find success on their own if you constantly micromanage them to try and protect them all the time. Let them be thinkers.
Virginia| Mama of 6
The last thing you want, is to have a child that throws a tantrum every time they lose a game or something doesn’t go their way. They grow into adults that act the same way.
This last piece I don’t even think I can consider it advice. It’s more like it needs to be a law! When I asked several parents on different platforms, the amount of people that echoed this tip was astounding. This is a MUST for all parents:
Take time for yourself. Take care of you
Listen, you are NO good to your children if you aren’t able to take care of them because you’ve neglected yourself. It’s so easy for us to lose ourselves once we become parents. We forget about self care and how important it is. Many mamas suffer from Postpartum depression (PPD) in silence. We take on too much. Always saying yes to everything. And we continuously put our children’s wants above our needs. Your mental and physical health is important. Even if it’s as simple as going out by yourself to get an iced coffee, getting a mani/pedi, or enjoying a game of poker with the guys, you have to do it. YOU will be so much happier and I guarantee your children will notice, thus making them happier as well.
I hope this advice on parenting helps put your mind at ease just a bit. Listen, none of us get it right all the time. We can only do our best and know that there will be mistakes made, lots of tears, and bumps in the road. But the joy that fills your heart will be so worth it in the end.