Monday, August 15, 2011

5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Having Kids

Lately, I've been to a lot of baby showers and, inevitably, the moms get together and talk about all the things we wish we'd known about before having kids - the things that would have saved us countless amounts of time, money, and stress.

So here is my list of things I wish I'd known before my first bundle of joy came into this world:

1.  All the "Necessary Stuff" Isn't Really Necessary. - I see this all the time and I know I did the same thing.  You find out you're pregnant and rush out to register for all the things you'll need.  When you get to Babies R Us (or Target, or WalMart, or wherever), they give you a packet of information with a list of everything you just HAVE to register for.  Before you know it, you're clicking on dozens of entertainment gyms, cute little outfits, furniture, nursery decorations, and more toys than any baby could ever need.  What your baby needs is a car seat, a crib (or somewhere to sleep), a few sleepers, some diapers (cloth or disposables), and formula (if you aren't nursing).

2.  Mama (not the doctor, your neighbors, friends, in-laws, books, or even Grandma) Knows Best - As a new mom, EVERYONE will have advice for you.  Some of it will be good, and some won't.  The important thing is to take all of it with a grain of salt and know that ultimately YOU will know your baby better than anyone else.  So, if the doctor tells you something you feel is wrong, get a second opinion.  If your friends or family don't approve of a decision your making for your child, that's okay.  In the end, you can only do your best and trust your own instincts. 

3.  Babies Don't Try To Keep Up With The Joneses - And Neither Should You - Your baby does not care if they spit up in brand-name clothes or sleep in designer labels.  As long as they are full, and dry, and loved, they will be happy.  Also, don't be afraid to accept hand-me-downs, shop at consignment sales, or check Freecycle.  Babies go through things so quickly and people are generally happy to pass them along to someone else who can use them.  I used to pass clothes back and forth between friends of mine with little boys the same age as mine.  It worked out great for all of us and saved us a ton of money.

4.  Stay Away From the Numbers Game - If you've been a mother for more than a day, you know what I'm talking about.  The minute two moms get together, the comparing begins.  It usually looks something like this:
      Mom 1:  Oh, your baby is adorable.  How old is he/she?
      Mom 2:  Thank you.  He's 4 months old.
      Mom 1:  Oh, is he rolling over/sitting up/eating solids/crawling/walking/potty training (you get the idea) *This question is inevitably followed by a story of how Mom 1's child has been doing this for awhile now.
      Mom 2:  You're little boy looks so little/big.  How much does he weigh?  (or worse)  What percentile is he in?

And after this conversation, both moms will wonder if their child is too big or little, or if they should be doing something that they're not.  It's not healthy for anyone involved.  Why do we do this to each other?  I know that some people are just genuinely curious and want to make conversation.  Others, I think, are just trying to brag about their child.  I know I've fallen into this trap myself, but thankfully, it's easier to resist with each child :)

5.  Accept A Little Chaos - I am not superwoman - there, I said it!  I can not raise 4 active boys, keep the house clean all the time, cook all the meals, do all the laundry and shopping, AND keep my sanity.  All of those things happen - just not at the same time (except raising the kids - I find I can't ignore that one!!).  So, if you come to my house, you may see some toys on the floor, a load of laundry that needs to be put away, or some dishes in the sink....and that's okay! (I'm taking a deep breath as I type this because it's hard for me to accept.)  One day, when my children are all in college, I will look at my clean house and wish for a little more chaos!!

6.  (Yes, I know I said 5 things, but I have to add this in.)  Enjoy The Stage You're In - With my first child, I remember thinking "I can't wait until he sleeps through the night - sits up - crawls - walks - talks...".  And then, before I knew it, his babyhood was over.  I had spent so much time looking forward to the next stage, that I didn't really appreciate the stage he was in.  With my subsequent children, I have purposely savored every single moment of every stage.  I know there will come a time when they will sleep through the night (at least I hope so!).  They will talk, and walk, and potty-train all in their own time.  I'm  just not in a hurry for any of it to pass me by.


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23 comments:

  1. oh i love this post :) it's SO true too! with cohen i was always rushing things - but with lucas i've learned to hold on to the moment. if i made a list like this - i'm pretty sure ours would be identical :)

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  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing. I really like that you mentioned the stages. I rushed them with my first but I am now taking the time and loving all the stages with my second daughter. Not that I didn't love them with my first daughter, it's just that I am trying to take it slower.

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  3. Wonderful reminders of avoiding common pitfalls of child rearing. I'm not superwoman either but my children are happy, feed, clothed and intelligent. My work is done.

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  4. Hi Tina!
    It's Jojo from Evolution Parenting. Thanks for leaving your comment on my page and for dropping by. Sorry for the late reply. I just gave birth a week ago and I have been enjoying my beautiful babygirl.
    Wow i love this post! I was thinking of writing one similar and i love the way you write so i'd love you to guestpost on my blog.
    My email is josiatdenton@evolutionparenting.com - lets put our heads together and chat :)

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  5. Hi, new follower here from the Sept.'11 Blog hop, http://babyfeetandpuppybreath.blogspot.com/
    Hope you will stop by and follow me back, Thanks.

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  6. I love this post! I will definitely keep these things in mind as I raise my little girl. (Due in 28 days!) Thank you so much for posting this.
    -Nadia

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  7. Congrats Nadia! There's nothing better than being a Mommy :)

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  8. That's a really great post and (as the mother of 4 myself) TOTALLY agree with it all.

    Rosie, x

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  9. This is so true. My girls are 17 and 23. I would add to the list: Children, teens, young adults, may want all the newest and latest items from clothing to electronics and every thing in between, but the more you give the less they are willing to work for it.

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  10. love this, every helpful

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  11. Really wise words there. Especially about listening to your instinct. before i had kids i thought that was crazy advice but now I know you are so right, you intuitively know what your baby needs if you take the time to understand them rather than trying to over rule their natural cycles with crazy rigid routines from books. Thanks for sharing this on the Sunday Parenting Party, I'll be pinning this to our Pinterestboard

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  12. I love number 3 and teach it to the children in my class regularly.... but sometimes forget to learn the lesson myself. I teach them that we don't come to school to be better than others, only to be better than ourselves. I must remember that too.

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    1. I love that philosophy Kylie! When we moved from a "bigger" suburb to a smaller town, the first thing that struck me was how much calmer everyone was. There was a climate of peace because everyone wasn't competing with everyone else! I was instantly in love :)

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  13. Love this! Followed from Taming the Goblin's link up--Mama knows best--even brand new Mama knows best--that was the hardest thing for me to learn! It was easy to tell my parents no--but telling the doctors--whewww that needed some courage and confidence! And the numbers game can certainly stress a new mama out--especially since every "mom site" emails out "what your baby should be doing" every week/month--it just goes back to trusting your instincts and trusting your baby will develop at their own pace! Love this!
    Kayla
    mompson.com

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  14. really great tips, especially the last one. I got sucked into the numbers game and now i realise that its just because other mums are anxious and are trying to validate where there babies are.
    Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Parenting Party I am pinning this to the Pinterest board.

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  15. I'm a momma-to-be and LOVE reading posts like this one from blogger friends. :) Yes, I do think momma knows best and that's why I ask for her advice over anyone else's.

    Helen
    Blue Eyed Beauty Blog
    Exercise Encouragement GROUP Blog

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    1. Congratulations on your upcoming arrival :) Babies are such a blessing! I wish I had read more and talked more to moms instead of parenting books when I was pregnant with my first! Blessings :) ~Tina

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  16. Tina, I LOVE how you put everything into perspective. I've always tried to do it all - it just doesn't work. I also appreciate the reminder that mama knows best...my pediatrician is great and experienced...but sometimes I just want to tell her to back off. : ) I just had my 4th baby in 5 years - I know how to do the baby thing. I know what's "safe" and what's not. My second got whooping cough at 2 months old - I understand STUFF. Thanks for your plain and simple expert advice, Tina!

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    1. Thanks so much for the sweet comment Rebecca and congrats on #4! I wish it had not taken me so long to realize some of these thing - especially the need to give myself a little grace! Just like our kids, we're always learning :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  17. I love this post! We are definitely on the same page! Take a look at my post "Every Baby Is Different! Please Stop The Comparisons!" http://bit.ly/1obR7kJ I hate the numbers game! Sometimes I just skip the playground visits all together for this very reason. It's really petty. You are right. Some moms are just curious to see what other moms are experiencing with their babies, while others just have issues! Great post!

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  18. The 5 things you wished you knew before kids....OMG after having 3 kids in 2 years (a singleton and twins 13 months later, living on the other side of the country from family), I had to learn a lot of things real quick because my husband is in the military. We were a family unit one day and I was a single parent the next day for months at a time. I take "what your kid should be doing at what age" in strides as suggestions. Each child is different and if you have multiples that is another set of guidelines to consider. If you want interesting reading check out the book Birth Order by Kevin Leman, it will help put some things in perspective about your family and children's behavior.

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