Think back. Way back. All the way back to the moment you can clearly recall being utterly convinced you wanted to be a parent. We are filled with a grand vision of sleeping angelic babies. We take trips through the department stores picking out cute sleepers and matching booties.
We are entirely surrounded by a baby delusion. We peek through the rose colored glasses of impending parenthood and we truly believe that nothing can or will go wrong. Our children will be perfect in every way. We watch other parents at the park, head down focused on a smartphone. We watch cherub faced toddlers run around the play park, shoving others down as they leave behind them a path of destruction, and we silently promise ourselves that OUR CHILD will never ever behave that way in public. All the while, we viciously judge the mom with her face buried in her phone.
We begin our parenting journey already immersed in the biggest parenting mistake we will ever make. We expect that nothing will go wrong. We expect that we will be a PERFECT parent. We assume that every moment will be under our control. We are sucked into the delusion that simply by being our child, there will never be a tantrum in the grocery store or a sibling smack down on the playground.
We lie to ourselves about the reality of parenting.
It is a gut wrenching, soul searching, anxiety inducing trip- down- a- bumpy -road filled with "should have's" and "if only's.” The first time we lose our cool may be when the baby just won't go to sleep. The first time we end up sobbing: because we just can't figure out how to soothe a stressed out infant. The first time we leave the house without a backup soother or extra diapers, we are eyeball to eyeball with the harsh reality of parenting.
If I could give only one piece of advice to new parents, it would be this:
Trust your gut. Rely on your instinct. Set aside the books and the videos and the words of "wisdom" from everyone who comes within arm's reach of you.
I want you to know that, yes, you will yell at your kids out of frustration. Yes, you will go grocery shopping with a child covered in dirt and popsicle juice.Yes, you will give in and buy your kid the candy at the checkout just to get them to stop shouting.
Guess what? It's okay. You won't lose your parenting card by giving in once in a while. You won't be arrested for letting your kids sleep until noon on a Saturday. You won't be a horrible parent because you choose to NOT put your kids in every activity that comes along. Take on the adventure of parenting WITH rose colored glasses on but just remember from time to time, take them off and really see what you are creating in your life, and your child's life.
Twenty years from now, as your child takes that next bold step into the world, I promise, the journey will be worth it if you give yourself permission to screw up just as much as your kids will. The world will be a better place for it.
You can find me online at www.APassionateParent.com
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