Sticky Hands and Dirty Faces | What Every Parent Needs to Know About Parenting


Sticky Hands and Dirty Faces | What Every Parent Needs to Know About Parenting

When you bring your little bundle of joy home from the hospital panic begins to set in. The medical professionals have handed a life over to you. Why should anyone trust you with this precious baby? You know nothing about being a parent. Thinking you are going to totally mess them up is completely normal. There is no manual given to new parents outlining how things will go and frequently asked questions. You are left to the time-honored tradition of figuring it out as you go. That’s a lot to handle some days. 

It’s okay to be so tired that you can’t function. It’s okay to find yourself falling asleep on the toilet. You will sleep eventually. It may be with a tiny person in between you but you will sleep.

Every stage of their development has its own set of challenges.  You desperately want them to speak and to say the token “Mama,” but eventually you will be hearing your kids yelling your name in your sleep.  The toddler years are marked with amazing first and it’s so cool to see the excitement through their eyes.  Then enter the terrible twos and threes.  You see where I am going with this.

It’s okay to be late. In fact your child will inevitably poop their pants or lose their shoes while you are holding your keys and ready to walk out the door. 

One shoe will always be missing.  It is probably somewhere with the lost socks.

It’s okay to show up just as you are. You make look disheveled, a kid missing a shoe and you haven’t washed your hair in days.  You will not be alone. We have all been there.  Trust me when I say, use some dry shampoo and go anyway.

Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about your choices as parents.  It’s your family, your choice.

You will have to become a fluent texter because you will not have a full phone conversation for the next 18 years.  The minute you answer your phone its like a small alarm goes off in your child and their worst behavior will ensue. 

If you nurse, you will inevitably be shamed for doing it in public. If you bottle-feed, you will be shamed for not nursing.  There is no pleasing people. You do you Mama. Whatever works for you is what you should do. 

Your To-Do list will never be empty. In fact, as you check one item off, you remember two more.  You have mounds of laundry to be done and a dishwasher to unload but a sweet little one who needs you.  You have to be okay with not accomplishing everything in a day.

Some days are rough. Your only win may be that you kept everyone alive and fed.  Except you of course, you didn’t have time to eat.

Don’t go Pinterest overboard for their first several birthdays. Please do not stay up all night making 25 perfectly decorated Thomas the Train sugar cookies.  They are babies.  They don’t care and they won’t remember.  Keep it simple and they will probably have more fun and you will be far less stressed. The parties my kids have had the most fun have been the least expensive and low maintenance ones.

Find a good mom friend.  One who is loyal, kind and loves and prays for your children as much as you.  They can be your safe place when you feel like nobody gets it.

Have lots of playdates.  Even when your baby is little and they don’t even play with others.  Play-dates are just as much for you as for them. Hello? You need an adult conversation once in a while.

Invite people over even if you house looks awful.  It will be a tremendous relief to your guests that you have cheerios smashed in the carpet and sippy cups left everywhere. They will love that your house isn’t any cleaner than theirs.

Plan date nights with your significant other often.  You need time when you are not being Mom.  You need time to be you as well. 

It’s okay to say no to some things.  You don’t have to do all the activities, sports and events.  You may feel pressured to participate, but it’s okay to keep things simple.  Your kiddos will want to be involved in something eventually.  Wait until they are interested.  Everyone will be much happier.

You will eventually have to give up your cool car for a large SUV or a Minivan.  Don’t let it bruise your ego too much.  There are like 25 cup holders and endless space in that minivan. Not to mention the doors that open like magic and don’t slam into the car parked next to you.

You will eventually eat every word you ever uttered about how you would be as a parent. All of the “my child will never do…”  They will. I promise.  And you will be just like those other parents that you shamed in your child-free life. So be kind. 

Don’t bother picking up toys during the day.  It’s like shoveling snow when it’s still snowing.  You will be exhausted, the house will still be a mess and you will feel guilty about wasting time you could have spent playing with your child.

I know the phrase “The days are long but the years are short” is so over-used but it is very true. At the end of each day you may be completely wiped-out and praising God that you made it to bed time because the day seemed never-ending, but the time with our kids goes by so quick.  Don’t stress over being the perfect mom because to your child you already are. Give yourself grace and go enjoy that much-needed glass of wine. You got this!