Nope there isn’t a handbook for raising children. You can read a 101 books about children and how to…but every single child is hardwired differently. So when you leave the hospital with baby (or babies) in tow, you pretty much have to navigate the world of parenting as you go along.
That being said, I wanted to share some facts with expectant parents who would benefit from knowing prior to bringing their babes into the world. Wish someone had told me – but hey I probably wouldn’t have listened.
FACT #1 – When you have children don’t ever expect to get out of the house on time
It is definitely a challenge to get out of the house with children – whether you are bringing the kiddos out with you or you are leaving them with a babysitter (lucky you). There will always be delays and interruptions with children. They need to pee, they won’t fall asleep, you have to diffuse a tantrum before you can exit in heels, you are running late making their dinner…
You get it right?
So my words of advice: If you want to attempt to be on time just add about 45 minutes at least to your schedule in your attempt to leave the house.
FACT #2 – The best laid plans of Mice & Men
Plans. Well plans are meant to be broken with kids. As per my fact above, sometimes you are running so far behind with your schedule you decide to just “can your plans.” Again, there are so many factors that can “ruin” plans – your kids didn’t sleep and are rowdy, your babe is sick, the kid that you are suppose to have a playdate with is sick, you are just too damn tired from not sleeping. Plans are cancelled, the end.
And you know what? It’s ok.
FACT #3 – Be adaptable, be flexible
You have to be flexible with kids. Please see Fact #1 & #2 above. Kids do not fit into square pegs. If your kid is suddenly hungry and you’re on the road and forgot to pack a snack – it’s okay to do the drive thru. Your babe needs a diaper change and there are no change tables in sight? Get creative. Use the trunk of the car, your lap, or any other flat surface that can safely support them.
Carry a change pad and the world is your change table. There’s always a fix to hunger, tears or a forgotten change of clothes – and those solutions don’t have to be perfect.
FACT #4 – Watch their cues
Be dialed in to your kids’ behaviour. Their actions will pretty much dictate what’s happening with them – and you, by extension. If they rub their eyes, yes they are tired. Put them to bed. Are they doing an awkward fidget or are they touching their parts? Yup, they have to pee. Are they rambunctious and not behaving? Well likely they have to pee or poo, or they are hungry or tired. When they are old enough – you can ask them. And you will usually get an answer. They’re pulling their ears? Their ears hurt. They are arching their backs? Gas. They’re crying? Your guess is as good as mine. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes there is absolutely no understanding it, but the more in tune you are, the faster you can settle them down. Sometimes.
FACT #5 – Keep smiling and laughing
Don’t lose your sense of humour. There are days where I joke (after being up 5 times a night) that I have one foot off the ledge. But you have to laugh, you have to smile. Kids are hard, but they are a blessing, and you need to be able to laugh about your day whether good or bad. As my sweet mom always reminds me, “This too shall pass.”
And some days you’ll want to punch the next person that says “Children are a blessing” to you. But it goes by so fast, and when you’ve finally had a chance to sleep, do your make-up, get the house clean, get dinner made and feel normal again, it will be because your children are old enough that they don’t rely on you for every little thing, and you will look back to the exhaustion, poopie-filled, tantrum-laden crazy days and realize it goes way too fast and that children really are blessings.
FACT #6 – You’re about to become a parent, they’ll love you no matter what
The best fact is, your about to become a parent – one of the best blessings in the world. Enjoy.