The 10 Best Pieces of Advice I Got When I Had a Baby

Parenting is a funny and unique thing. You think you will be great at it until you are actually doing it.

This doesn’t happen with other skills. I never looked at a professional skier and thought, “Why would he do that? I would do it totally differently.” I never saw a surgeon make the first cut and said, “Hmmm. I would’ve gone in the other direction.” Usually, before we experience something, we are very aware that we do not know what we are talking about. But … parenting … totally different story. Everyone is a perfect parent until they have their own kids. I have found that, not surprisingly, the best advice comes from people who have actually done it, not people who can imagine what it must be like.

Here are the 10 most useful, reassuring things I was told when I was pregnant or had a newborn. They all came not only from parents, but from parents who were parenting in my generation.

— Night is just a dark day.

— This too shall pass.

— Accept help.

— Just because you would jump in front of a train for them, doesn’t mean you have to like them.

— Nothing is permanent — not the good, so don’t get too comfortable, and not the bad, so don’t give up just yet.

— Nap.

— Kids don’t start laying down memory until at least three years old, so anything you screw up before then won’t come back to haunt you.

— Respect your kids as actual people and not as extensions of you. You are not an asexual lizard (yes that’s a thing.) You give birth to a human being, not a clone. Just as important, demand respect from your kids the moment they are capable of giving it to you. The more respect there is in your home, I guarantee the happier everyone will be.

— Laugh. Often and loudly. You are in a circus. It is ok to act like it.

— The love you have for them is perfect, and that is where the perfection ends. Don’t strive for it. You will miss so many wonderfully imperfect moments.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.

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