I mean this not in the sense that many lenient parents would have you to believe (I am a structured parent who believes in discipline as children grow) but truthfully, in the beginning, you are not in control of the sleep schedules, the feeding desires or even the medical needs that may arise with a newborn. You have to learn that rolling with the punches is an art form and will differ from baby to baby, so much so that this newest little one we have is teaching me more than I ever thought possible.
#2 You should have tossed all of the parenting books
Every parenting book out there claims to have expert advice on how to deal with common problems that arise the first year. It is all well and good until you have a child who wants to be your unique teacher and not necessarily follow the guidelines set out in your how-to books. This is where real parents are born, when you have to go off on the less traveled path and figure things out on your own, sometimes in uncharted territory. The amazing thing is that you WILL run into another mother at some point who needs the lesson you learned. Good learners teach others.
#3 Sleep can only be optional for a short time
Any mother who has been to the land of sleep deprivation can attest to this one, a new baby will teach you just how far you can go before you fall off the cliff of sleep deprivation. The worst part is you will likely fall off a time or two before you realize this, when you hit the point where it feels like your head is filled with cotton and you are darn near hallucination, sleep is no longer optional.
#4 Having a change of clothes is a necessity
It never fails, just as you are heading out the door to go somewhere and you are dressed for accolades, you will either be spit up on, pooped on, peed on or sometimes the trio of them all.
#5 You don’t need so much stuff
Every baby boutique, Wal-Mart and other big box store would like you to believe that in order to be a good parent you need a completely stocked nursery with the most up to date gadgets. You don’t. I have learned with each of my children that less is more. I laugh when I think back to the first baby and the sheer volume of stuff I lugged around in a diaper bag. Now, with baby #6, I usually toss a few diapers and wipes in my purse for a quick trip and I keep a baby carrier/sling in the car with a spare outfit.
#6 You know your baby best
God gave each mama an intuition. Your baby will teach you things without you even knowing you learned them. You will find yourself intuitively knowing when something seems not right. There are little cues baby educates you with and you know the best way to soothe, comfort and encourage your little one. Rest assured that when the world tells you that you need to listen to the experts, your baby has already taught you that is not always true.
#7 You should laugh at yourself
You will make silly mistakes, every mom does, they make for great stories later. Sometimes if you can’t laugh at yourself you would cry, I think laughing is always better.
#8 You have no idea just how capable you are
From the act of birth and delivery through breastfeeding and on to the ingenuity a new mama possesses, you are amazing. This is an important lesson your baby should teach you because when you look at your stretch marks, your not-so-perky breasts, or the extra pounds you are carrying, you need to keep in mind that you and your body are amazing at this new baby thing.
#9 You are more like other moms than you are different
From your own mom to your friends, there is an understanding between mothers that our babies teach us. Every woman is an expert at baby rearing, that is until they have one of their own. Sometimes you eat a lot of misspoken words but you will understand, and empathize with others as you learn that mamas all do the best they can with what they are given. The understanding can cross all barriers from culture, to language, to social status. Motherhood is rewarding but it is also a struggle, our babies teach us that we are a tribe who all understand that.