· It is a bit cliché, but true. Time flies. I know so many people who are either pregnant, or have very small children that are so overjoyed at the new life that has been brought into their world. With this new life comes a lack a of sleep, mysterious spit up stains on your own clothes, stress over what germs may be on the pacifier that just fell on the ground, stress over what germs your baby may pick up from the stranger who wants to hold your precious baby in the mall, worry over which formula will provide the best nutrients for your baby’s growing body, worry, stress, worry, sleeplessness, worry, stress, but inevitably…JOY. Let me tell you, by the time that precious baby turns 13, all those moments you spent sanitizing a dirty, germy pacifier, choosing the right formula, catching extra sleep, or worrying over what germ your baby may have picked up in the mall won’t matter anymore, because you will then be too busy trying to remember where the last 13 years went. Be grateful for the time you have and cherish it.
· Realize that you and your spouse are going to differ in your parenting styles. Period. You should have a basic groundwork for how you are going to raise your children, but there are going to be times that you disagree. Spending the next 18 years of your children’s lives in disagreement over how to raise your children will not benefit anyone. I believe that there is an order to be followed in the household. God, father, mother, children. When this order is disrupted, there are problems. However, basing your family’s foundation on the verse, “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15) you are laying the groundwork for a peaceful partnership in parenting.
· Raising children is stressful, and expensive. No doubt about that. But, it is also fun. One of my biggest regrets of the past 13 years is not laughing enough. While you should definitely take parenting seriously, you should allow yourself to laugh and not take yourself so seriously. You will make mistakes along the way. We are imperfect people, we made imperfect kids, the combination is bound to lead to some funny (and some not so funny) events along the way. So, allow yourself to laugh. Plus, as my husband likes to say, laugh lines are prettier than frown lines!
· I heard not too long ago someone say something like, “you shouldn’t take credit for all of your child’s successes, and you shouldn’t take credit for all of your child’s failures”. This is one of the hardest lessons for me. I have no problem with the not taking credit for his successes. However, the failures I take on almost completely. This goes back to wanting to protect my child to a fault. We, as parents, have to allow our child to fail, and succeed, on their own, and allow them to take credit for both. It makes them stronger, higher functioning adults.