Parenting comes with trial and error, rewards and some tough times. Through it all, I believe there are several lessons we learn as parents along the way. I am going on seven years as a mother and through these years, I have learned plenty of my own valuable lessons but the ones below are the five I want to share that stick out to me. I feel that they are the most important lessons I have learned so far through these years while raising my two children.
Cherish the little moments
This is a big one and one of the most common parenting tips you will hear. I do not mean to be redundant by mentioning this but I believe we hear it often because it is one that hails to be true for all parents.
The big milestones make you happy and proud to see when your child accomplishes them but between those huge achievements are the little things that happen daily that helps your child reach those big ones. I have learned how important it is to not take those small moments for granted.
Those little moments you share that everyone may not see are the ones I want to cherish as much as possible like laughing together in bed, snugging on the couch and the quality time we spend talking during car rides home after school.
Expect the unexpected
I remember buying the popular book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” when I was pregnant with my first child. I think about that book every now and then and how I would flip through its pages for every month when I was pregnant to see if I was on track or to see what to expect next during my pregnancy.
I am learning that with kids, one thing to be certain of is to expect the unexpected. I certainly did not expect my son to take his first emergency trip to the hospital before he was two to have a cast placed on his arm for a sprain nor did I expect him to visit again when he stuck black eyed peas in his nose. I now know to expect accidents and trips to the hospital.
Expecting the unexpected is not all bad, however. Many times, there are positive things that catch me off guard such as when my child says something funny or when one of them does something sweet like helping one another put on shoes or play a game.
Stop comparing yourself to other parents and do not compare your children to other kids
We have more access now to see how others parent their children so we sometimes feel guilty when we do something wrong or feel that we are not being as good a parent as someone else.
Some of the parenting methods that worked well for my first child do not always work as well for my second. Everyone’s circumstances are different and every child is different. After having two kids, I now know for sure that this saying rings true. I try hard not to compare my parenting with other parents and to avoid comparing my own children with one another.
Sometimes, kids teach us and the student becomes the teacher
We think we know more than our kids but there are times when our kids will have a much more clear insight on things. Listening to our kids and hearing what they have to say is a great way to communicate and may open your eyes to something that you may have missed. Find time to sit and talk for a few minutes a day or set dates with your kids once a week.
During our car rides, my son talks to me about what is on his mind and I am often intrigued about his view points on different topics. I learned that listening to your kids and showing them that what they are saying is actually being heard helps them feel safe and assures them that they can trust you with their feelings.
Plan for the future
The future is closer than you may think and your child will grow faster than you would like. One sure way to feel overwhelmed that it all came too fast is by making the mistake of thinking it is still thousands of miles away. It will most likely still come too fast even if you do thoroughly plan for the future but at least you are more prepared for its arrival.
Plan as much as possible whether that means planning on what preschool she will attend, who her doctor will be, planning for college, saving money for extracurricular activities, traveling and more.
Live in the moment with your child but be proactive through proper planning so that you can help her grow to be her best.
There are more lessons to learn
I know I have much more to learn on my parenting journey and that my kids and I will grow and learn together. I am interested to see what other parenting lessons come my way and am excited on the adventures my kids and I will experience together.
What parenting lessons have been the most important to you?
By Bernadyn Nettles for The Healthy Moms Blog Magazine
Bernadyn Nettles writes on her own blog, B is 4 and is a regular contributor to Ella and Annie Magazine and Jacksonville Moms Blog. Her work has been featured on various other sites and you can also find her work on Hubpages. When she is not busy writing or maintaining her blog site, you can find her baking, working on crafts, reading and spending too much time on social media. She loves exploring her hometown of Jacksonville while running after her two children. She is married and is enjoying her adventures as a wife and mother. Stop by and say hi to her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.