Things I Thought I Knew About Parenting (Before I Actually Had Kids)

Philosophies you had before kids

Once you get pregnant (and even before your kids were a twinkle in your eye), you have a long list of things you are absolutely certain your kids will be like, or won't - and how you will parent them. 

"When I have kids I will never..."

Well... don't be so quick to say what you will or wont do until you get there. It's natural for parenting styles to evolve as your children grow, and even from sibling to sibling. And don't forget, these children of ours bring their own personalities and preferences to the equation as well!

Priorities change with time

It's interesting to go back and think of the parenting "golden rules" you've set before kids and how many of these have survived through a few kids. 

 

When I have kids, we'll still go out and have fun.

Aw, thats cute!

Well, unfortunately the realities of life with kids will likely change that mindset quite a bit. Once your kids arrive and start becoming mobile, even simple tasks like a dinner out become a kid-chasing rodeo. Everything seems to have it's fair share of trials and tribulations, making you a master of timing naps just right and packing survival kits to get you through a meal out in public. 

It seems like forever ago when you said going out with your kids will be fun and uncomplicated. Especially when your kids are swinging from the restaurant chandelier and the table across the way has a family of 7 with kids all eating their vegetables. Not saying this is every time you plan a family outing... but after a few times you'll have "restaurant with kids PTSD."

After having a few toddler tantrums under your belt, you'll have a different appreciation for that distressed mom in the supermarket or restaurant. Next time you see her, give her a coffee and wrap her in the safety blanket of your glance and head nod of solidarity. She's been through a lot (and you know that because you have too). 

I won't depend on technology to entertain my kids.

Of course it isn't ideal, but what would we do without the sweet relief that some technology brings to errands, outings and events? Don't underestimate the power of a perfect TV show or an engaging game on an iPad until you experience the peace and quiet for yourself. 

Even though many modern parents resort to technology when they need a quality distraction, the balance between fun and educational is something we can all aspire to implement. 

Whether you stick to your screen-free ideals or not, you won't get any judgement from us. After all you know best when it comes to your kids.

My baby will sleep in his crib from day one. 

Every baby is different and what comforts them into some restful sleep will vary too. For some babies, independent sleep in their own crib comes naturally. But for many (oh so many)... that's just not a realistic expectation for a long time.

Co-sleeping* or bed-sharing might become a better option for fussy babies, little ones that are difficult to soothe, or mothers who choose to breastfeed on demand throughout the night.

Thankfully there are great products and tips for parents who choose to share a room or their bed with their babies. Safety is a big concern of course, and there are plenty of resources to promote safer co-sleeping and bed-sharing.

Sleep is so important - for babies and parents. Whatever works best for your baby or toddler is what you should pursue. And if you are feeling desperate for some sleep (or you want to avoid sleep deprivation all together!), give us a call to arrange for some overnight baby care from our skilled and compassionate postpartum doulas

I'll never complain about being home with the kids if i'm fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home parent. 

This one is a difficult one to make assumptions about until you're in this position. Child care is a full time job and many parents who don't work outside the house struggle with everything from defining self-worth to finding 5 minutes to use the bathroom in peace! Staying home with the kids is a labor of love that does require a break from time to time. 

And that's totally okay.

It's natural to feel overwhelmed at times, and allowing yourself to take a break is healthy.

You do NOT have to "savor every moment" with your kids to be a great parent. Really. 

You absolutely cannot fill from an empty cup, and being a full-time parent can make prioritizing self-care very difficult (but all that much more important). If you're ever feeling like you need four (or more!) hands instead of two, we're here for you day or night (and whether you have a newborn or older infant).  

Whoever said "never say never" must have been a parent.

It's amazing how things change when you become a parent. Everything you thought you knew is suddenly out the window. Your first baby won't be like your second, and so on, making you a stronger and more experienced parent because of it. 

Everyone's kids are different and no two parenting styles are the same. You'll create a new set of golden rules for your kids and they'll work because you know them best!

It's ok to not have it all figured out - to change your style as you go.

This parenting gig is hard work. No matter how many books you've read and classes you've taken, we're willing to bet your children will be throwing you curve balls you feel unprepared to handle. It's the tie that binds us as parents. If there's one thing we know for sure about parenthood, it's that it is a massive exercise in non-judgement. Every (long but oh so joyful) day.

 

 

* A quick note about "co-sleeping". This term is used in different ways by different people. When we say "co-sleeping", we mean sharing a room with your baby (or child), with your baby on his or her own separate sleep surface. (Like a bassinet or crib). When we say "bed-sharing", we mean parents sharing their bed with their baby or child. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christine Robinson

Doulas of Asheville, LLC, 777 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC, 28803

Doulas of Asheville is western North Carolina's premier doula agency, providing birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and placenta specialists to Asheville families. We are proud to support any and all birthing choices, parenting styles. Our postpartum doulas are available to support families with new babies around the clock, from a few daytime shifts, to overnight newborn care, to 24-hour live-in support.