Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

April 21, 2013

New parents should not expect to know it all

Ah, the memories. I was becoming a mother for the first time. So swollen with excitement, pride, a little fear and, probably, the effects of a few too many “I’m allowed — I’m pregnant” cinnamon rolls.

Seriously, I couldn’t wait to see my baby. I had everything ready. Oh, and I had everything figured out, too. I knew how the birth would go, what my son would look like and how he would act and — most importantly — how perfectly perfect my husband and I would be as parents.

Ha. Ha.

When the birth was a 180 from what I expected, I should have gotten the clue. Alas, I bumbled on another couple of years — until about the time I became pregnant with my second baby — sure I knew how everything at least SHOULD be going and trying really hard to make it so.

Oh gracious. I did not have everything figured out. I had a lot of great theories, for sure, but that’s about it. One can PLAN to parent, but one doesn’t really parent until one PARENTS. When we talk about parenting issues in my childbirth classes, I tell people that parenting is at least half “winging it.”

(The other half, I’m sure, is developing tolerance for bodily fluids, but I often neglect to mention that to giddy young couples who will fawn over the first few poopy diapers.)

As a first-time parent, it is OK to not have it all figured out. In fact, I’d say it’s necessary to realize you DON’T know it all.

I have thought recently about what advice I would give — now, nine years and three more children later — to the me who thought she did know it all. New parents will take some of it, leave the rest, make their own mistakes and author their own advice for the old THEM one day.

Here it is in categories:

Wish I would have purchased: Easy, easy answer — a king-sized bed. Wish we’d bought one, though it likely would be touching three walls in our present, er, “cozy” bedroom. Even if you are not a mindful “co-sleeping” family, who can deny a snuggle with your littles is a pleasure on a rainy day? And if you ARE a mindful co-sleeping family, then the king-sized bed is just logic. You need more space. The smallest people in the house, by the way, take up the most room in bed.

Wish I would have done more of: Playing, just playing. My husband is good at this, and the “let’s-get-something-DONE” in me often hates it. “Play?! Who has time to play? We have things to DO.” Sigh. I guarantee you that is true: There are things to do. I guarantee you, too, your children will not remember the things that got done. They will remember, though, that you played “freeze tag” with them or giggled over a game of cards. Absolutely improv, I tried this one night last month. Just started dancing around the kitchen then spent the evening playing. Amazing how much fun everyone had and how great I felt, too.

Wish I would have done less of: Worrying. If you start thinking about all the awful things that COULD happen to your children, you are likely to end up with big brain troubles. It’s maddening. Worry, a wise man once told me, is just a delusion of control anyway. Sure, we can make smart decisions about safety and health, but we do not, ultimately, have control over what happens to our children.

My worry probably had me saying “No” more than I needed to. That’s at least true with the first one. By the fourth child, you’re fine with them having a picnic on the roof if they want to.

What I didn’t need: Most baby and toddler gear — swing, crib, walker, toddler potty, whatever. Honestly, I didn’t have much of that stuff anyway — one of my theories that proved right — and I did not miss it. I have to say I chuckle at special “swaddle” blankets or sippy cups or the “Pee Pee TeePee” — have you seen those? We just never needed any of it and found our regular, ’round-the-house stuff was more than sufficient.

What I did need: People with whom to fellowship. I cringe when I see new mothers, particularly, isolated at home with small ones. Parenting thrusts you into this new, strange world, and it’s a world that can be really scary if you’re navigating it alone. I needed people to encourage me, to correct me, to help share the load, and I had them. I do not buy the “village” raising my children idea, but it is true we need each other.

It is best, though, if the people you’re around can help you develop and trust your own parenting instincts. Sure, it’s necessary to seek and accept advice, but it’s more important to develop confidence in that innate ability to know what your children need. Guess you’d call people who can help you do that parenting doulas?

So super-duper-obvious cliché, I know, but your children will be grown before you know it. Last piece of advice: Do not waste one day.

Goshen News columnist Stephanie Price is a wife, mother, teacher, childbirth educator, doula, midwife’s assistant and student nurse pursuing a minor in complementary health from Elkhart. Contact her at wholefamily@goshennews.com, 269-641-7249 or on Facebook at the page “Whole Family Column by Steph Price.”

 

1
Text Only
Life
  • Schrock_Rhonda_cutout RHONDA SCHROCK: Eight is enough ... times two, plus three and counting That is one big number. In this case, it is, though it's not so large when one is discussing, say, cups of coffee consumed in a week or the number of socks lost in a month. Then it seems perfectly reasonable. But when the topic is children, 19 is a v

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • cutout Kingsley, Aaron Sawatsky Many people looking out for Goshen’s trees Here is what my Wednesday consisted of, at least until noon. The first thing I needed to do that morning was put up the Maple City Arbor Day Celebration banner at the entrance to the Rieth Interpretive Center. I've had the banner riding around with m

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • wade hammond ask a vet mug ASK A VET: DEAR DR. WELDY'S: What is a bowed tendon? What should I look for if I suspect my horse has one? DEAR READER: A bowed tendon refers to a flexor tendon that has been injured, usually by over stretching or straining the tendon beyond its elastic limits.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • PLAIN SIDE: A hearty parlor tussle with Pictionary Pictionary. You play it? I've always enjoyed the game -- my lack of artistic skills notwithstanding. Calvin and his family take it to another level though. If we play with them, we holler, we shiver, we jump, we scream, we cheer and we groan. Calvin'

    April 19, 2014

  • Finding the best in the ‘worst’

    Each year a "Worst Jobs" list comes out. Goshen News night editor Daniel Riordan takes issues with newpaper reporter's place on that list.

    April 18, 2014

  • Miles and miles of memories

    (Photo by Ashley Householder) Sam and his first car, Xenia, a 2005 Scion xB.

    Saying good bye to a car isn't easy for a gearhead.

    April 18, 2014

  • David Suchet as Hercule Poirot.jpg Easter crime mysteries? Some Easter traditions go beyond chocolate bunnies Visions of chocolate candies, Easter bunnies and the risen Christ come to mind this Easter season -- at least in the United States. But what about the rest of the world? Here are a few traditions and surprises.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • At the game with Ernie

    Baseball on radio brings the imagination alive

    April 13, 2014

  • There are many ways to measure success It yields a virtual sea of books, talks and podcasts; classes, seminars and sermons; pointers, tips and 10-step lists; and gaggles of guides that promise the seven secrets to it. The "it," of course, is success. A dictionary definition? Easy: the ach

    April 13, 2014

  • FEA GN140413 dick lehman 08 Passion for pottery

    Passion for pottery BY SAM HOUSEHOLDER sam.householder@goshennews.com

    Dick Lehman has spent his 33-year career as a potter learning how to see.

    Lehman has built a successful career despite no formal, traditional pottery training.

    April 13, 2014 6 Photos

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Poll

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results