I'm not afraid to say it! ....."Advice" for new parents!
Over 6.5 years ago, I was blessed to be able to experience this journey, and then again almost 5 years ago. With it came advice, and lots of it! Lots, and lots, and lots....and lots...of it! So I figured why not give my own ;)
The one thing I've learned about being a parent is that the journey is ever changing. And thus, this is where my own advice stems from.
1.) There are no medals in childbirth! It's true! There are no medals at the end of it, but a new life instead! You birth how you want! Don't let anyone make you feel inferior no matter what choice you make! YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM....no matter what you choose! From hospital to home, no one gets a medal, you get a baby :)
I used to regret my births, wish it to be different, take to heart when people would insinuate that I wasn't educated because I didn't do it a certain way. But you know what? Years later, I could not care less. Looking back, in the grand scheme, it doesn't really make a difference. My son are here, happy, beautiful, and loving! That is all that matters.
2.) Listen to your heart and instinct! We all have different approaches/styles/methods to child rearing. YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM....for choosing what works for you family! And know that that you may fluctuate in approaches, or each child will respond differently to various approaches.
With David, I started hardcore one way [to the point of being so judgemental and thinking I had all the right answers]. Boy does life have a way of showing you a thing or two ;) I didn't really learn that lesson until Aaron came along and he was a whole other ball game. What worked for David, was not and does not work for Aaron. And I'm okay with that now!
3.)You are not alone in how you feel! Parenting is the most rewarding thing in life. However it can be also the most overwhelming things as well. When David was just a wee baby I remember hearing another, more experienced mother say "Some days, I don't like my children." I thought that was the most horrible and unloving statement I had ever heard. Cue....6.5 years later. I totally understand that thought now! I always LOVE my children. Always! There are times though that I don't like them. I sometimes ask how can a 4 or 6 year old frustrate me more than anyone has in my entire life! It's okay to feel this way and a million other ways!
YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM....for you how you feel! Parenting is emotional! Just know that when you find a friend or friends who share your heart...and you share such thoughts, they WILL understand!
4.) Avoid Parenting Forums! My last piece of advice, and one I wish in a way that I had understood from the beginning is just this. The ONLY reason I am thankful for parenting boards is because of a few very close friends that I came to know! I wouldn't trade those friends for the world. I'm not saying all of them are evil. I'm just saying, if you do it, choose wisely and step away if a forum is overly judgmental. Never in my life until parenting forums have I seen such over-reaction towards parenting issues. To list what I've come across would take blog after blog.
Let me just say...YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM...for making different choices than Sally, Mary, or Jane! You are not abusing our children, or setting them up for failure because you made choice B instead of C, or A instead of D. Do what is right for your family! [Oh and even that sentiment can mean trouble in the Parenting Board realms ;)]
If you are a new parent, you are in for an amazing ride. Remember to write down your many thoughts, be they positive or negative. The look back in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc. You'll be amazed at the various paths you go down!
As for this advice, since parenting IS a journey. Ask me again in another 5 years, I may have something different to say! ;)