Note from Naomi: Today's post is a guest post from Victoria, mum to a five year old daughter and two year old son, living at home with her husband. She's been blogging for over four years and if you would like to check more of her writing out, you can find it over at Lylia Rose.
When I was pregnant I got a bit tired of people constantly telling me ‘having children will change your life!’ I did know this, or so I thought. I wasn’t having children for my life to continue on as it had been. I knew my life was going to considerably change. I now wonder if what they really meant was ‘YOU are going to change’.
I had no idea how much I would mature, grow as a person and flourish with confidence once I became a parent. Parenting is an exciting nonstop journey that has enabled me to become a healthier, happier person. I did know my life would change, but I never expected myself to change quite so much.
There are so many practical things to learn about caring for a baby once becoming a parent, but there are also so many things you’ll learn as a person too. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt since becoming a mum:
Not to be so judgemental
Pre-baby I had many idealisations of how I would raise a child. I’ll admit I’d look at other parents and judge them. I was never going to shout at my child, ever. I was never going to put my precious bundle into childcare with strangers, how awful. I would be a stay at home mum, how terrible people preferred to work instead of looking after their own children. I was never going to bribe my children with the promise of treats or snacks, my children would just be well behaved because I brought them up correctly.
Oh how I laugh at my smug pre-baby self!
Roll on five years after having two children and I am guilty of all the things I said I’d never do and used to judge others for doing. I’ve learned you can never truly understand a situation unless you are in a similar situation yourself. Until you have children you really can’t comprehend what it is like, let alone comment on other people’s parenting tactics!
All children (and parents) are unique
Even if you are in a similar situation to others, there is still no room for judgmental opinions as all children, parenting styles and circumstances are unique. No two children are the same and no two upbringings are exactly the same. Just because a particular method worked with your first child, it doesn’t automatically mean it will work with the second!
You can read as many baby books as you like, but that one strategy that worked so well for the author may not ever work on another baby. I tried to stick to impartial guides and even then had to take some of the advice with a pinch of salt. I learned my own parenting style and it differed greatly to how I thought I would parent. As my children grow and develop, bringing new challenges, my parenting style evolves. It’s never a constant.
It’s hard work
Parenting is hard! I was told this when pregnant and I ignored the person telling me. I knew it was going to involve some hard work of some sort, but I never realised how hard it really is and how much harder it gets.
I managed to live my pretty idealised style of parenting for the first two years with my first child, but once she hit the troublesome threes and I had a second child, I realised parenting was going to start becoming a challenge! Now with a five year old who has the temperament of a teenager mixed with my youngest who is currently a terrible two year old prone to tantrums, my ideal parenting tactics have flown out of the window!
It’s the most rewarding job in the world
Even though parenting is hard work, even though it is challenging, even though you suffer terrible mum guilt whatever you do, even though you feel like you are always being judged no matter what decision you make, parenting is still the most rewarding job in the world! Parenting brings so much pleasure and joy, it’s indescribable.