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post #21 of 56

Before I was pg with my ds, I wish that I knew more about natural pregnancy/childbirth.  I was much more informed with the recent pregnancy/birth of my dd and it was such a wonderful empowering experience taking my prenatal care into my own hands and being informed about what testing I did etc.  And the same goes for her birth.  It was a wonderful, not intervention free, hospital birth.  But wow, what a difference being informed made in how I handled labor and how I feel about it now.

post #22 of 56

My guys are 4 and 6 now.  Things to know before baby -  Babies are born with their personality.  This was obvious to me when ds1 was born, and I mostly went with the flow pretty well, but I spent a little too much time trying to make him nap in a crib (never worked, he always woke up), trying to get him to take a nap when he resisted it (he just didn't need quite as much sleep as other babies!), or just fretting about it.  Second baby was an "easier" baby.  That's just how some are. Give each what they need.

 

Something I discovered and was surprised about - tiny babies, even newborns, are really really cute and snuggly!

 

One thing I wish I knew from the start -  infants (like, the first few months) do need to nurse a lot, but sometimes they keep crying because they need you to stop trying to nurse them to sleep and try OTHER things!  Like burping (somehow I thought burping a baby was a quaint thing that people did with old-fashioned babies. No, they really need to be burped after every feeding for best results!).   Or bouncing.   Or even putting down.

 

My sister told me something like this, and it helped me to remember it sometimes - The first six days are hell, the first six weeks are terrible, and the first six months are very hard.  Then it gets easier.  I would add that a baby is really a baby until they are about 2 years old, they should get their needs met. ( I kept thinking he's so old now, he can do ____ (sleep on his own, let me eat in peace, be more patient, etc. etc..  But he was really a baby! ) 

 

And expect things to be much much easier when they turn 3.  At 2yo you can start to try to reason with them, but don't expect much.  At 3yo things will finally get much much easier.

post #23 of 56

1. Completed school to the point of establishing a career. (Obviously I didn't have a clue to what I really wanted to do and assumed a my BA would get me a reasonable well paid job.....HA!) But going back for my Masters this coming year is daunting with two little ones.

2. Really breaking down the finances ahead of time (like years) to determine how I would SAHM for a few years. With both my boys I went and will be going back to work when they were and will be 1.5 yrs, and that is after barely making ends meet to SAHM for that long. Lots of stress on dh and I and our relatioship.

 

A lot about becoming a parent has maybe taken me by surprise. But even now knowing how hard it is, it would be difficult to prepare yourself ahead of time....

 

For us the financial stress has been a lot of stress for our family and our relationship. It limits the time we can take for ourselves and eachother (exercise, dates, no $ for babysitters, etc). So if I could have seen the future I would have tried to plan better for this.

 

post #24 of 56

*


Edited by elsa_elsa - 6/5/11 at 6:25pm
post #25 of 56

I also wish I had used my early twenties to build up a savings and develop a career. I am now developing a career while working from home with no childcare (stressful! - but a very lucky opportunity that I just can't pass up) and we have no savings and lots of student debt.  If I'd been a little more self-disciplined, I wouldn't have as much debt.  Money in the bank can mean more time with your kid. 

 

I also wish I had gotten in even better shape.  I was in the best shape of my life - lots of biking, walking, yoga, etc - when I got pregnant, but I was too skinny.  I wish I'd been eating more fat and meat and doing some strength training at the very least.  It would have made pregnancy a lot easier.  And I wish I would have known that my body doesn't digest wheat so good, so I could have stopped eating it before/while pregnant.

 

As for the rest, I'm hoping to hear some parents of teens and adults chime in.

post #26 of 56

Well, I wish we'd been in a better financial status.

 

However, each part of my parenting lessons have been steps along the journey.  If I had somehow known some of the things, maybe I would be in a different place today.  I've appreciated each of my lessons, and have watched my parenting adapt with each newfound piece of knowledge!

post #27 of 56

There are so many, many responses on this thread that I was nodding to:   I really wish I would have gone to graduate school _before_ kids, honestly, and getting in good financial shape is a brilliant, perfect thing to do.

 

However, my gut reaction/first answer is this:  I would have gotten into great physical shape before pregnancy....found support during pregnancy to stay fit....and had a huge support network/ability to maintain health and fitness after my baby was born.  As it is, I am battling this battle years later and it is so much harder than I remember it being before I had kids.

post #28 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

I wish I could have a re-do on my first son's first year. :(

 

I wish I had known these things:

That it is normal and healthy for a baby to want to be held, cuddled, and fed all the time. 

I wish I'd realized how fast the time would go, and not stressed about him sleeping through the night or spacing out his feedings.

I wish I'd taken the time to enjoy each stage (both the good and the bad) instead of constantly wishing he'd get bigger so I could do more, rest more, have more time between nursing, etc. 



I couldn't agree more.  Now that I have 3 children, I wish I could go back and parent my first like I parent my third.  I think we created all kinds of stress that just didn't need to be.  I was a bit selfish, unrealistic, unprepared to have a high needs baby.  He is 7 now and I can definitely see that this has had a negative effect on him. Just roll with it, it's such a short period of time.  Allow yourself real breaks rather than "power" through everything making yourself crazy, angry, resentful in the process.

post #29 of 56

 

I started writing and got on a roll here.  :)

 

When people say that they made no changes in their life when they had a child but instead somehow convinced the child to conform to their life, they are lying. If they are, indeed, telling the truth then they have an unhappy child.

 

Having a child is wonderful but it is work. It's rewarding and fun but it's also a challenge.. It's not a breeze. You will love your child more than you thought possible. At the same time this child could very will drive you nuts. This is normal and you should expect this.

 

Do not impose your expectations on your child. You have to love the child you have not the child you wished for in your dreams. You may get exactly what you wanted but you may not and there is absolutely no way to predict the outcome. You may have hoped for an outgoing athletic child and you may get a shy artist. Don't think in terms of disappointment, think about the joy of nurturing a child's natural proclivities and gifts.

 

Your child will have her/his own personality and you will get to know that personality surprisingly quickly. That personality will have little to do with your own personality. I work with two women who each have twins and they are astonished at the profound differences between the twins. Those personality differences emerge and you just have to go with it and form a relationship with your child even if s/he is really different from you.

 

Other people have already told you about the profound effect having a child has on your life. One specific difference that you cannot appreciate AT ALL until you have a baby is the Power of the Nap. The Nap will rule your life. You will bow down and worship The Nap. You will conform your life to The Nap schedule. You will make appointments and skip social events because of The Nap. You will discover that you never, ever want to miss The Nap because the consequences are too severe. As you enter toddlerhood you will face the double-edged sword of The Nap: on the one hand it runs your life, on the other hand you will do whatever you can to lengthen and maintain it. In the end, you will mourn it's loss when the time comes to say goodbye to The Nap.

 

Children are born knowing nothing. That seems self-evident but I didn't really understand the ramifications until my DD poured oil out of a bottle all over the floor. From her point of view that was a LOT of fun. Children learn about their world through experience and they want to touch and explore everything. It's actually a lot of fun to join them in their journey but you have to realize they have no idea that things may have value – be it sentimental or monetary – and they have no reason to not touch it, explore it and possibly take it apart to see how it works.

 

So you must be prepared to childproof your house. I know there are some people who say they didn't have to do that but they are a minority – a teensy, weensy minority. Think ahead about how you will keep all your pretty things out of the way of your child because your child will have no appreciation for them but may think it sounds really cool when they break. Children will pull vases off of tables to hear them crash and rip pages out of books because it's fun to rip paper. You need to either put stuff up high out of the way or store them somewhere for a few years.

 

Children are destructive. I didn't really understand that before DD. Apparently the human species has evolved in such a way that in the Construction – Destruction Continuum, we plow through destruction first before we start exploring construction. Kids begin to experiment with their power and explore what they can do. Since they have no experience, they have no concept of consequences and they are up and excited and ready to get out there. As a result, kids pull things down and throw them around. If it can be stepped on, they will step on it. They jump on things, stamp on things, pull things out of boxes and cupboards, rip things up, pour things out ALL OVER the place and scribble on things.

 

Note: they also like to scribble on themselves. Keep track of your sharpies.

 

So think about that NOW. You need to understand that your living space will be...ahem... challenged and you need to protect and fortify your space because it will be dinged, scratched and gouged. There is a reason that some homes have a certain “fortress” vibe to them – especially if there is more than one little one

 

Children watch you closely and see how you use some pretty interesting things and they want to try them out as well. Two of the most interesting things are scissors and matches. Keep track of them. My DD cut up a bean bag chair – which is when I found out that those chairs are actually full of styrofoam beads and those beads go EVERYWHERE. We found beads for months after that. Lots of kids cut their own hair, cut the furniture, cut paper. Be prepared.

 

For some reason, lots of toddlers don't like to brush their teeth. I don't know why but it seems to be true. You will have to decide how to approach that and that can range from not brushing at all to pinning them down on the floor and just doing it. Same goes with hair washing. My DD HATED to have her hair washed and I became an expert at the 60 second hairwash which happened about once a month.

 

Children have their own sleep patterns and food patterns and there's no predicting what they may be. You may have a child who sleeps well and likes different food OR you may have a child who needs lots of help learning how to sleep and doesn't like a lot of foods. You just don't know so be prepared to go with the flow.

 

You will not have a nice, orderly, clean house. If you don't now then you won't mind but know that it will get worse. If you want a neat house then you will have to either lower your standards, hire someone to clean, or get used to being chronically unhappy. Small children and clean houses are like oil and vinegar – you can make them mix but you have to shake vigorously to make it happen. Do you want to put that much energy into neatness when there's so much else to do?

 

You will discover that there are several parenting issues that people feel passionately about and the intensity may surprise you. To name just a few: cloth diapering, cosleeping, pacifiers, child leashes, preschool. My DD is only five so I'm sure there are more to come. :)

post #30 of 56
Travel the world. earth.gif
Enjoy every minute of your pregnancy. Journal about it.
Enjoy every minute of your baby. Journal about it. Hold her/him all the time.
Enjoy every minute of their toddlerhood. Journal about it.
Sleep when the baby sleeps.

It is all so precious. heartbeat.gif
Edited by *bejeweled* - 12/5/10 at 7:45pm
post #31 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by stardogs View Post

So DH and I are starting to more seriously consider when we want to start to grow our family with a human child and that's triggered some new curiosity on my part.  :)  For someone who is planning to have a baby in about 4 years (yea long range goal right now), what words of wisdom do you have?  Specifically, what do you wish you had known or done *before* becoming a parent?  What do you wish you had known or done *after* you became a parent?

 

I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone shares!


ps---You rock for asking this question now. How awesome.
post #32 of 56

Ha, I do not regret one single moment of watching TV or going out drinking all night in bars that happened before kids!  Now that I never get to do that stuff it seems like time well spent ;-)  I am also not sorry for all the money I wasted, because now I never get to waste any!

 

I wish we had run a tighter ship around home so that I didn't have the learning curve of home management and a baby/toddler at the same time.  I wish I had done something way sooner about the unequal distribution of responsibilities between me and DH.

post #33 of 56
sorry. double post.
post #34 of 56
[quote name="*bejeweled*" url="/community/forum/thread/1281702 Ha, I do not regret one single moment of watching TV or going out drinking all night in bars that happened before kids

yeahthat.gif Party up now! I partied for 20 years and traveled the world before DD was born. I do not regret one minute of any of it. Now I'm totally content to be at home.
post #35 of 56

 

Quote:
 

Things I wasted my time doing:

1) Going to bars, drinking, partying.

2) Watching tv, movies, passive entertainment.

3) Working dead-end jobs.

4) Spending money on frivolous/expendable things rather than saving.

 

Hm. I do not regret any of those choices. Well, the dead end job part was a bummer. The others? Totally fun.

post #36 of 56

Yes to all of this! And especially about the nap. The nap rules. Long live the nap.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post

 

I started writing and got on a roll here.  :)

 

When people say that they made no changes in their life when they had a child but instead somehow convinced the child to conform to their life, they are lying. If they are, indeed, telling the truth then they have an unhappy child.

 

Having a child is wonderful but it is work. It's rewarding and fun but it's also a challenge.. It's not a breeze. You will love your child more than you thought possible. At the same time this child could very will drive you nuts. This is normal and you should expect this.

 

Do not impose your expectations on your child. You have to love the child you have not the child you wished for in your dreams. You may get exactly what you wanted but you may not and there is absolutely no way to predict the outcome. You may have hoped for an outgoing athletic child and you may get a shy artist. Don't think in terms of disappointment, think about the joy of nurturing a child's natural proclivities and gifts.

 

Your child will have her/his own personality and you will get to know that personality surprisingly quickly. That personality will have little to do with your own personality. I work with two women who each have twins and they are astonished at the profound differences between the twins. Those personality differences emerge and you just have to go with it and form a relationship with your child even if s/he is really different from you.

 

Other people have already told you about the profound effect having a child has on your life. One specific difference that you cannot appreciate AT ALL until you have a baby is the Power of the Nap. The Nap will rule your life. You will bow down and worship The Nap. You will conform your life to The Nap schedule. You will make appointments and skip social events because of The Nap. You will discover that you never, ever want to miss The Nap because the consequences are too severe. As you enter toddlerhood you will face the double-edged sword of The Nap: on the one hand it runs your life, on the other hand you will do whatever you can to lengthen and maintain it. In the end, you will mourn it's loss when the time comes to say goodbye to The Nap.

 

Children are born knowing nothing. That seems self-evident but I didn't really understand the ramifications until my DD poured oil out of a bottle all over the floor. From her point of view that was a LOT of fun. Children learn about their world through experience and they want to touch and explore everything. It's actually a lot of fun to join them in their journey but you have to realize they have no idea that things may have value – be it sentimental or monetary – and they have no reason to not touch it, explore it and possibly take it apart to see how it works.

 

So you must be prepared to childproof your house. I know there are some people who say they didn't have to do that but they are a minority – a teensy, weensy minority. Think ahead about how you will keep all your pretty things out of the way of your child because your child will have no appreciation for them but may think it sounds really cool when they break. Children will pull vases off of tables to hear them crash and rip pages out of books because it's fun to rip paper. You need to either put stuff up high out of the way or store them somewhere for a few years.

 

Children are destructive. I didn't really understand that before DD. Apparently the human species has evolved in such a way that in the Construction – Destruction Continuum, we plow through destruction first before we start exploring construction. Kids begin to experiment with their power and explore what they can do. Since they have no experience, they have no concept of consequences and they are up and excited and ready to get out there. As a result, kids pull things down and throw them around. If it can be stepped on, they will step on it. They jump on things, stamp on things, pull things out of boxes and cupboards, rip things up, pour things out ALL OVER the place and scribble on things.

 

Note: they also like to scribble on themselves. Keep track of your sharpies.

 

So think about that NOW. You need to understand that your living space will be...ahem... challenged and you need to protect and fortify your space because it will be dinged, scratched and gouged. There is a reason that some homes have a certain “fortress” vibe to them – especially if there is more than one little one

 

Children watch you closely and see how you use some pretty interesting things and they want to try them out as well. Two of the most interesting things are scissors and matches. Keep track of them. My DD cut up a bean bag chair – which is when I found out that those chairs are actually full of styrofoam beads and those beads go EVERYWHERE. We found beads for months after that. Lots of kids cut their own hair, cut the furniture, cut paper. Be prepared.

 

For some reason, lots of toddlers don't like to brush their teeth. I don't know why but it seems to be true. You will have to decide how to approach that and that can range from not brushing at all to pinning them down on the floor and just doing it. Same goes with hair washing. My DD HATED to have her hair washed and I became an expert at the 60 second hairwash which happened about once a month.

 

Children have their own sleep patterns and food patterns and there's no predicting what they may be. You may have a child who sleeps well and likes different food OR you may have a child who needs lots of help learning how to sleep and doesn't like a lot of foods. You just don't know so be prepared to go with the flow.

 

You will not have a nice, orderly, clean house. If you don't now then you won't mind but know that it will get worse. If you want a neat house then you will have to either lower your standards, hire someone to clean, or get used to being chronically unhappy. Small children and clean houses are like oil and vinegar – you can make them mix but you have to shake vigorously to make it happen. Do you want to put that much energy into neatness when there's so much else to do?

 

You will discover that there are several parenting issues that people feel passionately about and the intensity may surprise you. To name just a few: cloth diapering, cosleeping, pacifiers, child leashes, preschool. My DD is only five so I'm sure there are more to come. :)

post #37 of 56

I wish I had worked harder at developing my own character before kids - patience, self-discipline...  Kids definitely give a lot of practice, but the stronger those traits are before being pushed to the limit, the better.

 

I wish we'd have gotten all our home renos finished before kids.

 

I wish I'd have gone farther in my career/education as well.  But then again, if I had, I don't know if I would have had my kids so maybe I don't...

 

I wish I'd realized how bored my dogs would be with babies - babies take so much time that the "furry kids" get the short end of the stick more often than they should.  I don't know what I would change about it, but I feel sorry that I don't have more of myself to share with the dogs at this stage (although as the kids are getting past the baby stage this is getting better again... but for someone with a limited lifespan it's a big chunk of their life).

 

I was in pretty good shape before DD1, but not DS (second kid).  It makes SUCH a difference for how well the whole thing goes.  I would have worked harder to be in better shape if I'd realized how important it was.

 

I wish I'd known how hard it would be to uproot our family - I've always assumed we'd move back to where I was from.  Now that we COULD, with kids and life it's hard to do.  I still want to, but I don't know if it will bring more joy than pain now.  Before kids it would have been WAY easier.

 

Tjej

 

 

 

post #38 of 56

I wish I had really understood that (most) newborns want to be held All. The. Time.  and been a little more prepared to do that.  I feel like I spent half of dc's infancy trying to put him down for a nap so I could sneak off and do something (dishes, computer time, laundry, etc.)  If I could do it over again I would practice with slings more during pregnancy and be prepared to really wear the baby 24/7 except showers, including while he was napping, and just done household chores with the baby on me.  I think it's especially important to understand that this isn't just for your baby's best interest, but yours!  It stressed me out terribly to be separated from my infant but I kept trying to make that space.  Everyone would have been happier if I had chucked the crib, slapped on a Moby (WAY the best carrier) and pretended like my baby was still a part of my body until he started wiggling to get down and explore.

post #39 of 56

I didn't understand how my sense of time would change. Before kids I could have a nice big chunk of a couple of hours to do a project like sewing, or crafting, or working in the garden, etc. After kids, all my time was chopped up into 15 minute segments at the longest. Now, granted, I had a pretty high needs dd1, but I think that's not completely atypical of any baby. They need Mama (or Daddy) ALL THE TIME. My first napped in my arms and co-slept in my bed. It took months or years before I could sneak off while she was sleeping. She had Mommy Radar and even though she would be in a sound sleep and I would sneak away soundlessly, within 2 minutes of leaving the room she'd be crying for me. This was all day 24-7. There is no time you're not "on" when you're a parent.

 

So, my advice to you is treasure your uninterrupted time! Do whatever you want be it frittering it away watching TV or traveling the world, but be mindful of the true luxury of this time that is all yours. Use it how you see fit, but be aware that it's a precious commodity that's likely to be very very scarce for several years. If you have more than one child, depending on ages and circumstances it could be decades before you have a chunk of time like this again.

 

ETA: It was years before I could go to the bathroom alone if I was the only adult in the house. If Daddy was home I did occasionally get to pee by myself!


Edited by beanma - 12/7/10 at 8:23am
post #40 of 56

I agree with all of the above. But I also have one advice. Don't start too late trying for kids. I started at about 30 and we had infertility issues. We had a good marriage (>10 years together at that time), both a PhD and both a good job, no debts. For a while I really worried that we started too late and we would not have kids together and then all the other things we had started to seem worthless. It took 3 years to conceive our first. Right now we have 3, so everything worked out for us. But the 3rd we had when I was 39.

 

Carma

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