The best advice you got about parenting? Mine was a couple of things
Consistency, how incredibly important it is. Another one was how it is all gonna be okay, that mistakes will be made but it all shakes out in the end.
My mom told me that looking back on her now adult children, there are plenty of things she would have done differently if she had it all to do over again. You do the best you're able, and trust your intuition. People won't always agree with your choices. Most importantly, above all else, **LOVE** is the most important gift you can give your child. Best advice I've ever received :)
Perfect example of trusting your intuition, based on how my parents said "screw that" to the "Self Esteem Movement" when we were kids:
My mom and dad got a lot of flack for not telling us how awesome we were at everything. Why, all the top child psychologists of the day (late 80s/early 90s) were saying how great it was to boost your kid's self-esteem and tell them how they're special just for being alive! Kids need PRAISE for doing what is expected! My parents agreed more with what George Carlin has to say about the "Self Esteem Movement." (Search "george carlin self esteem" on youtube.... absolutely hilarious!!) Mom and Dad would constructively criticize us (even as little ones) as well as praise things we were truly good at. As a result, I don't share this "entitled" attitude that many of kids from my generation seem to possess. I know what my talents are, and I know what I'm not so good at. Same for my personality foibles- I know where I'm an awesome person, and I know the things I need to work on. There is now plenty of evidence to prove that my parents were right in trusting their intuition-- a healthy combination of pride & humility makes for healthy self-esteem, while thinking you deserve praise for doing what is expected is detrimental to the development of healthy self-esteem.
When my son was 2, he fell asleep in my lap at a bus stop. He was pretty big, and I was struggling to cradle him and keep both my bags hooked over my shoulder. A Jamaican man smiled at us and said, in his cool accent, "Because you give him shelta now, he gone grow to be a strong man."
I got all misty-eyed reading that! So sweet!!
Everything you're going through is just a phase. Just as you're getting used to one routine, one bout of craziness/sleeplessness, it will all change. So when it's a tough phase, know it will pass and you will get relief/change soon, and if it's an easy phase enjoy it and prepare for what's around the corner!
Another piece of advice worth mentioning:
"You can spoil a child in many ways, but you can never spoil a child with love."
That one came from my grandmother, long before the thought of having my own children ever crossed my mind. When she was of childbearing age, many doctors and other "experts" warned parents of coddling their babies too much. As one PP said, 30 years from now, they'll be saying the opposite on a lot of what we're told today.
One of the best after we were fretting about some random thing or another with our first child was "When your first child swallows a coin, you take him to hospital. When the second swallows a coin, you deduct it from their pocket money". Now we've had four, I can see the truth in that, especially when we catch ourselves or see other parents fretting about the little things.
Ouch. I've heard this a lot from parents of multiple children (mine has been an only for nearly 9 years) and it too often sounds to me like, "Yeah, when I just had one, I was a conscientious parent like you, but now I can't be bothered." Makes me feel sorry for their younger kids! I guess it has a lot to do with context, though: I've most often heard this kind of thing not when I'm over-worrying some minor issue but when I'm defending myself for doing something (like limiting junk food, using the car seat correctly, or putting bug repellent on my kid) that the other parent is arguing is unnecessarily fussy because he/she stopped doing it after the first child.
fair point, as it is tough to encapsulate the full list of things that different parents would find ok or not for their kids, especially in a piece of advice that's one sentence long . And as with all advice, everyone needs to draw their own boundaries. But I do know that there were many things we worried about with the first one that were definitely due to over-worry rather than negligence with the following ones! And in reality, that would always be the way. Most people are a lot more careful the first time they do anything simply because it's the first time and we don't know what to expect.