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#31 of 56 Old 12-05-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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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.

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#32 of 56 Old 12-06-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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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.

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#33 of 56 Old 12-06-2010, 01:11 PM
 
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sorry. double post.

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#34 of 56 Old 12-06-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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[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.


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#35 of 56 Old 12-06-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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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.

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#36 of 56 Old 12-06-2010, 06:55 PM
 
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Yes to all of this! And especially about the nap. The nap rules. Long live the nap.
 

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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. :)




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#37 of 56 Old 12-06-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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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

 

 

 

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#38 of 56 Old 12-07-2010, 05:49 AM
 
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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.

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#39 of 56 Old 12-07-2010, 07:32 AM
 
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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!

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#40 of 56 Old 12-07-2010, 08:00 AM
 
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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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#41 of 56 Old 12-07-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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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


Oh my, this is wonderful advice. I lived in Washington, DC and know so many young couples with well established careers, who own their homes, etc., who are struggling with infertility.

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#42 of 56 Old 12-07-2010, 03:45 PM
 
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I honestly can't think of anything other than maybe losing a bit more weight before I got pregnant.  I weigh more now that I did when I got pregnant, so I think that weight looks pretty good from here.  lol

 

I used to wish that DH and I had traveled more before we had dd, but I honestly look forward to traveling with her more than I ever did before.


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#43 of 56 Old 12-07-2010, 04:04 PM
 
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Terrible two's are NOTHING compared to the THREE's they will push you to your limit.....several times a day.

 

Parenting is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. You will be so tired you can believe someone can be that tired and still standing.

 

If bedtime goes well, don't stay up late. One of your kids will get up in the night with a fever, vomitting etc. You definitely will not get a chance to catch up on sleep or laundry. SO.....never believe you will have an early bedtime and be able to stay up. MURPHY'S LAW...happened to me last night.

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#44 of 56 Old 01-12-2012, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bumping - DH and I have set an actual "start trying to TTC" month: December 2014(!) So any new people want to weigh in on the original question?
 

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For someone who is planning to have a baby in about [3] years ... 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?

 

Since posting the original post over a year ago, I've become more active, built my own business that can easily accomodate SAHM duties for a year or more, worked with DH to pay down his remaining student loans, DH is looking into the requirements for getting the MBA he's been thinking about, and we've made some major headway on some projects around the house. :) I think my big goal for this year is continuing my path to better physical shape and starting to work on some of the habits I've been meaning to address (my temper, procrastination, etc.).

 

As much as I look forward to 2015, I am also very glad that I can have this time to plan and work!


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#45 of 56 Old 01-13-2012, 06:02 AM
 
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Everything AP and Gentle discipline in general!! That I did NOT have to have a hospital birth. My son's birth anomaly was NOT as serious as doctors made it out to be, and that surgery at 6mo was NOT the best thing for babe!!!!!!!!! Also, wish me and dh had looked into both therapy for issues we brought with us because of how we were raised, and also parenting classes.


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#46 of 56 Old 01-13-2012, 07:14 PM
 
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I don't really wish I had known too much more- other than about birth .

But I do know, now that I am a parent- that I am really glad I had all those me years before having my son.I travelled a lot, had a lot of alone time.

Because I was surprised a little by how much more having a kid changed my life than I thought it would. when you have a kid it takes so much focus and attention on them. It really becomes a lot about their well being and you as the parent have to learn to adapt more.

It is also much more work than I expected!

I think it is really great if you can have a loving strong comitted partner to help raise the kid- if you can- try to be in a good solid relationship as the work and sacrifice of parenting can challenge a relationship.

Regarding birth- I was totally naieve. I had read only natural birthing information- I was totally in the mind set from all the books and stories I read that birth is easy, that doctors are invasive and unnecessary when it comes to birth, and if I just had a mind set that it would flow then it would be a peaceful easy flowing experience. I did not allow in my mind for any possibility other than a perfect natural home birth.

What I learned is that support around birth- having people you trust who can help you physically and medically IF somehting does go wrong- is very important. I did not have a good support team- I had only my husband and midwives that I did not like or trust, and I was very surprised by how major and challenging my birth was! I had only read happy birth stories and while those are great- I think it is important to know that birth can be unexpected and surprising, and is sometimes dangerous. I didn't even allow myself to consider those ideas. I ended up with an emergency c section which turned out really well for me but it was different than I expected.

Having a kid is life changing more than I ever expected too. But really wonderful and life enriching too!

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#47 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 09:28 AM
 
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Get your wild stuff you want to do out of the way! I found that I didn not like/want to have babysitters for DS, and even if I did I would not now go on a drinking/party thing. So anything crazy you want to do, get out of the way beforehand.

 

Eat better while I was pregnant. I want at my ILs and they eat the weirdest foods, most of it pretty unhealthy. Fortunately DS is healthy despite it (he did get the benefit of BM on a pretty healthy diet) but next time I would eat better, since I can control my own food next time.

 

As a baby, watch less TV. I kind of had this attitude that since he doesn't understand, it doesn't hurt for my to watch TV around him, so I watched whiel I BF'ed, which was a lot. In the end way too much TV was watched. I would read and listen to more music next time.

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#48 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 10:57 AM
 
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I wish I had known what the signs of PPD were and that one could have a severe case of PPD even without any history of depression/mental health issues. I probably did "know" this intellectually, but my first months with my child might have been much easier had I known what the heck was going on with me. 

 

I wish I had known some of the signs of food allergy in a breastfed baby and had trusted my gut more that something wasn't quite right. (My child has very severe and extensive allergies. It's clear to me now that she was reacting to foods in my milk from birth, but nothing ever seemed wrong "enough," so I didn't think to pursue it until she had a serious reaction at 1yo.)

 

My biggest piece of advice would be to take charge of the birth of your child (whatever that means to you). Research your options--realize that you HAVE options. Besides reading everything we could get our hands on, we took a Bradley childbirth class and the information that I learned in that class was priceless. Learn about the biases behind the books/authors you choose to read BEFORE you take their advice--don't just pick up "What to Expect when You're Expecting" because that's what "everyone" does.

 

And of course: read and plan all you want, but expect that some things--many things--won't go as you expected, and don't be beat yourself up when that happens.

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#49 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 11:18 AM
 
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I wish I had known more about unconsolable babies.  Pretty sure I put myself through the ringer on that one. 

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#50 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 12:23 PM
 
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Go to the movies as much as possible before birth. It's soooo hard to go to the movies with a baby (unless you hire a sitter, which I didn't want to do). Other things are easier---out to dinner, travel, etc., but the movies were hard for us.

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#51 of 56 Old 01-15-2012, 01:08 AM
 
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Wow, you are quite the planner.  It is really wonderful you and your husband have been able to set your lives up to easily transition into parenthood.  I find this thread kind of overwhelming to read... you won't face all the challenges listed here, and there also may be some that you didn't hear about/plan for.  I have loved being a mom so far (my little guy is about to turn 1), and it has only made our marriage more rich.  Logistics are more complicated, but oh well.

As such a planner it may help if you don't try to fix all the problems before they happen.  I repeatedly told myself (and others) I wasn't sure how birth/newborn/parenting a toddler would be for us, so my plan was X... but that will change if it needs to. I am informed, and read tons before I even got pregnant but I try to allow room for grace and flexibility in all my parenting.  I don't let any vivid vision of how things will be settle in, because that will only lead to frustration, disappointment and even guilt.  I think it has really helped me enjoy being a mom :)


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#52 of 56 Old 01-17-2012, 03:59 PM
 
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Not to be a contrary smart-ass, but-

 

The best, most important things I've learned were only possible because I had a child.  I think on all the things I wish I'd known or had done differently and most of them are instances that happened exactly the way they did because that's what I was capable of at the time.  Wishing it was otherwise is utterly pointless, I wasn't that person yet.  We're all different, and it sounds like you, OP, are a bit more grown-up than I was at that same stage of my life. But I imagine it's true of most people to some extent.  Our kids re-forge us into new people.  We find strength to do what we were never capable of doing before. 

 

I wish I had traveled more. 


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#53 of 56 Old 01-17-2012, 05:01 PM
 
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Make sure your relationship is solid.  You will need to rely on each other more than you ever thought you would.

 

Talk about your hopes and plans for raising a child.  Your ideals.  They will probably go out the window once you have kids but it is nice to get important disagreements about raising a child sorted out before the child is actually here.

 

Save money!  Plan to be out of work for longer than you think during pregnancy.  I had back issues and was out of work for 2 months more than I planned to be.  It really hurt us finantually.  Some people have to go on bedrest because of high blood pressure really early on.  You never know what can happen and the most important thing during pregnancy and motherhood is to take care of yourself so you can take care of your child. 


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#54 of 56 Old 01-19-2012, 06:36 AM
 
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Build a support network of family, friends and neighbours.
It has seriously saved our lives as parents that we have family around to help - and it's one of the reasons we chose to return to our home city before having kids - and live in friendly neighbourhood where we know everyone.
My mom will pick up DS1 from daycare if we're working late or DH is traveling on business. She looked after him while I was having DS2 and takes him to concerts and out fishing. I know my neighbours and can ask them in a pinch to stay with napping DS2 while I pick up DS1. We trade babysitting with BIL and SIL.

Megan, loving her sweet rainbow1284.gif boys, born Aug. 2008 and Feb. 2011, and their sister, born still March 2007 candle.gif
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#55 of 56 Old 01-19-2012, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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All good points!

Oddly enough I'm not a huge planner in other areas of my life, but I think knowing that having a child *will* change things massively and forever has made me a bit more aware of preparation. ;)

And of course, this is planning that will be flexible - there's a reason there's not a manual for parenthood!  Kind of like a choose your own ending book, at this stage I'm making sure that when it comes to things I can plan for I have several different "options" for situations that may come up. LOL One can't plan every little detail, but having a framework to fall back on is never a bad idea!

 

The reminder about getting on the same page with DH about the "big items" in child rearing is a very good point - the last time we discussed some of the hot topics I realized we have diverging ideas on discipline, parental roles, and several smaller subjects, so that's going to take some time to work through to a mutual agreement...

 

We live 500 miles + away from family, so the support network foundation will be one to start work on *now* vs. waiting until the little one is on the way for sure!


Erin
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#56 of 56 Old 01-20-2012, 08:21 PM
 
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More than anything, I wish I had researching breastfeeding half as much as I researched everything else. I assumed it would come naturally, and then it didn't. DD and I had nothing but problems and we didn't make it past two months. All the problems I had with breastfeeding then I know how to handle well now. I regret that so much, especially now that I have such a wonderful breastfeeding relationship with 17 month old DS and it has really hit me just how much DD and I missed out on.

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