After I agreed to write this guest post on what I would tell my younger self, I wondered how I could narrow down all the things I would tell my younger self. Here is all the advice that people gave me about life with children that I now know was actually helpful. These are the things I would want to hear again if I was a new mom.
Enjoy every stage because it goes by in the blink of an eye.
I can’t believe how true this is and time seems to go faster with each child we have added to our family. So often you hear people say, “I can’t wait until they are school age.” Or, “I can’t wait until they can do crafts.” Or, “I can’t wait until they are teens.” Not me.
I have no biological children, so perhaps it’s easier for me to cherish the time because we missed so much of the early years of our two youngest. We never knew them as babies who could fall asleep on your chest or snuggle up with a bottle. I can’t get that time back and I want to enjoy them as they grow.
A friend of mine told me when he realized that time was going by so fast with his first child, he asked the neighborhood “Grandpa” if he felt the same way. The man said, “I will tell you this. My granddaughter was born 2 weeks ago and last night she graduated from high school.”
Don’t let the child change your family style.
The person who told me this had three grown children and the way she explained it was – if you are a loud family, stay loud. Don’t make your house artificially quiet because you have a baby in it now. She said this was especially important as you add more children. They are naturally loud and boisterous and if you are riding them all the time to be quiet, then everyone in the house is stressed out and frustrated.
We have a daily nap time and/or quiet time in our house that is enforced for the good of all, but the rest of the time they get to act like kids.
It’s easy to think you are an awesome mom when you just have one.
Oh dear, this is so true and cuts to the heart. I mistakenly thought I was such a great mom when I just had one. How ridiculous of me! Once we added our second child who was a toddler from a horrible orphanage with so many struggles to our family, I learned the true depth of my sin. I learned what it really meant to die to self and sacrifice for another person.
Now that my girls are a bit older and I am not completely sleep deprived, I remind myself that I have to keep working to be a great mom to them. It will be something I work at all the rest of my days.
Only parent your own kids.
Stop and think about this for a moment because it’s such great advice. So often people just spout off about what they would do and how their kids were and more. Social media has ramped this up in an ugly way that it often frustrates me.
Sleep when they sleep.
It’s seems so obvious, but my brain would tell me all the things I could get done when they were sleeping like cleaning, blogging or dishes. Just go to sleep if you are tired. It can wait until you have more energy. You don’t need to have a Pinterest life.
Now here are a few things I have learned that I would tell myself if I could.
Adopting toddlers is really, really hard.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Our adoption agencies, social workers, books, webinars, fellow bloggers and more didn’t really prepare me for what was to come. Even our first adoption didn’t prepare us for how hard the second one was going to be.
Let them learn at their own pace.
Let them play, play, play to learn. We have homeschooled from the beginning, but I really wish I would have been more relaxed about it in the beginning like I am now.
Your kids are going to do things that boggle the mind.
Good and bad. Sometimes I ask myself if something really just happened with my kids. Many days they shock and confuse me. But then I remind myself that I was a kid once and must have done the same thing to my parents. It’s really okay, just keep teaching them goodness and mercy.
It doesn’t matter when they potty train.
All kids are different. All kids have different backgrounds that will affect when and how they potty train. Unless they have a severe special need, no one goes to college in diapers.
Ignore the words of “know it all” people who aren’t walking the same road.
I can’t tell you how many people who only have biological children have told me “how it is”. Sorry. It’s just not the same for those of us who didn’t have our kids in utero. Your biological kids didn’t suffer neglect, lack of food, lack of air conditioning or dirty water making them sick. Your kids don’t have large scars with no answers as to how they got there. Your kids don’t have gaps in their timeline that you don’t have any answers for. The only response to this is to ignore because they just don’t understand. There are plenty of people you can connect with who do understand, so don’t let others get you down.
Embrace the chaos!
The more kids you have, the more wild your house will get. And most of the time, that is awesome! Our kids have us laughing so much and they are so creative. They bring so much delight to the world, but lots of times that delight is loud and messy. Let them paint. Let them mix the play-dough colors. Let them get soaking wet in fountains.
Enjoy them as they grow. It goes by in the blink of an eye.
– guest post by Louanne