When you are a new parent, it's easy to make a few mistakes. There's a pretty good learning curve and you learn as you go. Looking back, as you go along on your parenting journey, you can always see things you could have, should have, done differently. Here are some parenting mistakes you should try to never make again.
Lecturing Your Parents on Parenting – When your first one is brand new, it's easy to feel like even parenting is brand new. It's just new to you. Your parents – unless they were really rotten parents — are veterans and don't need you to tell them how to take care of kids. They raised you after all, right?
It's a common mistake, but you should never make it again. Your mom doesn't need to be told how to deal with diaper rash, how to dress your child or how to soothe them. They've done this – several times over if you're not an only child.
Being Too Worried About Cleanliness – Do you make your dad wash his hands with hand sanitizer before he touches your little one? Do you rush to clean the toddler head to toe as soon as she gets some dirt on her? Don't go overboard on the cleanliness.
Sure, you want your kids to be clean and well cared for, but kids get dirty. It happens. Some scientists have even said that kids exposed to dirt end up healthier because they build natural immunity. Don't stress over your messy kid — let them enjoy their fun, let the grandparents touch them with unsanitized hands, and just clean them up when they're done.
Thinking That the World Revolves Around Your Baby – Your child may be the center of your universe, but that's not the case for everybody. Not everybody wants to see every picture and hear about every cute thing your little one does. If you are just bursting to share, then write a journal so you and your kid can appreciate all of those little things later on.
And yes – this means that you are going to have to say “no” to many things in the beginning unless you are willing to get a baby sitter. Are you the first of your friends to have a baby? Trust me when I say that they will NOT be thrilled when you tell them that you are bringing Precious to your monthly dinner at a nice restaurant.
Thinking That Every Kid is Exactly the Same – Most things are similar from one kid to the next, but not always. Don't make the mistake of thinking that each child is just like the next. What worked great with your first child may be a total bust with the second. Each child is precious and unique and you will have to figure out what makes each one tick as you go along.
Not Taking Care of Yourself or Your Marriage – Sure it is easy (and natural) to wrap your entire life around that precious little baby. But you need to take care of yourself as well as your marriage. The old saying “Sleep when the baby sleeps”? Do it. The dishes and laundry will wait. Make sure that you are still paying attention to your marriage, even if it is just 10 minutes of snuggling on the sofa after you put the baby to bed and before you start the dishes!
And for the love of God, just because you had a baby and are tired doesn't mean that you should be wearing your pajama pants out in public. You can still take a little pride in your appearance!
Never forget that being a parent means on-the-job training. There are no manuals for your child and each kid is unique. Enjoy the journey — it may not be easy, but it's certainly worth it!