21 Important Lessons I Have Learned From Parenthood
As a father of two seven year olds twins and a two year old, I have had time to reflect on parenthood and the lessons I have learned for the past seven years.
Well, I never really have “time” as a parent, but you know what I mean.
Below are my 21 important lessons I have learned from parenthood. I am constantly learning something new along this journey, but these lessons are important to me.
Lessons I have learned from parenthood
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help on day one. Hours after our twins were born, I vividly remember nurse Melissa showing me how to change a diaper. Why did she show me? I awkwardly went up to her and admitted that I needed help changing my first diaper.
2. When you hold a baby, support their head and neck. You can practice on dolls all you want, but when you hold a baby for the first time, everything changes. It seems silly, but I remember the first time I held my little one. I was so nervous!
3. Prepare for some spit up. I have a weak stomach. If you are like me, bodily fluids are not your favorite either. Have a burp cloth ready at your fingertips at all times. It’s different when it’s your own children…but still gross.
4. Routines are so important. Set a routine and stick to it as best as you can. Especially in the early years. You will thank yourself later.
5. There will be nights of little sleep. Embrace it. This is such a short moment in your life. My daughter and I often bonded at 3 AM listening to Disney Pandora as she would fall asleep in my arms after crying for what felt like hours. I will never forget those cuddle sessions and I sometimes miss that.
6. If you have twins, people will ask you if they are identical. I have boy/girl twins. And people still ask me that. Just think about it for a second.
7. Sound machines are your best friend. We still use sound machines for our children and I don’t ever see us putting them away in the closet. They drown out so much noise and really help our kids fall asleep each night.
8. Prepare for diaper blow outs. My two year old just had a blow out last week. Luckily, he was still in his crib waking up from nap time. But it happened and it was extremely messy. But, blowouts happen anywhere and when you least expect it. Which brings me to my next point…
9. Pack extra clothes when you take day trips. Never leave your house without an extra pair of clothes for everyone. If you take a day trip or are away from your house all day, be sure to have extra clothes packed in the car in case something happens. In fact, we like to keep a diaper bag in the car with extra clothes for all of our children, along with diapers and wipes.
10. Support your spouse always. Teamwork and encouragement are so important when raising children. My wife and I need constant support from one another to feel confident in our parenting journey!
11. Being a parent has really rewarding moments. My favorite moments are when my kids come up to me unprompted and say, “You’re such a great daddy. You’re my best friend. I love you.” Wow. Those words and moments mean everything to me.
12. Start saving money for your children now. Whether you open a 529 plan to save for college costs or just open a savings account, start today! Even if you put in $25.00 every week, that would be $21,600 saved up by the time your child is 18 years old! Get in a routine of saving and watch that account grow quickly.
13. You will make mistakes as a parent. No one is perfect. Everyone will tell you how to parent. You do what you and your spouse feel is right. Mistakes will be made. But you learn from the mistakes, ask for forgiveness when needed, forgive others and love each other. Remember, your kids are watching how you handle mistakes you make.
14. Words like “fart” and “poopy” are funny to adults too. I mean…am I wrong?
15. Take time to listen to your children. Don’t get so caught up in your phone and emails that you can’t sit and listen to what your child is saying. Are they sad? Are they happy? Is your child scared? You are their guardian and they feel safe and protected with you. Listen to what they are saying. It may be really important. Out of all the lessons I have learned from parenthood, this one is one of my most important lessons!
16. If you raise boys, you will say “Get your hands out of your pants” more often than not. Trust me. If you are raising boys, you already know what I mean.
17. Do your best to be present in the moment. It’s so easy to let distractions get in the way, but put your cell phones away. Focus on your children. They want your attention. I still struggle with this and it’s something I am constantly working on.
18. Boys will pee wherever they can. I can’t tell you how many times I have caught my son peeing off the deck in our backyard. It’s funny. It’s embarrassing. It’s just one of those moments that you sit back and have a good laugh.
19. Enjoy the little moments. The hugs. The giggles. The funny things they say. The funny moments (see above). The cuddles. The “I love you daddy” moments. Take it all in. It really does go so fast.
20. Bath time is essential. Kids are dirty and stinky. Setting up a bath time routine while they’re babies will make it easier to continue the bath time/shower routine as they get older.
21. God is good. All the time. There will be highs and lows in parenthood, but God is faithful and we can continue to go to Him in prayer and thankfulness.
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