From the moment our children arrive we are filled with a mix of emotions and a mix of advice. A mind field of information to what is a new and testing time for any parent.
We bring home this new bundle, tiny and fragile and it becomes our world. The worry and guilt can become over riding, how many times should we bath them?what temperature should the water be?should we have a set routine?have they been in the bath too long?not enough?should they cry this much?
Information continued to pour in regarding sleep, in the same room, not in the same bed or in the same bed? In a cot, a crib a Moses basket?on their backs or on their fronts? Temperature of the room? Lighting in the room?blankets or sleeping bags?pillow or no pillow?cot bumpers or no cot bumpers?baby will only sleep when held, won't nap or will only sleep when driving up the motorway for half hour periods. Sleeping through the night? How much sleep do they need?cry it out?self soothe? Dummy or comforter?
Everyone suddenly becomes interested in feeding your baby, breast or bottle?add water?add juice?cup or bottle?weaning is boggling baby led or purée?what age?chocolate, sweets, finger foods?sugar content? How much, how often and when?allergies?
Not forgetting of course the baby groups with the constant need to brag about all babies achievements or at least listen to others brag about theirs. The comparisons between slings and pushchairs. The debate over car seats and every other thing you had never thought about suddenly is presented to you.
Before long it is time to potty train and once again a wealth of advice and opinions are thrown at you, from using cloth and nappies to the age and signs of readiness.
If we let it we can become so stressed and worried that we forget to enjoy the little things. It is these little things that matter
A first smile
First hair cut
First experience of snow
To the moments that make you laugh out loud (and occasionally cry a little inside too)
Every day your child will be one day older, one day wiser and you can never have that moment back again. Forget about the house work, take advice with a pinch of salt because at the end of the day the person who has known your baby the longest is you. You felt the first kick, had those midnight chats with the bump and knew that baby just needed that extra piece of cake. Trust in your Motherly instinct, trust in your parenting skills they were born the second your baby was and babies survived long before the first baby manual was ever published.
Parenting is a roller-coaster, a journey and one which at times can feel like the hardest thing ever. These times won't last forever and in the blink of an eye they start school ready for the next chapter in their lives. Make the most of every cuddle, every moment and #parenton. You got this.
From chocolate chops to monster strops
those testing twos and potty training cues
the first time they walk and the first time they talk
treasure it all, for soon they won't be small