1. It is going to knock you sideways, the love you feel for that child. I smothered you in love every day you were alive but you will still be rocked to your roots when it hits you from the other side. I would say ‘be prepared’, but nothing, nothing, will prepare you for that bolt. It’s everything.
2. You will be exhausted. Not on a level you ever felt before. And it’s going to throw you just how much one little human can take from another. Look after yourself my child. You need rest too. It’s not easy but if you don’t take time out, you won’t make it through.
3. Humour is going to save you. Many many times over the years. If you can find that humour in your partner you have won the lottery. If you can’t, find a friend who makes you laugh and see the funny side in the darkness.
4. You’re going to feel inadequate, often. You are no longer in control. Let it go. All you can do is hope that your child occasionally does the right thing in public too – enjoy the cute stuff and let the mortifying moments make you laugh, not cry.
5. Look out for other parents along the way. You need each other. Judge them the way you’d like to be judged – not at all. We are all trying our best and if someone really isn’t then that’s the time to speak out.
6. Your child is not an extension of you. You will see yourself and your partner in them every day and it will amaze you. But you will also see something else, something original. They brought that with them. Nurture it the most, it is who they are.
7. You are enough. Corny? True. If you love your children and care enough about them to feel you aren’t coping well enough, then you are already winning. You cannot go far wrong if love is at the forefront of your mind in all you do.
8. Listen. Life is moving at its fastest now. It will never feel like this again. The exhaustion, the schedules, the relentless tasks and questions. But you must find the time to listen to the small stuff if you want them to tell you the big stuff when they are older. The small stuff, to them, was always the big stuff.
9. Your instinct is key. Listen to your own gut. It’s connected by DNA, by billions of cells, to that little human. You have a special insight that science cannot even explain properly, yet. Take advice but your instinct wins. Period.
10. You’re going to be in pain. A lot. It’s going to hurt. When they hurt. When they are rejected. When they are detached from you and finally, when they ‘hate’ you. It is not your job to be popular, it is your job to be a parent and sometimes, that will rip you apart. Now that you are where I was back then, you will finally understand. Don’t worry, I don’t need to forgive you, I never did. And neither, my love, will you.
Donna Ashworth ©️