What I’ve learned in nine years of parenting is both profound and super simple. I wish I had known when I first became a mother that I already knew enough: enough to be a good mom, enough to take care of my son, enough to thrive. Sure, there are some practical things to know (like when it is safe to introduce which solid foods), but nearly everything you need to know can be boiled down to a few nuggets:
- Just love your child. I’m sure this sounds like “of course,” but I can tell you from first hand experience that there are many things I did or didn’t do because I thought it was right or a good idea. I remember reading a book about teaching your baby to sleep and following the book’s lauded instructions. But I just knew in my gut, in my heart, in a live moment, that I already knew what to do about my child and his sleep. There was a voice in me that I second-guessed. Listen to that still, small voice. Always come back to love and you cannot go wrong.
- Hold your baby lots.
- Have fun! Really. Lighten up. Don’t take parenting, or anything, so seriously. Enjoy. Even when you are deliriously tired, it is possible to have fun. Do it.
- The things you think are important are just that: what you think. If you find yourself worried about what is or is not important, refer back to number 1.
- Keep it simple.
- As much as you can see it, allow for the possibility that your child knows exactly what is needed and will either tell you or take care of it. So much of parenting is staying out of the way while loving.
Just by virtue of being human, you will be enough of a parent to this little human being.