I’ve read it all. And, when I say that, please understand I have just about, read it ALL.
From the time I decided to have kids, I pretty much read every dad book and every dad blog worth reading. I’ve actually either spoken directly to the guys who have written these books or blogs, or know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows them, and they’re not that much different than you or I.
I’ve been to parenting seminars (some of them even let me speak), been a member of countless parenting groups, and even started one of my own. And the truth is, the Greek philosopher, Socrates, was onto something when he said, “The only true wisdom, is in knowing you know nothing.” And from my experience, if you can accept that, you’re ahead of most people who ever decided to have kids.
Parenting is sometimes easy, at times hard, maddening or frustrating, and in other moments it can be extremely rewarding or the most frightening thing in the world. But, people do it every day. People all around the world, many speaking languages you have never even heard of, raise children. It’s what families have done for thousands, upon thousands of years. You’re not alone. And that’s your first lesson. Master that feeling of both incompetence and importance to the continuation of your species and you’re halfway to becoming a good parent.
If you can use common sense and instinct, and your listening skills aren’t too bad, you can follow some simple rules to raise children. They need to be fed, warm, nurtured and taught basic things to survive.
Babies need to be changed quickly so they don’t get a rash, and have their cries listened to so you can pick up on which of their needs need to be met. It’s not that it doesn’t take work, but it’s not hard. You just have to be willing to work at it and listen to those who would give you the most basic information to help you be successful. You also need to tune out those who have no clue what they are talking about when it comes to raising kids, and ignore their advice. Not rocket science. Not brain surgery. Just simple common sense.
You can learn most of what you need to know about caring for a baby from a paediatric nurse when you’re at the hospital; feeding, changing, bathing and dressing. You just have to be willing to learn. Everything else you can learn slowly over time.
If you’re unsure of something, call your mom, a parenting helpline or a trusted friend. If you think your child is sick, check a credible source online, consult a book written by a medical professional or go to an emergency room. Or, again, ask your mom or dad if this is something they went through with you.
It’s a learning process. And it’s going to be a lot harder with your first child, but much easier to trust your own instincts with your second, third or fourth. It takes time.
That’s the simplest advice anyone can give you; trust in the system, trust your instincts, trust those who went before you and kept you alive so you could help to continue the circle of life.
You can read all the parenting books and blogs out there, and no one will give you this advice because it’s not that interesting, but it’s the basic science behind how we, as a species, have overrun this planet with our progeny – we’re resilient. And, with a little help, raising a baby is pretty much a piece of cake.
Of course, there is that second lesson, the one that says you can’t control everything, but we’ll cover that another time. For now, just enjoy being a parent. Love your kids. Work hard at being the best parent that you can be, and everything should come together like it has for billions of other people all over the world.