I’ve already posted my free (you get what you pay for) advice about writing books in a previous blog. So, now, I’ve decided to give the same type of free advice about parenting. While I don’t play a parent on TV, haven’t saved a lot of money with Geico Insurance, or stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, I do have a smidge of experience I can share with you current and soon-to-be parents.
First of all, if you’re planning to have kids, I wholeheartedly recommend practice – and lots of it. And when I say practice, I mean, uh hum, you know – practice. It’s good exercise (although I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of exercise), and it helps with your social and people skills. Plus, once you have kids, practicing – not as often. Just Sayin’.
So, nothing is going to properly prepare you to bring your little bundle of joy home. Oh sure, you’ve read books and articles, but believe me when the pediatric guardian angel nurse who was so very kind at the hospital is no longer watching over you, it can be very stressful. Here you and your better half have this beautiful little, tiny newborn, and you have no experience as how to proceed, or what to do. In this case, I recommend having a parent or grandparent move in with you – just until the teen years. Just kidding, but I do recommend having an experienced family member helping you. How else are you supposed to learn? Once you have feeding, burping, and bathing down, you’ve got it made.
I’ll nutshell the formative, cutie pie years for you. Just suffice it to say, this is the period of time you will want to spend every waking moment with your child. This is the time when your child can’t get enough of you and you can’t get enough of him or her. I recommend having a dog around. As you can see, my kids loved having their “friend” around, and a dog gives them someone to talk to, as well as clean up any messy food issues which may occur. These are the years when your child will develope his or her personality and take on the values you wish to impart. Don’t be a helicopter parent, but put in the time – while you can.
I’m going to skip right over the teenage years. I don’t want to scare the hell out of our soon-to-be-parents.You’ll figure it out. Just have the TUMS ready.
Here’s the hard part. This will be tough. When they become adults, you have to let them go live their lives. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. I always thought that once you are a parent, you are always a parent – and in fact, you are. But, you have to let them fend for themselves and sometimes even stand back while watching them fall flat on their faces when they make mistakes. I can honestly say that this is a struggle, but it will become painfully obvious to you when the time comes for you to take a step back.
Finally, when do you know your job as a parent is done? Just before you go to sleep at night and think wonderful thoughts of your children, if you can’t for the life of you picture them as they were when they were babies or cute little kids, you’re job as a parent is over. If you can only visualize or remember them as an adult, you’ve done what was needed to be done. And my guess is, you’re wondering how it went by so quickly. I never wondered that or tried to figure out how I got so darn old. In my mind, I never got old, and I spent as much time with my kids as was humanly possible. You don’t get a second chance at the past, so please refer back to paragraph four. Read it and understand it.
And just so I don’t get you all depressed, you may get lucky enough to start the whole process over again – but this time with your grand kids. And the beauty of it all is, since you’ll have less energy, may possibly be more cranky (and not as regular, uh hum), you can give them back to your kids. See what I did there?
Don’t worry. Parenting has been going on for generations. The best part is, I live in Texas, so my kids can’t put me on an iceberg and float me out to sea when I get old – if I ever get old. That’s another great thing about being a parent – you usually get the last laugh.