What I learned about parenting by being a parent Revision #2

By Kwene

Family & Relationship

Revised: 10-Apr-2011
Added: 06-Apr-2011

Average rating: 10
parenting new-born daughter

Parenting really is an on-the-job training. With all the preparations we make, it's still trial by fire. Just sharing. Would really like to hear from other parents. More chapters to come. This chapter is just an introduction.

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What I learned about parenting by being a parent – the good, the bad and the ugly
(Chapter 1- In the Beginning)

Once upon a time, all I had to think about was me, myself and I. Life was easy and carefree then. Then I got married, and all I had to think about was us, ourselves and we. Life was still easy and fairly carefree. When my wife was pregnant, the realization of adding to our two-people family was pure joy. The very next day, anxiety replaced joy.

Will I be a good parent? What is a good parent? I knew what my parents were like when I was young. But what were they like when I was a baby? Can we afford a new mouth to feed? Where do I buy baby clothes? What about names? Would I really be a doting parent? What kind of family will we be? The only way I knew how to overcome all my fears and anxiety is to research and read about parenthood.

Nine months of impending parenthood which included speaking to the baby in the womb so that s/he recognizes my voice after birth, and a pile of readings later, the one true thing I learned was that there was no one universal best method for parenting. Each book spoke of specific methods as if all babies were the same: similar personality, similar temperaments, similar intelligence, and so forth. I decided to take things into my own hand and formulate my own parenting methods. I thought of a plan and put it into a flow chart.

I was shocked at how much work and pain it took to deliver a baby. Is this nature’s way of reminding us of the tremendous responsibilities that lie ahead? Or perhaps nature just has not figured out an easier way to deliver a new baby? The pain I had when my dentist accidentally drilled into my tongue and when the doctor put back my dislocated ankle paled in comparison to that of childbirth. Talk about prolonged agony.

Our baby girl arrived healthy and sleepy. I followed the nurse that took her for cleaning and checkups. I watched every move by nurse and baby with eagle eyes. There was no way my baby is going to get mixed up with someone else’s. I memorized my baby’s face to be sure I’d never get her mixed up with the others. A few things I learned about my daughter that first day: She was cuter than the other babies. She also cried better – more melodic. She even yawned nicer. Not all babies are the same. Mine was better.

My wife and I were well-prepared. We had the names decided, whether it was a boy or girl. We had the right car seat ready. We had diapers. We had the crib ready at home. We had blankets. We had everything. The only thing we did not enter into our equation was the vast amount of sleep we would lose. There goes our easy, carefree lifestyle. No more waking up at noon on weekends.

The day after we got home with our first born, I started working on the flow chart and was determined to use that as my guide as a parent. A funny thing happened. I stopped caring about the carefree, easy lifestyle. I just wanted to spend all my time with the baby and figure out how best to raise her. We took our daughter everywhere, including company socials. I would not attend get-togethers that did not allow children. Our baby daughter was always very cooperative; always easy-going. In fact, she still is today.

Looking back, the concept and components of the plan were fairly well thought out. A flow chart of options was built into the plan to ensure modifying and fine-tuning as required. The plan was to eventually have a young happy adult with sound character, good health, intelligence yet enough humility to continue learning, street-smart and the ability to create her own wealth once fully independent.

In eighteen years, I learned that planning was the easy part. Good implementation could be a little difficult at times. However, the plan kept me focused. I knew what my parental mission and vision were. I never strayed or compromised the building of character. In the end, the best lesson I learned about parenting was just by being a parent. So, flip the page for my story of the good, the bad and the ugly of trying to be a good parent.


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