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I’m not big on handing out unsolicited parenting advice.

Well, I do write this blog, and discerning parents may read it and think “This guy’s a GENIUS!”

A likely scenario…played out in my imagination daily.

But when it comes to just walking up to someone and saying, “Let me bend your ear with a little time-worn wisdom, sonny…”

I don’t do that.

  1. Most people don’t want to be told how to do their life.
  2. I don’t want to sound like more of a jackass than I already am.
  3. Aren’t mistakes our best teachers anyway?

I mean, there’s no avoiding screwing everything up once in a while.

Look at this guy. He has no idea what he doesn’t know. And that was just 5 years ago and 3 kids into it.

As time goes by, though—and I slowly give my kids more reasons to seek therapy once they reach adulthood—there are some things I look back on and think, “I REALLY wish I had known about that beforehand.”

I had a thought the other day. What if I can bottle up a little of that 20/20 hindsight for you in one post?

But I’m only one dude with one point of view.  Do I really want to go at this alone?

Nay.

So I asked some of my friends, who I think are fantastic parents, “What do you wish someone had told you before having kids?”

Here’s what they had to say.  Submitted to you without commentary.

“Terrible Twos” are only the beginning.–Elizabeth

That kids sometimes don’t sleep through the night until 7…..YEARS old.

That breastfeeding is actually somewhat really difficult.

That the first time your kids say they want a “new mom” that you’ll cry for an hour in the bathroom.

That you should definitely pick a partner on the basis of how well and willing they are to change diapers (full of poo at 3am) mine changed more than I did for sure and I love him endlessly for it.

Find a midwife and a real birthing class and never look back.

Trust your body and your instincts. You have both for really good reason. –Amanda

“I mean, how difficult could it be? I’m a physician for goodness sakes.”

I honestly…honestly…didn’t think it would be a big deal to feed my first child every four hours. I mean, how difficult could it be? I’m a physician for goodness sakes. I guess I figured it would be like feeding the dog every four hours…just put some food in the bowl and walk away. I had no idea it took a baby three hours and fifty-eight minutes of that “every four hours” to take a bottle.Dr. James

It’s okay to ask for help.–Charlotte

I have six and I can’t think of a single thing because I have surrounded myself with the best sources of advice regarding raising strong families. Other than that people offer bad advice all the time… so I pretty much ignored everything people told me before having kids. –Josh

Everyone needs time to themselves for their own mental sanity, and that doesn’t make you selfish or a bad parent. –Also Charlotte

Just because dads do it differently, does not mean they do it incorrectly!–Dr. James Again

That sometimes it sucks.

That even if you think you have lots of patience, your children will chew through it and still expect more.

That all of those things you said you’d never do as a parent? It’s harder than you think and you have no idea until you actually have children.

That you may not actually enjoy being a parent, and that’s okay. Society tells us that being a parent is what we’re supposed to do, and then we do it and find out that maybe we shouldn’t have. That you can love your children, love them like nothing you’ve ever loved before, but not love being a parent. And that’s okay.

That your kids will bring you to the point of breaking and it’s okay to ask for help. That you SHOULD ask for help. –Christopher

The immense amount a love you’ll feel that can and will drive you f&$*in utterly insane. As a father in today’s world I seriously gotta focus on how I’ma handle not going to prison. I’m not ready for her to get any older I feel. –Chuck

Never wake a sleeping baby at night for feeding unless there are other issues going on. –Dr. James (Threepeat)

I really wish I knew how hard middle school was going to be on both our son and us as parents. It’s flat-out exhausting. I should have known. Middle school was the most difficult part of my childhood. Our oldest has some unique challenges we’re working on as well, so that thrown in the mix has made for an eye opening experience as he heads into the teen years. Then there’s all the extracurricular stuff and the changing hormones and the awkwardness. It’s all a busy mess, lol. But that’s what we signed up for whether we realized it or not! –Jared (that’s me)

I’m still learning this: Let kids be kids. They only get to be a kid once. Don’t put them in adult situations, because…ummmm…They’re kids. –Donna

Doesn’t matter what someone should have told me before having kids, TBH. Like most, in my foolish clueless “it won’t happen to me” pride, I probably wouldn’t have listened. –Brian

I think this is a great list! I’d like to thank my fellow moms and dads for sharing their pearls of wisdom. New parents, hopefully you have some ideas to meditate on. But hey, if you ignore it all and blaze your own path, that’s ok too. Nothing is perfect. And if you’re reading this, you’re probably trying your best. That’s what really matters. Stay strong, love your kids, and you’ll be allright.

Grizzled veterans of the ‘hood. Parenthood that is….

What do you say?

Let me know in the comments what you wish YOU had known before joining the club.

And don’t forget to give this post a share if you liked it. 🙂

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