Parenting without Panic

What happens when you discover you’re pregnant for the first time?

It’s overwhelming joy but in the same respect, it’s terrifying.

So much advice and feedback out there to sift through…you don’t even know what you’re looking for.

Maybe your parents and loved ones have lots of advice, but really, it’s so huge of a responsibility, it’s challenging to digest everything people are saying.

My husband and I were married for about a year when we were pregnant with our first child.  We were just getting to know each other, so there wasn’t time for a game plan.

I believe it was God’s intention to throw us right into the mix.

We were young and kinda clueless.

Though we had family to lean on, we still felt woefully unprepared.

Our family backgrounds are stable- not much in the way of relationship tragedies- so we had great experiences to draw from, but we still felt overwhelmed.

Feeling unprepared or overwhelmed doesn’t fly with me.

I can’t function like that for more than five seconds.

If I don’t understand something, relentless research is the very next step.

In fact, if opening the top of my head and dumping books into it were an option, I’d do it.

A little bit of background:

School was always easy for me…in fact it was too easy.  I was in gifted programs, advanced placement classes and always tested well, but I was bored.

And boredom is no bueno.

In high school, I started to blow things off and because I was an athlete, and totally got away with it.

So college didn’t really work out.  My interest in going to class was pretty much set at zero.

When I dropped out and floundered for a bit, life was a bit of a shit show, but filled with tons of experiences that showed me who I am and who I’m not.

Know what I mean?  Sometimes you have to get yourself into some crappy circumstances to know what you DON’T want.

On the positive side, I was able to bullshit my way into some jobs that helped get me back on track.

I first worked for Dial America- in a telemarketing sales role for magazine subscriptions; suddenly finding success as the top salesperson.  This was a big deal for the girl that used to fall asleep in her mom’s back office doing paperwork.

After Dial America, I helped a business grad student complete his thesis, doing door-to-door dry cleaning sales in Arizona.

Story telling turned out to be my “thing”, so sales came naturally.

Though my work was going well, I credit my husband pulling me out of the mess that was my early 20s.

I deeply respected him and felt there were better things out there for me.

And there were!  Namely him and my kiddos.

I started to put my brains to better use – starting with parenting.

Know what surprised me when learning about raising kids?

The myriad of books, opinions and methods you can try. There’s no one magical manual for how to do it right. Every child is a gift and is totally unique in their soul and their destiny, so creating one book to fit every situation simply isn’t realistic.

Even though there’s no one single best book for parenting, I found some great books that helped us tremendously.

Interestingly, what helped was not parenting methods, but books about how human beings develop physically and psychologically.

When I learned about how children become independent and how they develop, it was so eye opening.   I was reassured knowing there are natural processes, steps and cycles determined by nature that the majority of human beings follow.

At first, as a new mom, I worried about what people thought, but when I shed that concern, it totally liberated me as a parent!

I decided that gut instinct/intuition plus real science knowledge was the way to go and I’m so glad I did.

There are instincts some of us have and some of us don’t, but understanding how the brain grows, how cells move, how the miracle of life functions, nutrition, etc. empowers you as a parent to stay calm and be all about environment, not perfection.

It helped take the pressure off of us as parents because we became a support for what was naturally occurring- not re-inventing the wheel.

One of my very favorite books was “How to Have a Smarter Baby”.

It wasn’t about having a genius baby. The book contained facts about brain growth and provided exercises that were more about building bonds with your baby, creating a powerful learning environment.

It was about creating moments with your baby that give them safety, security and certainty.  With those things in place, they could thrive and absorb everything they need to know.

I didn’t realize it in the beginning, but we were starting to build a parenting envelope for our kids that would carry all of us through some tough times.

The parenting envelope was mentioned in the last post:

In the next post, I’ll expand on other valuable things I learned with my firstborn who started running into challenges when she was tiny.

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