Parenting seems so new and foreign. It doesn’t really matter how many books you’ve read or how many classes you’ve taken in preparation for becoming parents (or even how many classes you’ve taught about the subject!) When it finally happens, most new parents are as green as they come.
People are always in a hurry to feel like they know it all – they want to be the parenting expert. But no one should feel like they’re bored with the experience of parenting either, because let’s face it – there are still a lot of years to go after the baby arrives. So how do you move through those green feelings without becoming jaded? (According to Crayola, the color of jade is in the hue family of green. Hmm…)
The answer might be a mix between trying to be as prepared as possible and allowing yourself to fly by the seat of your pants every once in a while. This way you don’t feel completely out of control, but you’re still able to enjoy the wonder and awe that can come from looking at the world through the eyes of your brand new baby.
By the time most of you become parents, you’ve been around the block a few times. Life can start to seem a little predictable, maybe even a little bit stale. But throw a newborn into the mix and yowza! “Predictable” and “stale” are not words that readily come to mind.
While babies can make us feel a little bit off-kilter, it’s also great for our brains to be challenged by something we don’t already know how to do. Every time we have to learn a new parenting skill (which happens about every 10-15 seconds – or so it seems!) we also get the opportunity to grow as individuals and as a couple.
Finding your “tribe” of like-minded parents has a certain appeal. But don’t insulate yourself too much against those parents who do it differently from you. They can be helpful, too.
Surround yourself with parents who are real, and not just parenting for show. These are the parents who are willing to reveal their exasperation, impatience, exhaustion, and willingness to admit that at times they have no idea what they’re doing. But hopefully, these are the same people who really like parenting. They embrace the chaos, the not-knowing-it-all and are willing to seek out support from others when necessary.
This tribe, this parenting village, might be a mishmash of friends and family you’ve known for years, mixed in with new acquaintances that you’ve only just met because you have babies that are roughly the same age. It doesn’t really matter how you construct your parenting village, but it’s something to consider doing. You’ll realize in no time that you’re no longer the newbie, and that you feel better equipped to support someone else who is.
And realizing that there might actually be others out there who are greener than you are? That’s a really nice feeling.
Did you feel especially green as a new parent? How did you cope with this? Have you found that you are now helping others who are greener than you?