the Instruction Manual

I remember when my husband and I were first married, we had all of these high ideals of what life as a parent would be like. We would spend long evenings walking along and "solving the problems of the world". When we became parents, things would be different! We had it ALL worked out. No words could have ever prepared us for what life as a parent would truly be like. We could have never anticipated the joys or frustrations that would come our way soon enough.

Our children are now 10 and 8 years old, and more than once I have announced in frustration, "That's it! I'm taking them back to the hospital where they were born. Surely someone there can help me find the model number and matching instruction manual for this child!!" I'm sure I'm not the only parent who has found themselves wishing for that manual. Parenting is a TOUGH JOB! I mean, these are little people were are dealing with here, not a washing machine or hair dryer! If we foul this parenting thing up, then, well.... the repercussions could be astounding!

OK... Everybody take a deep breath! We're going to walk through this together. Here are a few things that I have picked up along the way in my parenting adventure.
  1. Cut yourself a little slack. It's not like they come with instruction manuals! (I just couldn't resist that one)
  2. Trust your instincts. You know your child better than anyone.
  3. If you're not sure about how to deal with something, don't be ashamed to ask for help from a trusted source(s). Then use this information to revert back to #2.
  4. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS stick to the boundaries you've established. I've heard it said that raising toddlers is like being pecked to death by little ducks. While I think this is hysterically funny, it also reminds us that children have an uncanny ability to wear us down at times. I can't say it enough. Consistency is CRUCIAL!
  5. (and this one is the most important!) LOVE them! I think our genuine love for our precious little children is what makes all the difference in the end.

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