Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baby Shower Advice: Relax

Gina from the Hiya Luv blog invited me to be part of a virtual baby shower for Mandy of the Mandipidy blog. Mandy is soon due to have her first bebe, and I was happy to agree! At many baby showers, guests are asked to write down a note of advice for the mom-to-be, so that’s what I’m going to do today.

My advice? Relax. Don’t try to plan everything. When things don’t go as you planned, go with the flow. Relax.

My husband and I found out we were going to have our first child when he was in the Army, I was a junior in college and we weren’t anywhere close to marriage. We were completely shocked, overwhelmed and honestly, terrified. I spent the majority of my pregnancy worrying. Worrying about

I won’t say having a baby that way was easy – it wasn’t – and I wouldn’t recommend that method to anyone else. Things were difficult financially and we were trying to figure out who WE were as adults at the same time we were trying to figure out how to parent and how to shape our child.

Now, almost 13 years later, we have a daughter who’s soon to turn 12, and sons who just turned 10 and 4. We’ve been married 10 years, and while those weren’t always easy years, we’re happy and proud to have created a stable, happy family. Our kids honestly rock – they’re sweet, smart, talented, cute and funny. They care about people. They don’t get *everything* a kid could want – partly because we can’t afford that and partly because we don’t think that’s good for kids…and they have been taught to appreciate what they have.

So why the long story about our tough time starting out? Well, because I am now at the age when many of my peers are beginning to have their own kids, and I see them planning away. Sometimes, things don’t go as they planned, and they really struggle with the anxiety and fear that they feel. Even though I am a person who likes to plan things so I can be prepared, I suppose I’m also one who is flexible enough to go with the flow when my plans decide they don’t like me. :) With parenting, so much you plan for isn’t going to happen. Or it will happen slightly differently. Or it will happen . . . two years after you thought it would. And that’s ok. It really is.

Life throws curveballs at us – you as an individual and a spouse must already know this. With kids thrown in the mix, the curveballs seem to come more frequently, or maybe we’re just less able to catch them bec ause our hands are busy changing diapers and pushing swings. You, as a mother and wife, you totally can handle those curveballs. You can! And your family isn’t going to go down the drain if things don’t happen perfectly. If you live in a cramped home for a few years, your kids will be fine. If they have to miss out on camp one summer because you’re moving or there is a death in the family, they will be fine. If the school in your area isn’t the greatest, they will be fine. It’s just up to you as the parent to see what your kids’ needs are, and then fill in the gaps where you can. If their school isn’t the best, you take extra time at home to teach them. If they miss camp one year . . . they may just miss camp one year. If they have to share a room with a sibling, cool – they’re learning how to get along with others.

So, Mandy, relax and let life happen. Plan what you can, and then remember that plans don’t always come to fruition, and that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Teach your kids to be able to handle most circumstances by MODELING that behavior. Teach them to be content with what they have by modeling that. Teach them to get creative when they’re stuck inside due to the weather.

Take a deep breath, remember that people all over have survived and THRIVED in worse circumstanes, and relax. It’s the easiest way to enjoy your family.


sarah said...

Love this and love you!

Mandy [Mandipidy] said...

Thank you so much for your advice Ashley! I am so thankful for your transparency and for sharing what you have learned with your own children... haha, and you couldn't have had more fitting advice for this uptight mama-to-be than to relax! :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Amen, sister. There is nothing like a baby to remind you that YOU are not in control.

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