Posted: Jul 05, 2012 12:00 PM
With parenting being the single biggest responsibility we may ever have in our life (besides marriage and buying a house), we can't help but wonder why there isn't a mandatory pre-parenting counseling class for soon-to-be parents. But thankfully, until that happens, you have us. And we are about to fill you in on what we think you need to know before you take the plunge.

Many couples before getting married are required to attend premarital counseling classes, and we think that is a great idea. Marriage is a huge commitment and couples should be well aware of what they are up against.

So then, we wonder, why isn't there such a thing as pre-parenting counseling? A series of classes that are required so that soon-to-be parents know full well how their lives are about to change. And maybe, perhaps, it should be taught by the already experienced parents who know a thing or two about sleepless nights and parental guilt.

But since there isn't such a thing (yet), we decided to go to the next best thing. We're going to give you a chance to hear it here first, directly from parents who want to share the most important things they wish they'd been told in a pre-parenting class of their own.

  • Remember your spouse. It's easy to get caught up in baby making and raising children, but nothing can be easier than a happy marriage.
  • Nothing will ever prepare you for the sleep deprivation you will experience as a new adoptive parent to an older infant. Not law school, not insomnia, nothing. You will be tired in a way you never knew possible and it will seem like there's no end in sight. And yet, it will all be worth it. -Laura Willard
  • Nothing will ever prepare you for the sleep deprivation, period.
  • You will feel guilt like you have never known. But, it's all because you are experiencing a love greater than anything you've ever known as well. The two go hand in hand. Get cozy... it's a lifelong journey.
  • Every child is so different. What may work for one will not likely work for another. And, once you think you've figured it out, their needs will change! Be flexible, try new things, and give yourself grace as you work to figure it out! -Tera Allen
  • Having your own children is an opportunity to repeat what was great and forget what was bad about your childhood. You can do it differently if you need to. You already know what to do. Don't be scared. -Karin Taylor
  • Pace yourself, never stop working to be a better parent, forgive yourself when you blow it, don't spend too much time with them, but make them a priority every day. Your mood sets the tone of the entire household. Look to scripture when your not sure what do to, God is the perfect example. Be thankful He fills in the gaps when you fail. Always make each day a new day. -Kelly Gehlhaar

A little note specifically for the Dad

Sex life? Yes, there is supposed to be a question mark, because that is precisely what you'll be asking your wife. What exactly happened to it? -Many husbands who wish to remain anonymous

And remember the most important rule of pre-parenting counseling... Not all advice is good advice.

It is possible to know more than the baby books because those books have not spent every waking moment with your child like you have. God put a mommy gut in there for a reason, listen to it. -Bethany Zabrosky

To not listen to all the other mom advice about misc. things, such as: No TV before age 2, no Happy Meals before age 5, you must baby-proof everything and make your house guests try to figure out how to open a drawer, that if your kid is not potty-trained by 3 he has issues. I know mom's give advice, but all kids are different. -Michelle Bethune

I think it is important to know who you can go to for advice and be able to brush the other moms comments off. You have to choose what works for you and your kids and just because it works for someone else doesn't mean it will for you. Also, when it comes to decisions for your family, being educated is the best thing you can do. -Jo Brock

Last but not least

Know you are never alone in any stage, in any moment of any day. Someone has walked that path before you. Find them and learn.

Now have fun trying. Sometimes that's the best part!

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Topics: family planning