By Christine Knight
The way I see it, life is all about trying new things, making huge mistakes, learning from said mistakes and then moving on. There's no need to spend too much time dwelling on what could have been done differently. With that being said, becoming a parent for the first time is tough. Like all new parents, I didn't have a clue what I was doing -- and I made a ton of choices that I look back on with a bit of regret. To help other new moms and dads, I'm sharing six that are still on my mind:
1. Buying expensive clothes.
Seriously, why did I spend so much money on cute dresses and coats that I was too scared to even put on my child in case she spit up on them? Buying "special occasion" outfits for a baby was one of my biggest wastes of money as a new parent. "Special occasion"? Who was I kidding -- it was a special occasion if we made it out of the house most days! Needless to say, most of these frilly fancy outfits have ended up on eBay or passed down to other kids who will likely never wear them as well.
2. Putting hair accessories in my baby's hair.
My baby was bald for her first two full years, save for a few strands of wispy blonde hair. Desperate to make her look girlier, I tracked down non-slip hair clips for "ultra fine baby hair" and stuck them on her two strands of hair. When I look back at photos, it just looks like she has a piece of felt glued to her bald head. Major fail.
3. Purchasing gear we didn't need.
Before baby came along, I went nuts ordering every single baby item I laid eyes upon. I wanted it all -- just in case -- but learned that some things really aren't necessary. The two items that stand out as my stupidest purchases are a wipes warmer (which I returned when I came to my senses) and an expensive, giant stroller that I came to loathe. I still wish I'd researched other stroller brands more thoroughly and bought a better designed, more practical and less pricey model.
4. Signing up for infant classes.
I blame this on my desperation to have adult company and my desire to fill the endless-seeming days. I enrolled my baby in countless music, gym and movement classes that were often a total waste of time and money considering my baby's early personality (she hated them all and screamed bloody murder when we went). If I could do it all over, I'd just take her to the park and let her watch the birds and squirrels until she was old enough to show an interest in things for herself.
5. Reading too many baby books.
Because (like all new parents) I knew nothing about parenting, I read every baby book recommended to me in hopes that I would learn all the answers. Instead, I had a baby who didn't succumb to the shushing, swinging, swaying or any of the countless other tips provided to get babies to sleep or stop crying. It left me feeling like a parenting failure--that is, until I threw out all of those books and started going with my gut instinct instead.
6. Taking no for an answer.
In my experience, our instinct as parents always trumps other people's opinions. We know our children better than anyone does, so when something isn't right, we feel it deep inside. During the first six weeks of my baby's life, I was at the pediatrician at least once a week, sometimes more, searching for an answer to why she was so miserable. I knew something was wrong, even though the doctor told me she was just a colicky baby and that she'd outgrow her symptoms. After getting frustrated, I started doing some research myself and demanded to see a specialist (against the pediatrician's advice), who confirmed that my baby needed medical help. I only wish I'd had the guts to stand up to the doctor sooner and save my baby weeks of needless misery.
Do you have any parenting regrets? Share below.
Photos courtesy of Christine Knight
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This piece was originally published by Christine Knight on Mommy Nearest. Christine is a writer, editor and marketing strategist. Her blog, Adventure, Baby!, is a guide to navigating the world and parenthood. Follow her travel, food and parenting mishaps over Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.