First time parents are often considered a joke. Everyone rolls their eyes a little when the see a new pregnant couple over loaded with the latest and greatest gadgets out of the pricey baby store. People laugh even more when they hear how excited and/or nervous new parents are about everything their little angel does. And when babies get sick/eat something questionable/do something the least bit dangerous? Well, only new parents get really worried and uptight about it.
While I think there are a lot of things that new parents worry about that parents with a lot of experience don't (like maybe my baby will never sleep/stop crying/walk/talk, etc.), new parenting has it's place in the grand scheme of things, and I think that new parents are not the joke they are made out to be. After all, new parenting actually has some pretty good results to its credit. Eldest children have higher IQ's than their siblings. They also tend to hit milestones sooner. Eldest children and only children also tend to be very responsible and independent. (There are, of course, exceptions!) Does this mean that eldest or only children are in any way superior to subsequent children children? Absolutely not! Eldest children are also punished more, tend to be perfectionists, and have their foibles just like all children do. But what this does prove is that first time parenting works just as well as experienced parenting does.
Perhaps this is because, for most parents, all parenting is first time parenting. Every time we welcome another child in our home, we become new parents once more. We are new parents of two (or three, or four, or six, or seventeen!) children. We are new parents to a girl or a boy or simply this girl or this boy. Yes, we don't have the same worries. Experienced parents may have an easier time realizing that they will survive the sleep deprivation, crying fits, tantrums, illnesses, etc, but even experienced parents worry about the job they are doing and the new experiences they encounter. (Tandem nursing, three or four kids all with different needs who are asking for help, whether every child is getting the attention they deserve, the list goes on and on for the "new" experiences that subsequent parenting brings). Each child also brings his or her own challenges to the picture. I often hear from experienced mothers, "My son never did "x!" I don't even know where to begin! or even "My eldest twins never did "y!" You'd think I'd seen it all, but this?"
Every day, if we let ourselves, we wake up new parents with fresh insights, worries, and approaches. Our children almost insure it by developing into the new, fresh, ever-evolving, little people they are every day. If we allow ourselves to be forgiving of our "first" time mistakes as parents, I think we'll find that we can also have much to praise about ourselves (if only for our ability to survive). Just keep your connection to each of your children strong and your love (and forgiveness) of both yourself and others transparent and you will get it right the first time, every time.
Lots of love to every first time parent out there!
Thanks for reading.