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The True Essentials: What every child actually needs

Last week, I wrote a post about baby essentials every first time mom needs. Of course, I prefaced it by saying that they were essentials for our family, and may not necessarily be for all families. Today I’m writing the post that I am confident can be shared with all parents – new and seasoned – about what each new baby essentially needs.

1. Love. I would like to think all babies are brought into this world through an act of love, between two loving partners. However, this is not always the case. But whatever the circumstances of their journey earthside, I am confident that when that child is met with an enduring love by their birth or adoptive parents, all will be right in the world.
2. Flexibility. There is no one size fits all guidebook to parenting. So even if you have read a million books out there on the various styles of raising a baby, you will soon realize that your book smarts can only take you so far. Your child is like no other individual out there. They will constantly be growing and evolving. I will admit that I love my books and have read my fair share on parenting. They have been great guide posts, but at the end of the day, nothing compares to the experience of getting to know my children that has served me the best in how to raise them. But as I mentioned, they’re constantly evolving, so you also need to continually get to know them and who they’re becoming. It’s both tedious and beautiful at the same time.
3. Dreams. You will be your child’s number one fan. They will look to you for support and encouragement to pursue their dreams. So make sure you help them along on their journey to dream big. When they’re young, their dreams might seem small (making the biggest ice cream sundae for dessert) but remember to encourage them with the same enthusiasm you would encourage them to be an astronaut. Some of my favorite moments of the day are just imagining things with my preschooler. We come up with the most elaborate meals to eat for our imaginary trips to the moon, often involving sprinkles, chocolate chips and marshmallows.
4. Humble Yourself: Having and raising kids has been hands down the most humbling thing I have ever done. While I am trying to put in place loving and respectful boundaries, and act like a put together emotionally stable parent, some days I may actually be a hot mess inside. I’ll often read a book that I connect with mind, body and soul, then try to apply it to my parenting, and my kids will reject it. It may not be the style for them. And it is my job to admit when something isn’t working, then tweak it, or forego it altogether. Another major component of humbling yourself is apologizing to your kids. When I have made a mistake or wrong assumption, or simply yelled at my kids when it wasn’t warranted, I apologize to them. By doing so, I am teaching them how to do the same and practicing what I preach. Kids are master imitators, and it starts from a very young age. First words, and social skills are often modeled after what they see and hear from their caregivers.
5. Be in the Moment: The statement you are about to read is one you will hear OVER and OVER again in your parenting journey: the days are long, but the years are short. OR “it goes by so fast!” You will be told this by your loved ones, seasoned parents and complete strangers. Don’t take it personally, especially when you’re knee deep in the long days. Because one day, you will realize just how true this statement is, and maybe even mourn how quickly your kids are growing up. I know how tempting it will be to capture every little moment with your smart phones and cameras, but I actually want to urge you to get out from behind your lenses, and just Be. In. The. Moment. Get down face to face with your little one and roll around with them sans technology. You will remember that moment so vividly because you have experienced it with all of your senses, not just what the camera sees. Whenever I get a whiff of my baby’s lotion, it can turn me into a pile of mush because I remember my face being squished up against his to smell him, which often caused a chain reaction of baby laughter that I can still hear long after he’s gone to bed. Those are the moments etched into my mind that only I have access to, which is such a sacred thing. Instagram and Twitter will never have that moment. That one is only for me, his mama. I urge you to create those moments just for you.

 

I hope after reading this post, you have realized that you already¬†have everything you need inside of you to raise a baby. And if you don’t, I have no doubts that your child will give you a lot of these traits soon after you meet them as long as you are open to receiving them. Seasoned parents, if you have anything else to add, please do so in the comments. New parents, get ready for the ride of your life!

Savor every moment!

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