Tips for New Parents

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby that won't sleep for more than ten minutes, lets out wallops of explosive poop that smears all over his back and refuses to latch on your breast for a feeding.

Ah, the wonderful joys of parenthood.

The summer isn't just wedding season. It's also baby season! So cut that "gender reveal" cake, pull up a chair and let's get into the world of new parenthood.

First thing you need to know, as soon as that baby pops into the world, everyone becomes a child expert. Oh, and everything you do is wrong. You'll have, on average, five different people a day giving you "helpful suggestions" on how to become a better mother than the one God made you to become. Out of those five, about two will be complete strangers. (I bet you never knew that the stranger behind you at the grocery store had so much wonderful advice on teething.) And while most of this will be intended as helpful, it will come of sounding judgmental. Blame it on the hormones.

Second, you know how you waited for years and years to get pregnant, then carried the baby for nine months and couldn't wait to snuggle with your little precious gem? Well, get in line, friend. People will be coming out of the woodwork to hold your baby, even if you're trying to get the baby to sleep, even if it's cold and flu season, even if the baby is tethered to your breast. Someone will appear out of the mist to hold and snuggle your child, leaving you annoyed and frustrated. Blame hormones.

Three, if you can't breastfeed or simply decide not to, get ready for the back lashing because obviously you don't care about your child. (Please note my sarcasm.)

"Don't you realize that breastfeeding is the best for your child? It prevents allergies!" says the woman standing in front of you at the post office. "Gee, I never knew that. I've only been told that one hundred times, but I thought it was a lie. I'm so glad you brought that to my attention and make me feel even worse that my own body won't produce the nutrients for my child. Thanks for reminding me that I have to buy formula and how horrible I am as a mother."

NOTE : You're not horrible!! Seriously, if you can't or don't breastfeed, please don't beat yourself up. Also know that there are plenty of women out there in the same boat going through the same thing. Seek these women out for company.

Four, you will experience exhaustion like never before in your life, and it will never end. Never. End.

Five, the terrible twos are the "Terrible twos." Not the "terrific twos." Brace yourself, because not only will your sweet angel learn the word "no," he'll also learn to throw mega tantrums everywhere at anytime. Oh, and the terrible twos last anywhere from one year to four years. Enjoy.

Okay, so if you're not scared off by my rant, you've proven yourself brave. You'll need that virtue. You'll also need an abundance of patience, courage, resolve, grit and love.

Babies change everything for the rest of your life. And while being a parent has it's hard times, it's also a journey of love beyond your imagination. God has intrusted you with this tiny human being, to nurture and love forever. It's no small feat. It shouldn't be easy, and it isn't. But it's amazing. You'll watch your child explore the world from a pure and innocent point-of-view and become totally amazed that this person loves you, unconditionally. It's pretty awesome.

The best tip I ever got was to simply trust yourself and pray. Remember that God is creating your child's testimony. God is in charge and you have to believe that He knows what He's doing. Give your child scripture so even if they turn away from God later they'll have an established foundation to fall back on.

Relax and enjoy the season of life you're living. It goes fast.

Remember, God gave you your baby, your specific baby, because you are the one he wants to raise that child. So use that knowledge to help your confidence as a parent.

What are some parenting tips that worked for you?