(I literally just sat down and typed up all of the general advice I give people when they ask… you didn’t ask… but here you go anyway hahaha)
If you are considering starting a family with someone, imagine what it would be like to raise that particular person as a child. Because you will be if you have a family with them. All the weaknesses and quirks they have will be present in miniature form. Is that something you can handle?
If you’re test piloting a new relationship or friendship you can get a snapshot of the person’s recreational style by taking them on a hike.
There are two types of people on a hike…
Person A: “Let’s go all the way to the top.” “C’mon, don’t slow down! Let’s see how fast we can do it!” “Let’s hang glide off the top and then go jet skiing after this.”
Person B: “Wow, a creek! Let’s stop here and talk about life for an hour. Take a picture of me by this cool tree. Let’s follow this butterfly!”
Likely you found one of these hikes more fun than the other. The way someone hikes so often reflects their vacation style (packed itinerary vs relaxing) and just how they like to have fun in general. I’m not saying you wouldn’t be compatible with said person, because A and B people can help balance each other out. But I AM saying that this conflict will come up. And it’s just good to have a heads up on that and also test how flexible the other person is to the things you like to do.
My top parenting advice is to watch Daniel Tiger together with your child. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is written with extensive input from early learning specialists and it models the authoritative parenting approach extremely well. The little songs are short and easy to use in the moment. I just find Daniel Tiger super informative and helpful for both the parent and child.
The other parenting advice (information) I have, is that you will be parenting yourself as you parent your children. Your children are not half as hard as parenting yourself so be an extra kind parent. Give yourself kind words when things are tough. Don’t force yourself to live up to anyone else’s expectations, let you be you! Take an interest in yourself and what you like and allow yourself to explore that. You know, all good kind parent stuff.
Here’s something, a secret more than advice. Your thirties are going to be way better than your twenties. Yes, you’re skinnier in your twenties. Yes, you have more freedom to play around. But your thirties is when you finally step in to yourself. You’re smarter and generally more capable. Thirties are really really great. Don’t let the anti-aging cosmetic marketing team fool you.
And finally, meet yourself where you are. Whatever that means for you. Little by little DOES make a HUGE difference. If you can’t do it all do the smallest part of it. Wash one pot. Clip your fingernail. Write one email. Have some takeout today. Good job! You did something, anything. And that’s all you need. The smallest steps have saved my butt.