I envy this internet generation when it comes to parenting. When I was a new mum I had nothing to refer to for information. My parents weren't exactly pillars of excellence and I had no intention of repeating their mistakes, so (other than a book or two) I was pretty much on my own. Google would have been my best friend if I'd had any idea who Google was back in the dim dark past of early motherhood.
IGNORANCE IS BLISS
One of the benefits of youth is the ability to fly by the seat of your pants. You think it would be nice to have a baby, you make one, manage to get one out into the world and then you get to take that bundle home with you and start molding it into a worthwhile, competent, independent human being. How did we not realize what a huge undertaking that was? We just blithely muddled through and somehow our babies survived.....and thrived!
PEAS IN A POD?
I was under the misapprehension of thinking that children would be a blend of their parents. I thought you would take the personality of each parent, meld them together and the children would be somewhere in the middle. I thought our children would have equal parts of my husband and myself - if it was a continuum with my husband at one end, and me at the other, then they would be smack bang somewhere in the middle.
Boy was I kidding myself! We ended up with two polar opposites - I don't think there is one personality trait that they share. It's like our son went completely down and past my husband's end of the continuum and our daughter went way past me and off the end of my continuum. All the lessons we learned with our quiet, introverted, settled son were completely useless when applied to our extroverted, social and vocal daughter. Why did nobody tell me these things???
THAT LACK OF SLEEP
One thing both our children had in common was their refusal to sleep through the night for the first couple of years. They weren't appallingly awful and waking all the time, but they took many months to get to the point of only waking once or twice and then a couple of years to not wake at all.
Our son and daughter-in-law have just had their first baby - they read all the books, did all the research, applied the strategies, did the swaddling, and lo and behold, that child was sleeping through the night at TWO MONTHS old! I don't know if she will continue to be so amazing, but I would have killed for a good night's sleep somewhere in those soul sucking sleepless nights of new babies and unsettled sleeping patterns.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
You certainly don't know what you don't know. Maybe some women of my generation learned their parenting skills from their mothers and their aunties and the older females of their household. Me.......no such luck! I think those same women also had babysitters on tap, and advice, and support from their mothers. Me.....not so much! I would have loved to have that village it takes to raise a child. But, despite being village-less, we bumbled through and I look at our children now and figure we must have gotten things pretty right because they've turned out to be fine human beings.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing - it lets you realize all the things you could have done to make your life easier. At the time you did the best you could and no child could really ask for more from their parents. There was love in our hearts, good intentions, and a dollop of discipline, we muddled through and thanked our lucky stars everyone survived intact. Hopefully the Google generation will have a bit more of a clue about what they're doing than we had in our day!