If you've survived year one of raising your first child, congratulations. But guess what? You've still got another 17 legally-obligated years to go. That first year as a new parent sure is a trip. You're pretty much making everything up as you go. But what do you wish someone would have told you to better prepare yourself for that nerve-wracking first year of parenthood?
During all of those sleepless nights, would you have listened to anyone who tried to tell you that this time is going to fly by so fast that you need to soak up every second you can (even though your brain can’t actually capture it all)?
Did you keep your baby alive and healthy for the first year? That's honestly the bar for being a good parent. Whether it's the baby-industrial complex or other parents making you believe your kid needs every new invention and product out there for their protection or enrichment. They really just need food, sleep, hygiene, and love.
They might break you (emotionally and physically) but you won't break them. Honest. It's OK to let your baby explore a little. Keeping a watchful eye is not the same as hovering.
Also, it’s okay to feel unprepared. And even when you do feel “prepared” you probably can never truly be prepared.
Real talk: You will feel guilty for going back to work. You will be paranoid about things both big and small pertaining to your ability to be a parent. You won't love every single moment when everyone tells you that you will. There will even be times when you second-guess the whole having a baby endeavor or don't even like your baby. These are all OK things to feel and experience.
You've got the hang of this whole parenting thing now, but looking back on that first year, there were probably a few things you could have been given a heads up about. We want to hear about any pieces of new parent advice you wish you could have received in the comments below. They just might be featured in an upcoming BuzzFeed Community post!