There is one universal truth when it comes to being a first time parent. We have absolutely no clue what we are doing.

Sure, some of us read the books. We think we’ve got a solid grasp on what to do with the tiny humans in our lives because we’ve read the “instructions.” The problem is that the worldwide parenting library is basically like having access to the instruction manuals to every piece of furniture in the Ikea catalogue. You may want to build a “Bryggja”, but it turns out that you actually have the pieces to a “Vejmon”. Meanwhile, your parents are telling you how they built their “Ypperlig”, and you are wondering if it would have been worth it to pay someone build the damn thing for you.

Yet we figure it out. We use the parts that we are given, and through perseverance, ingenuity, and improvisation, we find a way to make something functional that, let’s face it, we probably spent too much money on anyway.

That’s all we can do as parents: make sure that we are constantly doing everything in our power to create the best person that we can. We can’t compare our parenting tool box to those of other people because we are all raising unique individuals utilizing a unique perspective that we’ve each gained throughout the circumstances of our own lives.

My boys, despite using the same raw materials, came with their own distinct parts and require their own complex set of instructions. While one of my sons walked at 10 months, his twin brother took just over a year. One of them struggled with tactile sensory issues while the other had a bout with torticollis as an infant.  At the moment, they’re both struggling with processing the anger and frustration that comes with constantly hanging out with the same person every single day for your entire life.

Through all of it, we haven’t had the slightest clue what we’re doing. We continue to make it up as we go along. That’s really what parenting is. It’s a constant struggle and adaptation to a unique set of circumstances that no one has ever faced before. Sure, people have had similar experiences to you, but given the absolute number of variables in a person’s life as well as the complexities of human existence, no one has gone through exactly what you’re going through.

So my advice to you? Embrace it. Don’t give up. Keep pushing forward and doing everything you can to create the best tiny humans with the pieces and tools you have at your disposal. Compare your parenting skills and your children to no one.

Sure your “Vejmon” might not look like the one in the store. Maybe you lost a few of those weird little dowel rods, and you didn’t have a hex key. Maybe your little “Vejmon” came with some parts for a “Hasselvika”, and you ended up with a cool piece of hybrid furniture. Regardless of what it took to create it, in the end, if all goes right, you’ll have something you can be proud of.

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