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Parents Panel: Mums and dads share the advice they'd give themselves on day one

What would you tell yourself now, looking back?

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AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way.

Becoming a parent for the first time can be an overwhelming mess of confusion, emotions and self-doubt. By the time you’re a few months or years along the road, you’ll either wish you knew then what you know now – or you’ll be glad you had no idea what was ahead.

This week, we asked our panel…

What parenting advice would you have given yourself on day one?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly Source:

1. You’ll feel like ‘you’ again soon, but it takes a while: I could write a book to myself of everything I have learned about myself, my daughter and parenting since Clíodhna was born 23 months ago. However I really struggled with the transition of becoming a Mum and think the following few lines probably would have meant the most… 

‘Yes you have become a mother, but you are still you. It will be some time before you feel like yourself again, but I promise you that it will happen. Enjoy the journey and have faith that you are not lost in this new title of ‘Mammy”.

- Riona Flood

2. Squeeze in sleep whenever you can! There’s a lot I’d tell myself but the big one would be to sleep more at the start. Have naps during the day.

- Marta Lisiecka

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3. It’s nappy changing, not rocket science: I had no experience with babies so with our eldest, everything was a first (first nappy, first bath, first feed by myself). I would be close to panic doing any new task in case I did it wrong. Looking back, I wasted so much energy stressing about the small stuff when it wasn’t important.

- Ken Hyland

4. Don’t get bogged down in other people’s advice: You know your own child best and if something doesn’t feel or look right, trust yourself. Do what you think is best and not what everyone else thinks you should.

- Denise Cumiskey

5. And you’ll never have it all figured out, so just roll with it…

On day one, the only advice I would give would be to be prepared to continually learn.  You will be overjoyed with happiness and in the doldrums of frustration and annoyance, so be willing and able to roll with those peaks and troughs. Life isn’t easy and for kids seeing it for the first time, it’s even less easy.

- Alan Dooley

Being a parent is an impossible job to prepare for. My advice to myself would have been to expect continuous and ongoing change… and a lot of physical and mental hard work. The rewards are worth all the effort.

- Ross Boxshall  

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