by Jill Smokler
A good friend of mine is expecting her first child any day. For her baby shower last month, the attendees were asked to jot down a few pieces of advice to pass on to the mom-to-be. Most women came up with great reminders of things to do -- take pictures, keep a baby book, take vacations, etc. -- but when I got home, it dawned on me that the most important things I've learned about parenthood have been the don'ts. Don'ts like these ...
1. Never claim -- or even believe -- that you have mastered parenting. Once you do, you will inevitably be proven wrong by the universe.
2. Never judge another parent's parenting. You've never parented their kid and they'll never parent yours.
3. Never let another parent make you feel badly about your parenting. See above.
4. Never sweat the small stuff. The messy playroom, the mismatched outfit, the Lunchable you had to pack that day you were in a rush ... at the end of the day, none of it really matters.
5. Never stop buying baby wipes. You'll use them long after you've stopped cleaning dirty diapers.
6. Never lose your sense of humor. It's the only thing keeping you (somewhat) sane.
7. Never let mom guilt get the best of you. You're doing the best you can, and that's all you can do.
8. Never say never. Because you just might find yourself alone at Disney World with three kids under 6 longing for a leash for your youngest.
9. Never stress about silly milestones. Your kid most likely won't head to kindergarten wearing diapers and sucking on a pacifier.
10. No matter how long and trying the day, never go to bed without telling your kid you love them.
Add your wisdom to the list -- what else should parents never do?