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Roma Downey

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A Parenting Mantra: Need Teaches A Plan

Posted: 02/13/2012 6:58 am

There's an old Irish saying "Need teaches a plan."

I remember, as if it was only yesterday, holding my baby daughter, Reilly, at the hospital. This brand new, beautiful little angel resting in my arms was suddenly and wonderfully my whole world. The nurses and doctors were so sweet and helpful. It was all like a wonderful dream.
That was until I was rolled out of the hospital and I realized that the nurses and doctors wouldn't be following me home. I was on my own.

"Oh my gosh, how do I raise one of these things!?" was the first thought that went through my head. I'd never done this before. I literally had no idea how to put on a diaper. I was so clueless, I put it on backward! If you ever come over to my house, I'll show you the videotape of me making a total fool of myself. Of course, looking back now, what's clear was that I was totally unqualified to be a parent. Despite the books I'd read and the classes I'd taken, I really only knew one thing -- that I knew nothing.

Like most new Moms, I got no sleep in the first several months. I was too busy triple-checking car seats, running back and forth to the pediatrician every time Reilly made an unfamiliar gurgle, and cutting up peas so small that there would be no chance of an accidental choking. But the need to protect this precious life taught me a plan. Slowly, I figured it out.

Let's face it -- being a parent isn't easy. In my own life, there have been moments where I've tried to be perfect but fallen a wee bit short. But if parenthood has taught me nothing else, it has taught me that there is no such thing as "perfect" -- but that you always have to make "perfect" your goal. Like professional athletes, as parents we must strive for nothing less than perfect for ourselves, because we owe it to our children to be the very best we can be. But -- and this is an important but -- not being perfect doesn't mean we fail. Baseball players aren't criticized for not hitting the ball every time -- but that doesn't mean they don't try.

One thing I can tell you is that having a little help along the way sure makes being a good parent easier. You need the support of friends, the extra hands of family, and even a dash of help from unconventional sources. That's one of the reasons I created "Little Angels", a new series just for our wee ones. In the series, two children, Alex and Zoe, become friends with eight adorable angels, who offer guidance, support and fun. Your kids will love their new cherub chums -- and you will love having the peace-of-mind knowing your children are watching something safe and entertaining while you cook dinner, answer the door, open the mail -- or any one of the thousand other little tasks Moms must attend to every day. If you want, you can check out a trailer here.

Now that I have a teenager, I can tell you from experience that being a mother will always be a challenge. Whether your Little Angel is 8 weeks, 8 months, or 18 years, I can promise you that there will be many times that you will question your decisions. But if the desire is always to be the best mom you can be, then that need will teach you a plan.