I'm a slow learner, but I AM learning about this whole "mothering" and "homemaker" thing. And I've only been at it for a little over 2 years. So obviously, these lessons only go through age two of child raising. HAHAHA!
Things I learned:
1. I don't clean up the toys until nap time and bed time. It's a losing battle and a complete waste of time to pick up toys while children are still up and playing.
2. If you want to have a good nap time, have a really fun (and exhausting) play time.
3. When it's over 100 degrees, the best thing to do is just to give in and pull out the wading pools and sprinklers. Don't forget the popsicles and sunscreen.
4. Children learn by watching. Not eating dinner together deprives them of valuable skills. I learned this one the hard way. Within one week of us all eating together (with or without Daddy) Hayden learned to drink from a cup, use a spoon and fork, and sit in a regular chair (not a high chair). Lose the high chair as soon as possible. It might save a little mess, but it's not teaching them much.
5. Toddlers don't need bathing suits just to hang out in the backyard.. Just send them out to the wading pool fully clothed. This is so much easier and protects them so much better from the sun than some skimpy swimming trunks.
6. Most of the baby gear is optional, even unnecessary.
7. You only need to buy one good sippy cup per child. Since I've done this I've saved myself TONS of dishes and finding weird stuff growing in cups. If there is only one, they know which one is theirs, and you'll never leave anything in there if you know you need to wash it each night. Hayden has the green cup and Corbin the orange version - simple.
8. Just give them water. I stumbled into this one through Hayden's intolerance of juices. He got horrible diaper rash with anything acidic so we avoided juices. Hayden's cup always has water in it, he only gets one other drink and that's milk. Saves a lot of money in the food budget and probably the dentist trips down the road. Since Hayden only drank water, we've started the same thing with Corbin now, and he's just fine with it.
9. Pay attention to what you put in their crib that first year. That random blanket or stuffed animal just might be "THE" blanket or "THE" dog they drag around with them for years. It better wash well because it will be poop and pee covered at some point.
10. Learn to laugh at them and yourself. It's cheaper than drinking.
And an extra...
11. Sometimes you might just need that glass of wine at 5pm - and that's ok.