All caregivers have a list of things they wish they had known before they had children.
Some of us have so many things on this list that we could write a book.
There isn't an instruction book for raising kids, and many of us have to learn lessons the hard way. Through experience, trial and error.
Here are a few things local parents wish they knew before they had kids. And we hope you'll add to our "what I wish I knew then" list in the comments.
It's not always easy.
"You don't realize how much work it will be until you become a mommy. But I've also realized I can do it." Brittany Bean, a mom of twins in Moline.
(Read about these other parenting myths.)
"You can't control or fix everything." Jessica Gregory, a mom of two in Davenport.
(Find out what to do when you mess up as a parent.)
It's all about perspective.
"Every person has a different idea of picture perfect." Kacey Fleshman, a mom of one in Colona.
(Check out this post about Facebook vs. real life.)
Embrace the differences.
"Every mom is different. Every child is different. Nothing is black and white." Randi Rockwell, a mom of one in Rock Island.
(Here are seven more ways to be a better parent - right now.)
Ask for help.
"It's easy to feel helpless when you have a screaming three-year-old on your hip but your are not alone. There are people and organizations to help." Amy Jones, a mom of two in Bettendorf.
(Here are some of the best resources for parents in the Quad Cities.)
No child is perfect.
"All kids do distasteful things now and again. Your child's behavior isn't always a reflection of you as a parent." Shannon LaPay, a mom of one in Cordova.
(Read these tips to stop temper tantrums in their tracks.)
Some things are hereditary (even the good things).
"As protective I am of my boys, I never realized how protective they would be of me. I created two boys who care as much as I do." Nichole Femali, a mom of two in Geneseo.
(Check out these tips to avoid parental paralysis.)
Don't judge it until you do it.
"I have learned that each family must do what works for them. And I've learned not to judge others for the decisions they make for their children." Ally Willits, mom of one in Bettendorf.
(Encourage parents with these ideas.)
Parenting can be lonely.
"An infant doesn't have conversations." Sara White, a mom of three in Eldridge.
(Build your own parenting tribe.)
There may be no guidebook for parenting, but we can all learn from experiences and keep going.
What do you wish you would have known before having children?