Fortunately, parenting doesn’t have anything to do with experience. Sure, it’s nice if you know how to change diapers, make bottles, and lull babies to sleep ahead of time. Really though, that’s the least important part. There are countless baby books, blogs, and videos that can help teach you the simple day-to-day tasks. Plus, every checkout line you stand in with your kids will elicit unwanted advice from strangers.

The reality of parenting is that it’s tough. It’s so much harder than people like to talk about. It’s also totally worth it. Parenting is the most rewarding job you will ever have. Being a good mom or dad doesn’t require experience, but it does require selflessness, patience, empathy, and energy.

Also, every single parenting experience is unique. It differs from person to person and from one child to the next. You won’t know what type of parent you’ll be until you are in the thick of it. Before having children, I just knew I was going to be the best mom ever. I laugh at that thought now. Most days I would take “hot mess” as a compliment. I have seen people who didn’t want to be parents become some of the most awesome parents I’ve ever seen. There is just no way to predict or properly prepare for parenthood.

Parenting will be the most exciting roller coaster you will ever ride. There will be days that you do everything right and you feel like you are on top of the world. There will likely be other days you go to your bedroom to cry and question your life choices. The ups and downs and everything in between are normal. All it takes on a bad day is for your little one to reach over and touch your hand. Your heart will melt, and you’ll remember why you started this journey in the first place.

Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and mother of two currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees’ rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life. You can read her blog at //