If the right side and wrong side are identical, I put a small safety pin on the right side, down towards my cast on row, so I'll know. If they aren't identical, you can look at it and tell.
Keeping up with a stitch pattern was hard at first. I usually print out the instructions with a couple of spaces between each row and move a piece of paper down the page as I complete each row.
And if it's a more complicated stitch pattern that I can't memorize, I make sure each row is written out. Some stitch patterns will say, for example, "as row 2" or maybe "purl all even rows" or something similar, so I make sure I have it written out instead of having to skip back to that row to see what to do.