Every first-time parent knows firsthand the mixture of excitement and nervousness brought on by the thought of raising a child. A lot of things will change, and you have to take full responsibility for your little one. And as rewarding parenthood is, it will definitely be challenging.
The good news is you can always prepare yourself by reading books or asking experienced parents. Especially nowadays, almost every information is easily accessible with the help of the internet. Maybe you want a list of baby must-haves and learn more about how you can make breastfeeding more comfortable with nursery glider.
And since you have found this article, we know that you are looking for tips on how to ace your first year of parenthood. Below are some words of advice that you can apply to your new life as a parent.
Communicate with Your Partner
Parenthood, like all relationships, requires good communication. And this is not only applicable to you and your children. It is important that you have a clear discussion with your partner for easier co-parenting. What we mean by this is for you to be open with your needs and even struggles. If an aspect of your current parenting situation is bothering you, it is better that you tell it to your partner rather than keeping it in secret.
You will find yourself less stressed because your partner can express his/her opinions about different situations. Not to mention, open communication will prevent the two of you from feeling resentful over each other. After all, you can’t be mad at your partner if he/she failed to do things at a certain degree that you expected.
Both of you can also discuss about how you want to divide certain tasks (e.g., who’s in charge of diaper changes.) This way, you and your partner can meet halfway, and both parents can do baby duties in a more conveniently. For example, if you need to rest after you come home, you can take a different time shift from your partner.
Lower Your Expectations and Avoid Comparisons
As we have briefly mentioned earlier, you can’t set expectations for your partner if you haven’t discussed them with him/her. But this lowering of expectations is not only applicable to your co-parent. In fact, you should also apply this to yourself and on the parenting itself.
During the time before you have even brought your baby home, you probably have an idea of what’s it going to be like when he/she arrives. Perhaps you want to be that picture-perfect mom/dad who does things right off a heartfelt family movie.
We hate to break it to you, but eventually, you may end up letting go or even not doing any of the things you imagined. You might tell yourself you will never rely on a nanny or that you will never use formula. But every day is unpredictable, and you will have to jump over the hurdles along the way. Even if this means letting go of your expectations.
Another potentially unhealthy habit that you must let go now is comparing yourself to others. This includes different aspects of parenting, and even who you are as a parent. We understand how difficult it is not to feel bad when you see other parents who seem to be winning the parenting jackpot. But understand that not all lifestyles and babies are alike.
Be Open to the Help and Advice From Others
Somewhat related to the first to subjects, rookie parents usually have a bit of pride in them. Perhaps they’re afraid for people to think that they can’t handle parenthood. But chances are, your friends and family don’t think that way. In fact, they would be more than happy to help and guide you along the way.
You don’t have to tackle parenthood alone, and maybe the input from your friends and family will make it easier. You can consider different insights, especially from those who have experienced/experiencing parenting as well. However, it is possible that their ways are different from yours. And before you start comparing, know that different doesn’t automatically mean one is wrong.
When you let yourself have a break from the bar you’ve set, you will find yourself happier. And when you’re happier, you’ll do things better and easier. Accept that people around you are trying to help not because they think you can’t do it. Needing a bit of help doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. Actually, it is the opposite because you want what’s best for your baby.
Appreciate You and Your Partner’s Efforts
Other than open communication, appreciation is also important when it comes to parenting. In particular, we’re talking about appreciation on your partner and onto yourself. Parenthood, especially the first year, is tiring and even overwhelming. Small acts of making your partner feel loved like by saying, “Thank you, you’re doing a great job taking care of our baby!” goes a long way.
And when it comes to self-appreciation, you can allow yourself to have some “me time” every now and then. In fact, why not also use this as a “together time” with your partner. Like we’ve mentioned earlier, allowing yourself to take a break and let other people help you will also help you to be a better parent.
If you’re overworked, stressed, and angry all the time, you will have a harder time doing simple tasks. Parenting may mean sacrifices for your little one, but giving yourself time to breathe can make these tasks more doable. If you devote time for yourself and your relationship, you’re also building a stronger rock to hold onto during those days where you feel so overwhelmed.
Take One Day at a Time
It will help for your convenience if you do some things ahead of time, especially on parent duties. This may mean stocking on breast milk before a trip or buying car seats that your baby will use once he/she outgrows his/her current one. However, sometimes, parents tend to overwork and pressure themselves. You might start going into a spiral if you feel like you failed to be advanced for a month.
The key to avoiding this is to set a realistic list of duties. We don’t mean that you have to procrastinate because that’s a no-no. But just do the things according to a timetable that is not too late nor too advanced.
And lastly, don’t forget to laugh. Parenthood is stressful, but it also full of ridiculous moments comparable to sitcoms that have a laugh track. It is indeed a duty, but if you start to enjoy what you’re doing, it wouldn’t feel like a 24/7 job that you hate waking up to.