Being a parent can certainly be a life-changing event. The responsibilities you have exceeded beyond just yourself, and now you have a new mouth to feed, clothe and clean up after. Although challenging, it can be extremely rewarding too. Sharing some tips to help you navigate through parenthood, especially if this is your firstborn. It’s truly the most rewarding thing you will do in your life.
Do Your Research
There’s so much to know about having a baby. Whether it’s your first child or you’ve done it before, every stage in a child’s development can be different for each one you have. When it comes to research, things develop and change too so one way of parenting that your parents did may be completely different for your generation. So start off doing your research and do it while you’re pregnant. Once you go on maternity leave, you’ll have more time and opportunity to do the reading and to ask the questions to your health professional. Take advantage of those around you who have already had children, especially anyone similar to your age as they can give you the honest advice you need that maybe the online sites might skip past. Online forums though can have a wealth of information on them covering absolutely everything, so it’s definitely worth taking advantage of if you can. Baby books are great too so if you have a birthday coming up or Christmas just around the corner, make sure it’s on Santa’s list. There’s so much to learn, and if you have a question like when do babies roll over? – well, it’ll be online or in a book somewhere.
When you have a child, it’s possibly the biggest change in your life where you end up not being selfish and putting someone before yourself. That also means that as a parent, you want to provide for your children. A roof over their heads, food in their belly and an education is the main focus but then there’s also their future to consider. What would you like to give them as a financial support? Would you want to give them a savings fund with just a little bit of money to get them started or would you like to fund their further education? Whatever it may be, it’s time to start saving. The earlier you can start, the better. Try to set goals where you can so that it helps motivate you to stay on track with your saving habits.
Attend Pre And Post-Baby Classes
Classes are a great chance for you and your partner to bond over the imminent arrival of your baby or if you’ve already had it and need to get some extra classes in stages of your baby’s development that you’re uncertain of. These classes are also really helpful to create a new circle of friends who are all going to be parents too. It means that you have a number of people who are all in the same boat and therefore can help with any problems or issues you face along the way. Start doing some digging around your local area, these classes will usually take place in communal spaces. See what your local schools may offer as well as community centers. The more you can get involved in these classes, the better.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask For Help
We all need help every so often, and it’s that acceptance that makes us brave. Some new parents are fearful of reaching out because there’s often some backlash by fellow parents who tell them they’re doing it wrong. It’s ok to make mistakes when you become a parent for the first time and even if it’s your second, third or fourth baby. Every human being is different, so one experience of parenting may be completely different to another child. Don’t be afraid to seek help when you’re struggling. Looking after a child when they’re just a baby is a full-time job in itself. If you’re with your partner, then it’s essential that you communicate and work together. Lack of sleep and constant crying from the baby can often increase stress levels and tension. The first person we lash out to is the one we love the most, and that’s ok sometimes, but if you’re working together, you’ll find it much easier.
Make a schedule and tell your partner if you need a break for a couple of hours. It’s all about the partnership you both have. If you’re on your own, then don’t forget about friends and family members. There will be so many that will want to help if you reach out.
Look After Your Own Wellbeing
As much as you are responsible for your own baby’s health, that shouldn’t be an excuse to forget to look after your own. Your health and mental wellbeing are very important, and you need to be the best version of yourself so that you give that energy and passion to your child. If you’re neglecting your health, not getting enough sleep or having a social life, you’re going to struggle. Again, it’s all about working with your partner, but it’s the little things you can do that make a big difference. Give yourself a spa-like evening when you’ve put the baby to bed or unwind with a movie night. Get a babysitter when you can to do date night. It’s important that even though your lifestyle will change and your responsibilities do too, your health or wellbeing shouldn’t have to suffer or be sacrificed.
Sometimes it’s just good to talk to someone other than your baby. We all need that social connection, and it’s something that’s deeply ingrained within our being.
Take A Break
Following on from the point above, taking a break is something you need to do every now and then. There will come the point where you can step back, particularly when your child reaches the age where they can either fend for themselves or they are at an age where they don’t rely on you for feeding and basically just living. When they’re self-sufficient, that can be the opportunity where you can take an actual break. Treat yourself to a weekend away to somewhere you can just relax and unwind. Or maybe go on holiday but just on your own, with friends or as a couple. This time away from your child will help with their own independence. It’ll also remind you to focus on yourself every now and then.
Give Teenagers Their Space
The teenage phase is like the toddler stage but on a whole new level. Hormones are flying all over the place and tantrums will occur. So to go from being their crutch to wanting their own space can be difficult for some parents. Parents will get that same attachment as babies, and small children do for them. But when the teenage part hits, it’s their newfound experience of independence and learning of their environment and the world around them that changes their attitude. So even though it’s hard to do as a parent, it’s good to give your teenagers the space they need to figure things out for themselves.
That doesn’t mean you should give up on excluding them from conversations or life events. They should still be involved but don’t push them to do something that they really don’t want to do. At the end of the day, they’re becoming their own person, and that’s something quite significant to see. It’s that nurturing part of them that you’ve given and even though they may not spend a lot of time with you, it’ll be a proud moment for you when they achieve that independence.
Be A Good Role Model
And finally, how they evolve is partly down to you and your actions. As far as role models go, they will look up to you from a very early age and even the smallest of things they might see as right or wrong and mimic it. So it’s important that you show yourself in your most authentic light, teach them about right and wrong, respect and having the tools they need to be successful in life. Being a good role model doesn’t need to be anything dramatic, it could simply be how you talk to others. The more you do at an early age, the better of a person they’ll become later on in life. It’s harder once they get older, and they already have a certain attitude.
Parenthood is one long challenge that will last a lifetime. No matter how old they get, they will end up relying on you for a long time, so make sure you’re strapped in and ready for that journey. Do your research and learn from others, know that they’ll change as they get older, and to give them the space they need to learn how to fly on their own. Give them all the life skills you can give them, and you’ll always be proud of them no matter how small, or large their achievements are.