Welcome to the most incredible adventure of your life… parenting. I’d love to offer you a roadmap to being a successful parent, but I’m still looking for that one. I can provide you with what I’ve learned from almost 10 years of mistakes and countless conversations with fellow parents.
So, buckle up and get ready for the wildest ride on earth – PARENTHOOD.
Here are 14 tips for first-time parents.
1. Parenting is hard.
Especially at the beginning. No way to get around that truth. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There are loads of worry, anxiety, stress, and sleeplessness. Some things will get easier as your child grows, especially sleep. Every stage is a beautiful mess in its own way.
2. Everything is about to change (if it hasn’t already).
It’s all about to get rocked, from your social life to your work life. That can be scary. But I think you’ll enjoy it and won’t be able to imagine life any other way.
3. The days are long, but the years are short.
As a parent of a 9 and 6-year-old, time flies. Try to enjoy every stage of childhood. Live in the moment.
4. Don’t stress yourself.
Things won’t always go the way you want. Your house will never be as clean as you want it to be. You won’t always get the perfect picture. Your child may not meet all your expectations. You might miss out on some events or milestones.
5. Take care of yourself.
You can’t give what you don’t have. Taking care of yourself has to be a priority. It’s not easy. But do your best to spend a little time focusing on yourself. Take a walk, grab a coffee with friends, get in a quick workout, do a puzzle – whatever fills your soul.
6. There are a lot of opinions out there, but you know your child better than anyone else.
You spend more time with your child than anyone. You may sense that they aren’t feeling well or something isn’t right. Trust your instincts. Social media and the internet are full of people who think they know best, but they really don’t.
7. Hold your baby a lot.
Don’t worry; you can’t spoil a newborn baby by holding them too much. (And research supports that it’s okay). They need your touch and attention. You’re providing a foundation for them to grow and feel safe emotionally, physically, and mentally.
8. Your baby will get sick.
That’s normal, and not because of anything you did wrong. It’s so hard to watch your baby get sick. It can be anything from minor infections to food allergies to significant illness. Be there for them and reach out to doctors as often as you feel is necessary. Don’t feel like you’re calling your pediatrician too much. They are there to help you. You are your child’s greatest advocate.
9. You’ll make mistakes.
There is no handbook for parenting, and every child is different. You’re gonna make mistakes. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up.
10. When you do make a mistake, own it and apologize.
Your baby isn’t going to remember this, so this is for you. Create the habit now of apologizing when you mess up. As your child grows, they will learn this from you.
11. You are your child’s first teacher.
Learning doesn’t start in daycare or school; it begins with you. You are their first teacher. You have the privilege and responsibility of introducing your child to the world. Start early and use every opportunity to teach them as they grow.
12. Do what works for you, your child, and your family.
Every child and every family is different. Figure out what works best for your situation.
13. Surround yourself with people who will help you.
You’ve heard it said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It’s true! But it’s not just for the child, you need a village, too. Surround yourself with friends, family, and parents in the same stage.
14. If you’re married, keep your marriage first.
Make sure and keep your relationship first and your parenting second. The best thing for your child is for your relationship with your spouse to be healthy and strong.
Parenting is a journey. Take it one step at a time, and don’t get ahead of yourself. And have fun! You’ve got this. I’m rooting for you.