Attention parents-to-be: we’re going to let you in on a few little secrets about being a parent. These are things we wish we were told when we first became parents.
These aren’t the things you’ll read in books. And they’re probably not the things that friends or relatives will think to say. But they’re the secrets that really will make things a little easier for first-time mum or dad.
Presenting our top nine pieces of parenting advice that are going to be helpful for first-time parents.
‘Trust your instincts’
No one knows your baby better than you. This includes grandparents, doctors, even parenting experts. While you will always go to these people for advice, remember that if it doesn’t feel right, then it’s not right for you and your baby. And that’s perfectly okay.
‘Everything is in stages’
And each stage shall pass. This includes the sleepless night stage, the constant crying stage and the banging-his-head-against-the-door-anytime-you-say-no stage.
‘It doesn’t get easier, it gets different’
When one stage ends, another one starts. And while each stage comes with plenty of ups and downs, no parent is going to agree on the “best” or “worst” stage. The newborn phrase can be difficult for some while others struggle more with toddlerhood.
The most important thing to remember with each phase of parenthood is that, for every bad day, there are a trillion good moments. And it is these moments that we need to focus on, especially during those extra rough patches.
‘Do what works for you and your family’
If co-sleeping works for you, then do it. If letting your infant bathe in the sink every morning works for you, then do it. If taking a car ride every night to put bub to sleep works for you, then do it.
And then when it stops working (either because you can’t stand being kicked in the back every night, your infant gets too big for the sink or you get sick of wasting money on fuel), then try something else.
‘Take care of yourself too’
This means asking for help if you’re struggling, taking time for yourself and staying as healthy as you possibly can. You cannot provide the best life for your baby if you are barely surviving yourself.
‘Live in the moment and join in’
You won’t be able to count how many times people tell you, “Cherish every moment. It goes by so fast.” But it really does.
What you and your child will remember are those times when you didn’t worry about the mess, when you let your guard down, when you joined in on the fun and when you didn’t worry about the aftermath (or the after mess).
Sometimes spending two hours cleaning muddy clothes after a massive mud puddle session is worth the 15 minutes of absolute joy it brings. It really is.
‘Choose your battles’
There are going to be plenty of them and sometimes, in the end, it’s just not worth the time or effort. This includes battles with your children as well as arguments with your partner. Sometimes it’s easier to just agree to disagree and move on.
‘There is no right way to raise your child’
While everyone will have well-intended parenting advice on raising your baby, it’s impossible to take every piece of advice on board. Most (and we’re talking like 99 per cent here) of the advice that you receive during your pregnancy and parenthood journey might even be useless to you.
Some advice will conflict with other help you receive. Some advice will work for one child, but not for your child. And some advice is, quite simply, so outdated that it doesn’t even make sense in today’s world.
So take every piece of parenting advice in your stride and remember, this is your family’s journey. You get to decide what’s ‘right’.
‘Don’t worry about being perfect’
Let go of the notion of being the perfect parent, especially to the outside world (and to your circles on social media). It’s way too draining trying to maintain a perfect facade and you end up missing out on the perfectly imperfect moments that make parenting so hilarious and heartwarming.
Besides, to your child, you probably already are perfect, messy mum bun and all. And that’s what really counts.
Need some tips on what to expect when you bring your newborn home? Check out these out our other article about full of important things to know about newborns.