I was recently at a friend’s baby shower. At the shower they had a basket where they asked for advice for the new parents. This has had me thinking about that question all weekend. I am certainly no parenting expert, but I do feel that anyone who has walked through the trenches of parenting can offer some words of wisdom. So, I am sharing some of my own.
- I did not anticipate the loneliness that can accompany being a new parent. You have a little side kick who is with you at all times, but I found myself longing for adult interaction sometimes. It was hard for me to always form a conversation because…sleep deprivation. This is where I am going to flip the conversation not to the new parents but to everyone else. I know that I have avoided reaching out to new moms because I know how chaotic this time is. Although this period of time can be insanely busy it can also feel extremely isolating. I am suggesting that you reach out, obviously it may be several days (weeks) before they get back to you but at least they know that you are thinking of them and that they are not alone.
- As they grow give yourself plenty of time to get out the door. Predict how long it’s going to take to get ready and then add at least 15 minutes. Why 15 extra minutes? Because that morning they might decide that they do not in fact have to wear pants and so you will fight about having to wear pants for at least 15 minutes. On second thought add in 30 minutes to be on the safe side.
- People will tell you to enjoy every moment because it goes by so fast. And it does go by faster than you will anticipate. However, it is okay not to enjoy every aspect of the newborn phase. It is okay not to love cracked nipples or three-hour crying phases or never sleeping more than a few hours in a row.
- Pretty much from now on you will be chronically late for everything because things are no longer predictable. They will insist on doing everything for themselves which you know is a good thing but will drive you crazy and again contribute to your punctuality (or lack thereof). Blow outs, tantrums and loss of shoes or socks will now dictate your departure time every.single.day.
- Give yourself some grace. Being a new parent is hard. You can prepare as much as possible and your little one will still throw a new curveball at you along the way. It is pretty much like an ever-changing puzzle, once you figure it out, it transforms and so you have to then try and solve the new version of the puzzle. Also, each child is so different, you will try something that a fellow parent swears by and it will do squat for yours. Just realize that we are all trying to figure it out so be kind to yourself.
- Even on the hardest days you will look at their little face at night while they are sleeping, and you will realize that every challenging moment was worth it. You will know that there is literally nothing that you wouldn’t do for your little one. Then your child will shift in their sleep and you will hold your breath and say a silent prayer that they will stay asleep. And when they do you will tiptoe out of the room like a ninja and thank God that he blessed you with another day with your little one.