Are you about to become a new parent? If you’re googling new parent advice, I’m sure you’ve read everything. And it can get… overwhelming!
Aren’t you tired of reading everywhere how hard parenting is? When I was pregnant I was sick of reading everywhere how my life would be totally ruined.
But life after baby is so sweet you wouldn’t believe!
I mean, yes, it is hard, but it’s also wonderful.
In fact, it’s much more wonderful than it is hard! And every tough moment along the way is completely worth it!
Before I became a mom, life was so much different. Ollie changed my life in such a positive way that there’s not one day that I’m not grateful for it!
Yes, I’m sleep-deprived… but happy!
#1 The Truth About Sleep
I’m sure you’ve read that you won’t sleep at all for weeks, months, years! We see it in movies, we read it in books and blogs, we try to prepare for it, and it’s hard.
But we adjust.
You’ll find out that it’s not as hard as people say it is, that you’ll find new ways to sleep, and your schedule will adjust to give your body a chance to rest.
Your body will also make the most of it and will rest more efficiently in less time, you’ll also be able to ask for friends and family the chance to take care of your newborn for a bit while you take a nap.
And again, all that is for babies who are bad sleepers, some babies are really good sleepers.
In fact, most newborns are good sleepers. Did you know that newborns can sleep up to 17 hours a day?
Now, imagine for a second that you didn’t have absolutely anything to do but be with your baby (this is not true, of course, you’ll have to do lots of stuff, but humor me for a little bit) and that you slept whenever your baby sleeps, then you’d be sleeping 17 hours a day.
That’s a lot of sleep!
The problem is that newborns sleep intermittently, and some don’t like sleeping at night. So it’s more of a scheduling issue.
Having said all this, probably within 17 hours you can fit some good, intermittent time for you to sleep. Especially if you have the help of your spouse.
If all fails and you definitely need to be awake during the daytime, then yes you’ll be tired (more tired than you’ve probably ever been), but you’ll also get used to it quicker than you think.
#2 People Are More Annoying than You Ever Imagined
Even the quiet ones.
Everyone has an opinion, and the minute you become pregnant they feel a burning desire to express those opinions to you.
Who knew that a very important piece of new parent advice doesn’t have to do with parenting? The truth is that nothing you’ll ever do will make everyone happy, so don’t bother trying to make people happy outside your family.
When you stroll around with your baby, people will judge you for everything. If you breastfeed in public, if you work, or if you don’t.
Oliver is almost three years and during the past 3 years and 6 months I have heard unsolicited advice from strangers every single day.
Today, for instance, I went to the park to play and I took Ollie’s ball. The park was empty, so we decided to bring our dog along. We had been playing for almost 10 minutes when a lady who had just bought cat food walked to me and started explaining to me why she thought my kid shouldn’t be near my dog.
She even had the nerve of suggesting we get a cat instead.
This gets even worse when strangers want to touch my son. They always seem to have the need to stroke his hair or shake his hand. I always politely ask them to keep their hands to themselves.
It’s just so freaking annoying!
#3 You Will Develop New Awesome Super Powers
Have you ever looked at your mom and dad and wonder how could they solve every problem you’ve ever had?
It may not feel like it now, but that will be how your kid will look at you! And you’ll live up to that ideal!
The truth is that us parents develop parental instincts out of the blue!
We suddenly, somehow, know things that seemed complicated before like breastfeeding, bottle feeding, swaddling a baby, understanding what a baby is telling us!
The great part? As our babies get older, we get to know them better and better, and our instincts grow deeper.
It even gets to the point where you know what your little one will do or say just by looking at her face.
You’ll probably also develop germ-vision. A special mom and dad superpower that will allow you to worry over the most mundane of things. Like washing your hands for 10 seconds instead of 30 and then touching your baby’s feet.
And, last but not least, you’ll develop a high tolerance for your baby’s smelly diaper!
#4 Getting Out of The House Won’t Be Easy Again
If you don’t have kids, then you know how you can just get ready, grab your bag, open the door and go to the wild outside?
It used to be really easy, but now I need to get ready, get my son ready, make sure he eats, try to eat myself, grab all of his stuff, make sure I look human enough to go outside and venture into the world.
I always forget something.
I have a list of essentials by the door and go through it every time I go outside, but I always manage to forget things. It’s something that most people don’t mention when giving new parent advice. Be prepared to forget things at home, the mall, the train, the bus,…
Sometimes, your kid will be desperate to go outside, sometimes she will want to stay inside, and both of this anxious states will delay the whole process!
Ollie also gets to take a reasoably sized toy when we go outside (for mommy’s sake, but he doesn’t know that so let’s keep it a secret!) so bonus time for all the time it takes him to choose the toy!
This getting-out-of-the-house science is easy to master, you just need to start getting ready earlier. Much earlier.
#5 You’ll Become Your Kid’s Example
Humans learn by example. So what you do around your little one is very important.
Did you know that one of the first things a newborn does is look for her mommy’s face? It’s comforting, it’s familiar, and she starts recognizing patterns.
Eventually, your kids will start copying you. If you want to smile, they’ll smile too. If you wink, they’ll wink. If you jump, they’ll jump. You get the drift.
When my cousin was around 2 or 3 years old, she was driving with her dad. My uncle has always been a very vocal man, and he caves in easily into road rage episodes. But this one time some other guy honked his horn at my uncle’s car and my uncle did nothing. My cousin, then, rolled down her window and started shouting names at the other driver.
It was hilarious, but it was a great time for introspection. And understanding how our continued actions are shaping our kids, even if they don’t immediately copy us, they will at some point.
But this is a great thing! This makes us better, healthier, happier people! When my kid was born I was forced to follow my passion: writing. Because, how would I encourage him to follow his, if I didn’t do the same?
You have an external drive to be the better version of yourself! And it doesn’t get any better than that!
#6 Your Relationship With Your Spouse Will Be Put to the Test
If there’s one piece of new parent advice I would give couples before having kids is this: Take all the steps you need to make your relationship as strong as possible.
Because having kids will put your relationship to the test every single day. You’ll change, your partner will change, and you’ll both be under a lot of stress.
You need to make sure that you both are in the same wavelength where it matters. And, though there’s nothing I say that will prepare you for the full blown miracle that’s about to happen in your lives, it’s good if you try to set some ground rules before the baby arrives.
How will you handle diaper changes and night feeds? Will you both agree on breastfeeding? Who will do the cleaning and cooking? When will you take a few hours and go on dates?
Remember that a child is an addition to your family and that making the bond between you two will only make that family stronger, and your baby happier. So work on your relationship before and after you’ve had your baby.
#7 Other People Will Also Love Your Baby
Being a parent is enlightening in so many ways. Logically every parent wants what’s best for their child, and nothing we ever do feels good enough.
The thing is, nothing that anyone does feels good enough. And this can be difficult to assume.
When you leave your baby with grandma and grandpa, for instance, you’ll want to give them a detailed manual on how to take care of babies. Forgetting that they already have!
You’ll want to call every minute to make sure they are all right. And, sometimes, you’ll discuss because you don’t agree on what’s best for your baby.
Just remember, grandparents, friends, and family also love your baby, and they want to keep her safe and warm.
#8 You Will Look At Other Parents In A Whole New Light
Have you ever looked at parents of screaming babies and mentally rolled your eyes?
Or, maybe you see a mommy feeding her child only chocolate at a family dinner, and you think that will never be you?
Well, you’ll start being more compassionate towards those parents because you’ll understand why they are doing what they are doing, or at least you’ll understand that you can never know the whole context of what’s happening in their homes.
I have dragged my screaming toddler by the arm through the mall, force-fed him green veggies, left him to cry at floors, caved in to his desire of sweet things, just as much as every other parent has. Even though I said I would never do any of those things.
Even though I mentally rolled my eyes at other moms and dads when they did these things.
#9 You’ll Stop To Smell The Flowers!
Literally, in spring my toddler stops to smell every flower when I pick him up from school.
The truth is that time goes by very quickly. It’s the most cliche new parent advice, but it’s true. One day your newborn is sleeping in your arms, the next she is going to her first day of daycare.
We try to have leeway time most days to just enjoy the moment, to sit down on a bench and feel happy.
You’ll start cherishing and appreciating those small moments more and more. And they won’t always be perfect.
There are times when you’ll love being a parent (most of them), but there are also times when you’ll feel sad, exhausted, tired, sick, and you’ll still have to be a mom or a dad.
You’ll see that the bad times are also great when you’re a parent because of all the love. You can always close your eyes, and let the love for your baby overwhelm you.
You’ll feel like you can conquer the world!
#10 You Will Learn to Love in a Whole New Level
Loving a baby is a wonderful experience of true, unconditional love.
You will look for hours at your baby’s face trying to describe what you feel. You would gladly do anything for your child, no questions asked!
Just wait until you see your baby’s face for the first time… for me, time stopped. It was just me and him in the world (my husband may have been somewhere in the vicinity).
Being a new parent won’t be like you imagine.
It will be much better!
You will be a whole new better version of yourself!
How did parenting change you? Do you have any new parent advice you want to share? Let us know all about it in the comments!
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