The first year of parenthood whether you’re a new parent or experienced is often exciting but challenging. Obviously, the baby comes with many responsibilities and learning experiences. You are required (and inclined to want to) to dedicate most of your time watching over your child. Your relationship with your partner and family can be affected by this new normal. Although you may face some challenges, being a parent is rewarding, enriching, and life-changing.
With a new baby, so many things can be frustrating and overwhelming. Combined with the lack of sleep you will now have, you need to remember to take each day as it comes. You will be working on fewer hours of solid sleep time, so remember that you will be short-tempered sometimes and that is ok. You also need to be aware of how that lack of enough sleep can affect your health and wellbeing, so it is important to take care of yourself as well. Prioritizing a nap over a shower may be your big decision of the day, but know that with rest comes more patience and better thinking.
- Accept Help from People & Products
If someone that you trust offers to help you, do not reject it. You don’t have to do all the work by yourself. Everybody needs to take the helping hand at some time. Allow your friends or family members to come and take care of the baby so that you can sleep or clean your house – or shower! Whenever someone offers to do something helpful, kindly accept it. Trust me; you can return the favor later. Use the appliances and tricks that work to give you free time – do not feel guilty for using the walker, the stroller, and give yourself the gift of the ones that aid in doing the job like bottle warmers, feeding cushions, and pumps.
- Plan Your Time
Although it is not possible to plan for all things, it is imperative that you plan for what you can. One of the best ways to do this is to write down the list of the things you want to do in a day. It may be trivial things like getting a phone call taken care of, or buying coffee. But small victories add up. This will make a dramatic difference in the first year. Each day make it a practice to write down three things you want to get done the next day – and be reasonable with your expectations of yourself.
- Create time for fun
This is very crucial especially in the first year of parenting. It will allow you to connect and mingle with other (adult) people. Look for things that are fun for you whether it is a night out or shopping. Parents need to have an enjoyable time too. Having fun will allow you to take a break from your daily activities. Remember that even though it is great to have fun, you have a whole new set of responsibilities waiting for you the next day so you may have less recovery time. Take time to enjoy your partner as well. Your days will be full of bottles to be made and diapers to be changed, but you can set time aside to be there for each other as well. This is likely one of the more challenging aspects that new parents face, but one of the most important.
- Take Advantage of New Parent Benefits and Discounts
You have a new title now – Parent. When the baby arrives, you should be able to enjoy benefits and discounts that were perhaps not available to you in your previous life. There are various discounts and freebies for the new and expecting parents. Take the parking spot marked for new mothers. You deserve it.
- Find Support
Remember that every problem has a solution. Every problem you are going through as a parent, someone has likely experienced it already. Find books and magazines that can Look for baby raising books and blogs online. You can also read online articles or ask other parents about their experiences. They might not tell you everything, but they help you make it through the first year.
When the baby arrives, everything in your life will change. But with preparation and support before, during and after the process, you will feel less challenged and more able to enjoy the process altogether.