I recently attended a baby shower for some friends of ours that are living in London yet here on holiday before their baby arrives this July. Instead of games they had an open forum where parents at all stages of life could share how they would finish these two sentences:
“I’m so glad I did ____ as a parent”
“I wish I had _____ as a parent”
It got me thinking as to what sage advice I would give to a new mom, only three years into parenting myself. Since I can never pick just one word of advice here’s my list of top tips for new parents:
- Don’t compare – your parenting, your child or even your recovery. Nothing good ever came from comparing yourself or your kid to someone else. So what if that mom always seems to have perfect patience with her child while you are ripping your hair out. People put their best face forward when in front of others. She has her bad days too you can be sure.
- Don’t Google! – your baby gets the sniffles and you search for remedies. Pretty soon you think he may have whooping-cough and you’re crying at the video testimonial you just saw with a parent who lost their child to what she thought was a simple cold (personal story!). If you need some advice or tips call your own mom or a friend. If it’s more serious, then bypass the internet and just call your pediatrician.
- Get support – join a local moms group, women’s bible study or parenting ed class. You will NEED support both physically and emotionally your first year as a parent. Finding those close mom friends whom you can vent, cry, and have playdates with will keep you sane.
- Find a mentor – this goes along with support but having an older wiser mom to share their insight and tips on what worked for them is so helpful. Plus it will help put things in perspective that this is just a short time in your life.
- Date your husband – your marriage will outlast the time your kids live with you (at least we hope!). So don’t forget to make the time to connect with your husband. Find a sitter and go on dates even if it’s just for an hour at a coffee shop.
- Give yourself grace – the dishes are piling up, you still can’t fit into your size 8 jeans, and the kids are eating cereal for dinner (again!). WHO CARES! Don’t give into the mom guilt! You are a GREAT mom, cut your self some slack. Just remember you are investing in a little human soul. One who could care less about dirty kitchens, thinks you are the most beautiful woman in the world and is thrilled with cereal.
If there were no mothers no one would exist! It’s a tough job and not one family is the same. That’s what makes all of our parenting styles so unique!
So how would you finish the sentence, “I’m so glad I did _____ as a parent”?