Advice and opinions are usually well-meaning, but not always useful. We get it. Nobody knows yours and your baby’s needs better than you. So as you are trying to navigate the new waters of parenthood, we’re bringing you some inspirational advice to help you as you make decisions amidst a bombardment others’ opinions.
“If it’s not a problem for you, it’s not a problem.”
I read this quote as a new mum and loved it. So many other mums told me horror stories or their opinions of my plans. Others would offer their insight into the way I did things and made me question myself. Don’t let others get inside your head and create doubt or problems where they don’t exist. As long as it’s not a matter of safety, find what works for you and don’t let others make you insecure about it.
Don’t turn little things into big things
When you look back on this time you will not remember the specific days that ended with a sink full of dishes or a pile of laundry. You won’t remember specific days of a cranky baby or those where you didn’t shower. You will remember your attitude and mindset, though. You will remember how you felt. Try not to make the things that won’t be remembered the priority. Do your best, but as much as possible just let it go.
Parenthood is a job
I’m a huge advocate for parenting classes, books, and education. People often call parenthood “the best job in the world,” and often “the hardest job in the world.” If all other jobs require training, education, certifications, continued education, etc. then why shouldn’t parenting? We’ve all heard the saying “babies don’t come with a manual,” but we aren’t born with a full toolbox of parenting techniques, either. Read books to learn new methods of calming a crying baby, parenting in a positive way, dealing with unruly toddlers, and even hormonal teenagers. Practice new techniques, problem solve, and use critical thinking as a parent just as you would any other job. You will never regret investing in your parenting skills.
This too shall pass
I thought I’d never sleep more than 3 hours at a time again when my son was a newborn. I couldn’t see the end in sight of having to nurse while trying to eat at a restaurant. And then one day I realised I was waking up to an alarm clock again, but didn’t notice when it happened. I was showering at the same time every day again. In the moment, it is hard to imagine an end to some phases, but there will come a day very soon that you realise the phases end quickly and don’t last as long as you think.
Things will end better if you ask for help
I’ve had friends reveal their struggles as new parents once their children are older. They’ve revealed dramatically losing their temper with their husband or calling their mums in hysterics that they need a break. So many times I think and say, “Why didn’t you call me?! I would’ve helped you in a heartbeat, even if it was just to let you take a shower!” But then I think to myself, “Would I have asked for help?” Of course, we can see that the burdens of others could be lighter if they asked for help and maybe prevent negative situations, but how often do we accept the same answer to our own problems?
Accept the wide range of emotions
It’s not only OKAY to cry and feel emotional as a new mum, but NORMAL. Yes, that’s right – NORMAL! Remember, this phase will pass, but don’t feel guilty for being emotional, crying, getting frustrated, etc. However, if you begin feeling hopeless, your emotions seem to be abnormal for an extended period of time or you’re struggling to bond with your baby, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. There’s no shame in not being able to heal ourselves – sometimes our bodies don’t self-regulate and bounce back by themselves, and that’s okay.
Live in the moment
One of my favourite quotes of all times is from Andy Bernard on The Office, when he says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in “the good old days”, before you’ve actually left them.” Social media has made me more aware of how precious life and time is, as I see news stories and even tragedies from those I know who lose children, parents, or others who are close to them. I do my best to try to live every day like it’s the last day I have with my children. Any day that we are all healthy, taken care of, and together is a good day.
What advice would you give to a new mum?