What Every First-Time Parent Needs to Know
Being a first-time parent can be quite challenging especially when you’re already beyond anxious.
I mean, there have been a lot of self-help books but when you’ve already read every single bit and have been given every advice you could ever get from friends and family, there’s always that gut feeling where you’re feeling like you’re forgetting something or that you aren’t sure whether or not you’d go with this approach or that.
It’s normal to feel that way, and you don’t have to beat yourself up because of it. It is scary mainly because you’re starting to care for someone who depends on you 100%, but even when things are overwhelming and frustrating, there’s always a way through it.
#1:Take care of yourself and your partner
Most of the time, when we start to have kids we forget to take care of ourselves because we prioritize their well-being before ours.
Now, what more if you’re a first-time parent, and have no idea what time you can finally take a bath, or even take a nap. It can be quite exhausting making sure that your baby is well-rested, and fed but also rewarding when you finally see their first steps or hear their first words.
With that being said, the second thing you have to remember when you’re taking care of your firstborn is to take care of yourself, and this means that you don’t have to be afraid of asking for help when you need a few hours to take a bath and clean up.
You could even take turns with your partner when needed.
Now when your child is still a few weeks old or a few months old, it is already a given to make sure that all the attention is on them, BUT like how Howard told Bernadette from the tv show the big bang theory, that she’s doing a great job. It is also our duty to make sure that our partner knows that they’re doing a great job taking care of your child.
If your child is over a few months old now, and you can finally get that rest that you both want you can have a mini date night! The one where you don’t have to get out of the house. You could eat dinner and just sit in front of the tv screen (making sure the volume isn’t too loud to wake your baby up), and enjoy that awaited tv series you both wanted to watch. Or even sit down in the living room and play that card game Couple Connect that was designed for newly wedded couples (if you just got married that is) or if you’re already in a long-term marriage, Life Sutra also has Couple Reconnect which is a perfect card game when you both need to rest and relax.
#2: Don’t overthink everything
If you’re the type of parent who worries about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, I know this is easier said than done, but don’t overthink everything you, your partner, or your child does.
I know that the real world is scary, and sometimes the news and stories of different people across the internet make it more difficult to believe that our children are safe, or that you’re doing a good parenting job.
Now, I’m not letting you overthink another thing because this is not what this blog is about.
Your kids are supposed to be able to trust you, to confide in you when they have problems of their own, and be able to be responsible for their actions. You are a role model to them, so by all means don’t show them that you’re not someone they can talk to.
There are also various parenting books you can always read instead of relying on social media all the time to find answers that might make you overthink more.
#3: Give your child reassurance that you understand their feelings
I’ve seen this video online where a child had a tantrum and started crying and getting frustrated and the mom didn’t nag nor ignore them. Instead, she used a calm voice and asked what was wrong, faced the problem together, and let them understand that how they are feeling is reasonable and understandable.
Now I’m not saying that it's as easy as that because as a teenager I was even at a stage where I claimed that “no one understands me” phase and I now know that my parents probably had a hard time trying to talk to me at that time.
As a parent, I believe that there are not only financial and physical hurdles, but there is also a need to emphasize the emotional hurdles. You can get frustrated and say things you don’t mean towards your child, and sometimes because of these, it gets harder for them to open up to you which eventually causes them to distance themselves from you.
Even though I don't understand how to deal with it sometimes, from what I’ve learned, it’s best to not force them into sharing something they’re not comfortable with. The only thing you have to do is be open enough for them to reach out to you.
You can’t always be the perfect parent or have the perfect child because you both see things differently. A child only wants their parents to be there for them while they aim to be the best they can be.
#4: Don’t go overboard with your standards
It’s really easy to get swayed by social media about kids who can easily learn how to play the piano, can learn several languages all at once, or even start speaking at a very young age.
As much as it is a pressure for you to want your child to succeed in life, immense pressure will fall on your child for the rest of their life, and although some would be able to get past it but some would struggle to continue their lives.
Take it from me, my parents had chosen a degree for me with high hopes to finish it before and yet I had moved away from home and took time to continue my studies without them knowing that the pressure of being the eldest is too much to handle most of the time because they expected me to succeed in my studies, in my career, and in life (this is also a possibility that my parents are Asian) but regardless of race, as parents I understand that you just want the best for your children.
Although as first-time parents this is a small piece of advice coming from the eldest child. By all means, understand that your child cannot always reach your expectations or standards for them, and although they might bring what you call “disappointments” but never let them feel that their efforts are not enough. There will always be mistakes made, and changes in their routes, but always support and guide them without making them feel that you discourage their efforts.