You've likely been hearing things like "you'll never sleep again!" and "get ready for a wild ride!" for months now. And while those well-intentioned comments can feel relatable at times, you're probably looking for more concrete things to consider as you bring new life into this world. I recently asked my Instagram followers for their best parenting tips, and I've compiled some of them here, as well as a few of my own! I hope this blog post gives you some solid advice as you step into this exciting season of life! And if you don't follow me on Instagram, be sure to do so! You can follow me here.
#1: Hold Your Baby As MUCH As Possible
There's nothing quite like baby snuggles in the whole world. Be sure to hold, snuggle, and hug your baby as much as you can every day because the time truly does go by as fast as they say, and one day you'll miss those baby cuddles. There's no possible way you could regret cuddling your little one a bunch, but it's more than likely you'll regret it if you don't cuddle them enough.
#2: Your Own Childhood is a Great Teacher
As you step into parenthood, reflect on your own childhood. Make note of the positive memories and how they made you feel. And likewise, make note of the parenting styles your parents used with you that you'd like to change with your own child. You have the power to raise children using your best skills, and don't necessarily need to follow in your parents' footsteps if their tactics didn't serve you. Take what worked in your childhood and leave the rest.
#3: Ask for Help
It's easy as a parent to feel like you should be able to handle it all on your own. But raising kids is hard. The phrase "it takes a village" exists for a reason. Put your pride aside and ask your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors for help as you need it. You don't have to do it all alone and you deserve a break when you need it.
#4: Nothing Lasts Forever
Of course, this can be interpreted to mean that you need to cherish the little moments (and you should!) but we mean this a bit differently here. In those moments when you're feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and at your wit's end, just know that nothing lasts forever. When you're on day 15 of trying to soothe a colicky baby or week #3 of getting only 4 hours of sleep at night, remind yourself that this too shall pass. This will not last forever. It's a phase, and it will end eventually. Hang in there, stay strong, and take breaks when you need to.
#5: Take a Million Photos
Taking photos is a great way to document your life when this new little one entered it. Capture those memories. Ask your partner to take photos of you holding your little one, even if you have spit-up on your shoulder and your messy bun looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. You will not regret having those memories to look back on. And your child will cherish those photos when they get older. And consider documenting their milestones with professional milestone sessions. It's a beautiful and memorable way to document their growth and will be a beautiful gift for them that they can reflect on and someday show their own partner and children.
#6: Trust Your Gut
There's no 100% right or wrong way to parent. Every parent is just doing their best with the tools that they have. If you have a gut feeling about your child's emotional or physical wellbeing, TRUST IT. Have faith in your abilities to figure things out. You won't always be right, of course, but what matters is that you do your best with the tools and experiences that you have available to you.
#7: Don't Compare Your Life to What You See Online
No matter what stage in life you're in, I think we can all agree that social media can, at times, be a breeding ground for jealousy, insecurity, comparison, and hurt feelings. When you see someone else's curated feed, they typically aren't showing a sink full of dirty dishes, or a diaper blowout, or the fact that they went 3 days without showering because they truly didn't have the time. Social media is a place where people showcase their highlight reel, and leave the unedited footage unshared. So don't compare what your life feels like to what someone else chooses to put out into the world. Everyone has struggles, even Kim Kardashian.
#8: Practice Vulnerability
Be vulnerable. With your partner, your family and friends, yourself, and your children. It can be hard to find a balance between vulnerability and relinquishing your authority, but showing your children what it means to be vulnerable and be human is a great way to encourage them to not be afraid to make mistakes, to make meaningful connection with others, and to accept help when they need it. Similarly, if your child grows up watching you practice vulnerability with your partner and the other people in your life, it will teach them to be a strong communicator who gets what they need out of life.
#9: The World Won't End if the Dishes Don't Get Done
Life happens. There will be hard days. Try not to beat yourself up if day-to-day tasks don't get handled right away. Instead, ask for help when you can, and in the meantime, be patient and kind to yourself. Your life just changed a whole lot, and it's going to take some time to get adjusted to it.
#10: Every Day is a Fresh Start
And finally, on those hard days, try to remind yourself that every new day is a fresh start. It's a new chance to try again. There will be new moods, new growth, and new opportunities to try a different approach. It's all going to be okay, and eventually you'll look back on the hard days fondly and with kinder eyes. You've got this!
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