Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Heart to Heart: Seventeen Things Any New Parent Should Know

  1. Don't get used to anything. Baby sleeping through the night at 6 weeks? Don't hold your breath, these little monkeys change minute to minute. So throw those expectations out the window! With expectations comes disappointment. Expect change and accept that it is a natural part of development. 
  2. Don't be a hero. If you need help, ask for it. Recognizing you need help and having the courage to ask for it is an important part of parenting. Seek out help from family, friends or consider hired help (i.e. House cleaner) if financially feasible. Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated will make you miserable. You will be a much happier parent if you get the help you need. Happy parent = happy kid. 
    Special time with grandpa means break for you!
  3. Laugh often (it sure beats crying). Fifth explosive poop of the day? Laugh that sh*t off! A friend will totally find it hilarious if you text them saying you're having the sh*ttiest day in history. Try to find the humour in your everyday parenting adventures. 
  4. It's okay to feel frustrated; you're only human. Oh there will be good days and bad days! It's totally normal to feel frustrated on those not so good days. Find the right outlet to release your frustrations. Blogging is one of my outlets. Wine is another...kidding, kinda;) 
  5. Go with the flow. Just like birthing plans need a lot of flexibility, so does everyday life with small children. Things will happen and you need to be able to adapt very quickly. Like the time my kid pooped her pants in the playground for the second time and we had to rush home. 
    uh oh, what is she up to now?
  6. Remember this is only a very small period in the grand scheme of life. This is what keeps me going everyday. I actually find myself stopping to savour some moments (those rare moments when the stars align and your children are being angels) because I know I will never have this time again.  
    Time really does fly...sigh.
  7. Follow your gut. You know your children and your family better than anyone else in the world. If something doesn't feel right, listen to your instincts. You truly are the expert when it comes to your child. 
  8. Don't spend your energy worrying about what others are doing. There will always be that parent trying trying to "one-up you" on Facebook. You know, the "just fed my kid healthy chia seed pudding for snack"...oh wait...that's me. Haha! No,  but seriously, you are doing your best for your child and family and that's all that should matter. That being said we should also avoid being judgmental of other parents and their decisions. How others choose to parent their children does not impact us. Like seriously, that mother choosing to breastfeed her four-year-old has absolutely zero impact on me. We should be respectful of one another; we're all parents unified with the common goal of caring for our children. 
    We are all doing our best to care for our children <3
  9. See the world through your child's eyes and live for the moment. Everything is so new and almost magical to little children. I love watching my three-year-old daughter's eyes widen in amazement when she experiences something new. I used to get frustrated walking to the store with her because it would literally take what felt like hours to get down the street. She would notice every little detail: the purple flowers budding in the neighbour's lawn; the chubby robin looking for worms; the leaves changing into autumn colours. All details I stopped taking the time to notice. Now I stop and take the time to experience the world with her; and it's made me learn to appreciate the beautiful world we live in. 
  10. Slow down. So what if you're going to be 15 minutes late for that play date or for gymnastics class? Rushing is only going to lead to frustration. There is nothing worse than rushing in the morning with little kids. If you need to get somewhere important (i.e. work) then be sure to plan ahead. Otherwise, slow the heck down! 
  11. Kids are meant to get dirty so embrace it. Kids learn through hands on activities. Let them attempt to shovel that yogurt into their mouths (that will inevitably end up all of the highchair, floor and even possibly the ceiling); or finger-paint all over the kitchen table (covered with a plastic table cloth of course) to their hearts content. If my kids look dirty at the end of the day, I know it was a great day!
    Mmmm...messy watermelon all over the picnic blanket.
  12. Educate yourself. Is your toddler throwing another seemingly irrational tantrum? No, he/she is not possessed (although it really does appear that way). Cancel that exorcism because tantrums are a part of normal child development. Understanding the phases of child development makes it easier to empathize and sympathize with your child. 
    Melt down because her kite didn't fly high enough.
  13. Take a step back. As long as your child is in a safe environment there is no need to hover. Let them explore their surroundings. They are naturally curious and we should be cultivating this behaviour. Play date conflict between toddlers? Stand back and see if they are able to work it out on their own. Obviously intervene if things are getting out of hand! 
  14. Utilize your resources and connect with other parents. We are truly lucky to have access to so many parenting resources in our communities. Early Years Centres, public libraries etc. are all great places to get information and to take your kids for programs. It's also a perfect way to meet other parents in your community. And is a free service that matches you with local like-minded mommies within walking distance! 
  15. Get out. I find I get a little squirrelly if I don't get out with the kids daily. There is always some drop-in program available if you know where to look. Or just head to the park if it's a nice day. Kids are way better behaved with some fresh air in their lungs. 
  16. Take care of yourself. This is a tough one. I know I certainly stopped putting my needs first since kids came along, but recently I found myself taking a step back and reevaluating my lifestyle. I rarely eat proper meals because I'm too busy making sure the kids are fed well. I stopped exercising because I can't seem to find the time or I'm too exhausted. And yet, nutrition and exercise are the two things that should not be sacrificed. If I'm not healthy, I can't look after my kids, it's as simple as that. They are relying on me to be healthy. I'm now making it a priority to eat well and exercise. 
  17. Your time is sacred so use it wisely. Now is the time to rid your life from anyone or anything that wastes your time or sucks up your energy. Learning to say "no" is an important skill and there is no better time to use it.

What advice do you have for new parents? Let's create a supportive, loving community where we have each other's backs! Let us know what you wish you could tell new moms!

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