Best Advice for New Parents…

Congratulations!  Before you read any further, you will need the instruction book that they gave you when you left the hospital.  It should be entitled How to Raise a Child.  Don’t panic, just kidding.

As you know, your newborn didn’t come with any type of directions.  You have to figure it out on your own. No matter what anyone tells you, it’s not easy.  But keep in mind, nothing worth having is easy.

Get ready for the ride of a lifetime. It’s well worth it.  Here’s some advice to get you started.

Ignore what you want to ignore:
When I was pregnant – it seemed like that was an invitation for people to impose their advice on you.  There’s no doubt you have things to learn. But you will find very quickly that people don’t hold back.  You’ll get a lot of, “When I was raising my kids…”. Remember – advice is great but you don’t have to take all of it.

The unsolicited advice does get old. It will range from car seat laws to drinking water, to sleeping position. Listen to advice from people you trust and respect and then apply it where you see it fit into your own parenting style.

So ignore what you want to ignore and try what you want to try.  But, don’t get worked up about what people are telling you. If everyone was supposed to raise kids the same, they would have come with an instruction book. But they don’t.

Set a schedule:

Best advice I was given while I still pregnant – get the book Baby Wise. There are a lot of books out there to help you with scheduling or parenting in general but the reason why setting a schedule for yourself and your baby is so important…your sanity! If you are constantly letting the baby dictate your day you both are going to be exhausted by the end of it and your sanity lost in a glass of wine.

Steal Your Moments:

You’ll learn really quickly that these moments will creep up.  The first finger grab, the first smile, the first coo. Bask in them.  They are worth it. They make your heart skip a beat. And they give you the warm and fuzzies in your belly.  Nothing else is better than those moments with your child.

Nap:

You’ll hear this from other parents, doctors, nurses and random people in the grocery store. Sleep when your baby is sleeping. The dishes will be there, the laundry isn’t going anywhere, and the bathroom can be dirty. 

It doesn’t matter where you live.  Your Minneapolis real estate value or your Pittsburgh property appraisal isn’t going to plummet because of the mess inside your home when you are raising your baby.  It’s going to happen. If you obsess over trivial things, you won’t get the rest you need. Your baby deserves you at your best. Nap, and let the other things wait.

It’s cliché to say that time flies. But it really does. I can’t believe that I have an almost 3-year-old already! So, take a look at the big picture. You get 18 of every significant event in their childhood where you are still in control. You get 18 summers, 18 Christmases, 18 birthdays, etc. The first three they will likely not remember.  So, you need to really cherish every step of the way.  

And, most importantly, you need to cherish it your way, not the way other people tell you to.  Even if it’s new and scary, it’s your baby, and you are going to mess up. As long as you love him/her, everything else works out.

I am no expert but I’ve learn a few things along my journey as a parent and learning more things all the time! I can’t say that the journey is easy – but it is worth it because when your child tells you that they love you, or scream for joy when you enter the room…it is worth it!