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5 Lessons from Experienced Parents

Having a baby is one of the most life-changing events you’ll experience. The months and years after welcoming your bundle of joy are often stressful and filled with new feelings. But we’ll let you in on a little secret… it’s all going to be fine! You’re already a great parent.

With the seemingly endless stream of “do’s and don’ts” that are sure to come your way as a new parent (solicited or not), it’s hard to filter through the noise. We know you’re short on time (what parent isn’t?), so here’s a shortcut to some real words of advice from experienced parents that will help you thrive and truly enjoy the ride.

 

  1. Stop Comparing. (No, Really.)

Easier to say. Much harder to actually do. New moms often get this advice but it takes time to internalize and truly take it to heart. Every child develops at his or her own pace, and every parent has their own style of raising them. And those ‘perfect’ lives of other parents you see on social media? They’re probably dealing with their own challenges offscreen. Over time you’ll realize that there are things that truly matter, and presenting yourself as the perfect parent on social media is not one of them. Your experience as a mom or dad may not look like your own parents’, your friends’ or your neighbors’ – and that’s OK. Do what works for you and your little one. 

 

  1. Prioritize Play Time.

Playing with your child might not be first on your list of to-dos any given day, but we argue that it should be. It’s really easy to get caught up in the seemingly endless list of to-dos that come along with having a career and young children, and the pressure to get it all done when you’re scarce on time may have you constantly on the move. The to-do list will always be there when you’re done, but these are the real moments and memories that matter.

 

  1. Re-set Your Expectations.

Don’t go lowering the bar on your standards across the board, but be kind to yourself. Is it realistic to work a full-time job, spend quality time with your kids, have a healthy dinner on the table, a spotless house, empty laundry baskets and work out every night of the week? Probably not. Rather than setting that expectation and being left to feel like you’re coming up short, be honest with yourself about what’s feasible – without sacrificing your sanity or too much sleep – and focus on your priorities. 

 

  1. Take Videos. Then Take Some More.

There’s a lot to be said for putting your phone down and being present with your child. The ages and stages of childhood are fleeting, though. While it may not seem like it while you’re in the thick of it, the adorable mannerisms, expressions and quirks that your child progresses through as they grow – the ones you swear you’ll never forget – will be just a memory sooner than you think. Don’t forget to take videos, lots of them, just for a few minutes here and there, then get back to being in the moment. And don’t feel pressured to put perfect baby books together—at the end of the day, these videos are just for you.

 

  1. Finally, Say Yes to Help.

As a new parent, you’ll probably want to do it all. No one cares for your baby the way you do, but you also need to take care of yourself. It’s a ‘put on your oxygen mask first before helping others’ type thing. Whether it’s stepping out for a workout, planning a date night, taking time for a hobby or just getting some fresh air, the me-time goes a long way in self-care and being the best parent for your little one.

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