5 Things Every New Parent Should Know

November 1, 2022

by carol evenson, guest contributors 

Being a parent is tough. It feels like you're being pulled in a million different directions on any given day, all with little to no sleep. If you're new to parenthood, things can seem even more daunting. Whether you just welcomed a newborn, adopted a child, or married someone with kids, it's normal to feel overwhelmed at first. If you're a first-time parent, here are five things to remember to help you out.

1. Learn From Your Mistakes

The first thing to remember is that you need to learn from your mistakes. As hard as you try, you're inevitably going to mess something up in the child-rearing process. Rather than getting stuck on those mistakes and allowing them to cripple you, choose to learn and grow from them. Even the best parents you know have screwed up with their kids. The best thing you can do is apologize, learn, and move on.

2. Release Unnecessary Expectations

The next thing to keep in mind is that you should release unnecessary expectations. You've probably heard the phrase "Comparison is the thief of joy." That statement is especially true when it comes to parenting. If you constantly hold yourself to an unrealistic standard, you'll only achieve extra stress and frustration. Not every meal has to be Pinterest-worthy. Your home doesn't always have to look like something from HGTV. The faster you release the expectation of perfection, the happier you'll be as a parent.

3. Routines Are Your Best Friend

Third, remember that routines are your new best friend. Whether you have a newborn or older children that you're parenting, sticking to a routine will help make everything easier for you. For instance, if you struggle to get your kids to bed, having a bedtime plan will reduce stress for you and your little ones. Even simple habits like reading a book together or including hygiene practices can shape your evening into something more manageable. By developing multiple daily routines, you can reduce stress for yourself and your children.

4. Getting Help Isn't Weakness

Next, you should remember that getting/asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. At some point in your parenting journey, you're going to inevitably get completely overwhelmed. Even the most put-together parents you know have reached that breaking point where they're just too tired, everything is too messy, or they simply need to be alone. When you hit that wall, don't be afraid to reach out for help. Getting someone to watch your kids for an afternoon so you can take a nap or go to the grocery store alone isn't a sign that you're a subpar parent. In fact, it's helping to make you a better one. If you feel like you can't keep going, don't hesitate to reach out for help.

5. Time With Your Kids Is Vital

The final thing to remember is that time with your kids is vital. As your children grow up, they won't remember the gifts you bought on their birthday or the fun surprises you got when you had to stay late at work. What they will remember is the quality time you spend with them. While there's nothing wrong with surprising your little ones with presents, keep in mind that your presence is what matters most to them. As much as possible, make fun memories with your kids. Go on family walks, play games together, and make the mundane activities of life enjoyable. The more time you spend with your children, the healthier your relationship with them will be.

In summary, parenting will always be a challenging job. However, by remembering these five statements, you can reduce your own stress and build healthier relationships with your kids.

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