Here are a few tips and thoughts to keep you sane in early parenthood:
1. Get your priorities straight: All humans, no matter how small, need food, warmth, clean clothes and a comforting hug….everything else comes after that. Any visitors who have children will know the pile of dishes and the untamed hair really don’t matter. Don’t stress yourself with the unnecessary….better yet ask visitors to help!
2. The way you raise your child is up to you and ‘friendly advice’ doesn’t have to be followed….if it seems unnatural, you will end up feeling confused and awkward, your baby probably will too: trust your instincts. ASK for help when you need it.
3. The routine is king! Dull as it sounds, children learn well with repetition. If you can get them into a routine for meals and sleep, they will sleep better sooner (the ultimate goal!) Also, I noticed with my daughter that even when bedtime was unusually early or late for a special occasion, the bath and book routine still enabled her to settle quickly.
4. A united front: you, your partner, parents, in-laws, aunts and uncles, older siblings, babysitter….whoever sees your baby regularly needs to know the boundaries. If you say no dummies or bathtime is 7 pm, then anyone caring for bubba needs to do that too. Obviously, this is bound by what is possible: if Nana doesn’t get the baby until 6, you can’t realistically expect the little munchkin to be fed, bathed, clothed and asleep by 7…give yourself and others realistic expectations.
5. Be flexible, there will be days when they’re sick, your trying to do paperwork and there’s a beloved (and usually trustworthy) pet ‘potty training’ indoors (Not just me then?…Oh good!)….it’s OK, it’s called life. Take a deep breath, get a cuppa and give up all non-essential work until later. If you need to talk to someone or be alone for 5 minutes, then try to do that: vent what you need to and move on…you’re doing a great job. x