what every parent in waiting needs to know

It’s true that nothing will ever truly prepare you for parenthood, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do that’ll help to make the journey a little more straightforward. While you’ll never be able to get the full picture of things before the child arrives, you can at least begin getting a sense of what’s in store for you. There is, after all, a lot to know! In this blog, we’re going to run through some of the essential pieces of information that every parent ‘to be’ needs to know. 

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Your Life Will Dramatically Change

Some parents like to downplay the seriousness of the journey they’re undertaking. They have the idea that their life will carry on more or less as normal; it’s just that, now, they’ll have a baby by their side. This, of course, is not the case. It’s best to get rid of any illusion that your “old life” will remain intact. It won’t! But that’s not a bad thing. You’re moving into something that’s even better and more valuable. 

Everyone Will Have An Opinion

If there’s one thing to know about parents, it’s that every single one of them thinks they know the correct way to raise a child. And they’re very forthcoming with those opinions. You’ll be the same one day unless you actively work to prevent yourself from sliding into that role. When you’re a parent, you’ll have to put up with friends, family members, and complete strangers putting in their two cents’ worth on matters related to, well, just about everything. You can’t always stop people from sharing their thoughts, but you can control how you respond. Don’t let it annoy you!

Time Moves Fast

Time can move extremely slowly, but generally only when you’re not doing anything or when every day is the same. That’s why the coronavirus lockdown seemed to last so long! When you have a baby, you’ll be doing a lot of things all the time, and no two days will be the same. As such, you can expect that time will move extremely quickly. You’ll hit the 11 month mark before you even realise what’s going on. Meditation can help to make you more present, which can help to “slow down time,” somewhat. But the main thing will be to appreciate the experience! It’ll be rushed, but it’s always important to stop and smell the roses from time to time. 

The Parenting Style 

You’re not going to get everything right as a parent. And that’s fine — you shouldn’t expect to. However, there are things you can do that’ll push you as far in the right direction as it’s possible to go. One such approach is to figure out what you want your parenting style to be before your child arrives. There are plenty of different approaches to take, with none being necessarily better than the others; it’s just about what’s right for you. Once you have your style figured out, you’ll have something of a ‘blueprint’ for how to act/what to do as a parent. 

Be aware, however, that you won’t always stick to whatever approach you come up with. The child will have a mind of his or her own, after all. For instance, while you might want to prevent your child from watching television and eating dinner at the same time, there’ll be times when it just happens. Treat whatever approach you come up with more as guiding principles, rather than anything that’s absolute concrete. 

The Products They Need

It might be a little intimidating to think that you have to go through the parenting experience all on your own. Thankfully, that is not the case. Help is available everywhere, in the shape of advice, blogs, apps, and products. Products are especially important — there are just so many available that’ll help to make things run much more smoothly! You should buy some of the more essential items before the baby is born; you might not have the time you need to locate the item once he or she has arrived. When you’re still pregnant, read up on baby rockers, bouncers, and swings, so you can get the one that’s right for your needs. You should also take a read of the best baby apps; there’s generally something for every type of issue that a new parent would experience.

Working As A Team

You and your partner will likely have a long history of shared moments and so forth. But your baby is going to bring about your biggest challenge yet. In order to succeed as much as possible, you should actively plan to work as a team, rather than just hoping it’ll happen. It may well come together, but in nearly all cases, things run more smoothly when there’s been a conscious effort to develop a working system. The New York Yankees didn’t get to their level just by hoping that things would naturally work out. 

Working with your partner doesn’t just help you to become better parents. It also helps your relationship. Like it or not, having a baby does put a pretty big strain on a relationship. After all, it’s a pretty stressful and intense position to be in! To prevent drama and resentment from developing, think ahead of time and answer the big questions, such as who’s going to be responsible for what, how you’ll both give your time and energy to your child, and so forth. 

Make The Most of Sleep Opportunities

You’ll have heard plenty of horror stories about how little sleep new parents can get. And we’d be lying if we didn’t say that this is definitely a factor! But it’s not necessarily guaranteed. There are many babies who sleep all through the night — and often, all through the day, too. Still, there’ll likely be, at the very least, a period where you struggle to get as much shut-eye as you need. 

The solution? Sleep when your baby is asleep. Many parents use that as an opportunity to catch up with housework and so forth, but that can wait. You’ll be making much better use of your time by getting some shut-eye when you can! 

You Can Trust Your Intuition

We mentioned earlier how there’s a lot of information out there about the correct way to parent and so forth. However, while those words of advice can be useful when you have no idea what to do, you won’t need to always get the thoughts and opinions of experts. Parenting is natural and you can trust your intuition; if something seems wrong, then don’t do it — if it feels right, then do it. You’ll find that having confidence in your natural ability to raise a child can ease some of the pressure you feel, plus it’ll just save you time, since you won’t always need to consult Dr Google.

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It’s Important To Stay Social

Your life is going to change significantly. But it’s important to avoid falling into the trap of excluding everything that you once knew and loved. With your child occupying so much of your time, it’s normal to discount friends and family. However, it’s really important that you stay social — you’ll be amazed at just how much of a difference it can make to your general well-being. It’s usually only after they’ve spent an evening with friends that most people realise just how important those moments are to their happiness. So while your baby will be your main focus, you can always take some time to see your nearest and dearest! 

Self-Care

The main priority for all parents is to ensure that their baby has everything that they need. However, that shouldn’t be their only priority. If you have a baby, it’s also important that you’re taking care of yourself. Is your mental, physical, and spiritual health all that it could be? If not, then allocate more time to it, and get to a good space. This will actually have a positive impact on your parenting skills, too — if you’re at your top level, then you’ll be able to give more to your family, and you’ll be happy while you do it, too.

Enjoy the Ride

Finally, be sure to enjoy the ride. It’ll be exciting, fun, joyful, stressful, and anxiety-inducing all at the same time. And you know what’ll happen at the end? You’ll get through it just fine. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and take the time to appreciate the path that you’re on. Take photos, slow down, and give yourself a break — it’s the least that you deserve. 

Conclusion

As we said at the beginning of the article, there’s nothing that’ll truly prepare you for the madness of becoming a parent for the first time. But as with all things, the more knowledge that you have, the better you’ll be able to navigate yourself along the way. While we can never promise that it’ll be a smooth journey from beginning to end, we can promise that it’ll all be worth it! 

** This was a contributed post.

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to four (two on earth, one in heaven, and growing another). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
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