If you’re the parent of a newborn, you know how demanding your newfound job can be. Your baby requires constant attention, and most of the time you’re running on fumes as far as sleep is concerned. As much as you love and appreciate your new role as caretaker of the latest addition to your family, it can sometimes be difficult to find enjoyment in the midst of the daily flurry of frenetic activity. Below are some tips to help you take it all in and enjoy your baby’s first year.
Don’t be afraid to ask for–and accept–help.
Many new parents struggle with feeling inadequate because they find it very hard to keep up with the whirlwind of tasks and to-dos that come along with taking care of a new baby. Throw any feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment out the window and ask for some help! You may have already had certain family members or close friends offer to help out–please let them. Recognizing that you need help is actually a good sign, and being willing to accept that help is the mark of a mature and well-balanced parent.
Hold your baby. A lot.
There will come a day when your little one will be able to walk, and when that time comes, they’re not going to be too interested in letting you hold them anymore. Cherish these moments by taking the time to hold, carry, snuggle, and cuddle with your baby on a frequent basis. It helps to create an unspoken bond of love and security that will benefit your child throughout their early years.
Take tons of pictures.
If you talk to any experienced parents or empty-nesters, they’ll tell you that those babies grow up fast. Take a lot of pictures so that you can “freeze” this unique moment in time. Your baby will be growing and changing a little bit every day, so savor each moment and create plenty of photo albums (either physical or virtual) to remember this important phase in their life.
Put non-essential activities on pause.
If you were keeping an ultra-busy social schedule before Baby showed up, you’re not going to have as much free time as you previously did. Simplify your life and put non-essential activities on pause, so that you can focus on your most important job.
Don’t stress out over being the “perfect” parent.
The “perfect” parent simply does not exist. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself to get everything right all the time. Here’s an important tip: You’re going to make plenty of mistakes. That doesn’t make you a horrible parent; it makes you human. Nobody is judging you, scoring you, or rewarding you for your parenting skills, so don’t give into any thoughts of inadequacy or perfectionism with your parenting. Just do your best and don’t stress over the rest.
It may be hard to believe right now, but there will come a day when you will miss these unpredictable, somewhat chaotic times. As your seasons of parenting continue to change, you’ll recognize more and more just how special the first year of your baby’s life really was. Use the ideas above to help you take full advantage of this precious gift of time with your little one.