When you’re a first-time mom, you hear advice coming out of the woodwork. It seems that everyone you know has some advice for you on how to be a good parent, ranging from your child’s soon to be sleep habits to exactly how to properly burp a baby.
Some of the advice I was given as a first time mom was completely off, but some advice has stuck with me, and there are a few pieces of advice I received the first time around that I’m abiding by now.
Sleep now, while you still can! While the first time around, I thought, “That’s silly. You can’t stockpile sleep and use it later, it doesn’t work that way!”, I now realize what those moms were saying. For most parents, it takes months or sometimes even years to reach the point where you get a good night’s sleep. And, even then, you’re waking to every slight creak or bluster of wind, thinking it’s your babe. I fully recognize now that napping while my son naps and sleeping in whenever he does, or when my husband gives me the chance, feels wonderful, and I am stockpiling that wonderful, refreshed feeling for the sleepless nights ahead.
Don’t go out and buy tons of baby items until you know you need them. With our son, we purchased tons of baby items. While it’s less convenient (and not part of my obsessive nature) to not have an entire bin of things we might need for the baby, it saves a ton of money on things you’ll never end up using. If we need something now, I know it can be a nice break from the routine to get us out for an hour or two to run errands. And, if I’m needing a few minutes to myself as a nursing mother who’s on the clock 24 hours a day with a new baby, it gives my husband some bonding time with both children while I step out for a few minutes to pick something up.
Give your partner some slack and expect to be given some slack in return. As first-time parents, I think it’s easy to become overwhelmed at the sleep deprivation and become angrier or more surly with your spouseor significant other. As a second-time parent, I think both my husband and I realize the drill. We’re not going to be at our perfect best the few months after a child is born. We’ll try the best we can to be respectful with each other, but at the same time, we realize now that it doesn’t have anything to do with the strength of our marriage or our love for one another if we get cross at each other at 5 a.m. after a full night of baby wrangling. It happens, and we still love each other.
What are some pieces of parenting advice you’ve been given that you find or found particularly helpful?