Creating a baby registry can be so much fun. Baby items are tangible proof (aside from the growing belly) that your baby is coming! Yet it’s easy to get swept away in the latest gadget and forget what your baby needs most…you.
While I understand the need for products, products will never replace the skills required to successfully care for your children and yourself. I guarantee you’ll toss the products on your registry long before losing the need for these five essential skills.
The need for patience will only intensify as your baby grows. Frustrations are a given when you’re a parent. If you expect things to take a little longer, be a little messier, and a little louder, you can cut down on frustrations tremendously.
No doubt, your life will change with a baby. Change can be hard. Having patience with yourself while you navigate those changes can make becoming a parent an incredible opportunity for growth. You’re going to mess up. Guaranteed! That’s ok. You’re going to figure it out and your baby will continue loving you more than ever each day. Learning from your mistakes takes time. Be patient with yourself as you grow into the parent you’re going to be.
Having empathy for your baby is not that hard. In fact, they demand it. They cry until you understand. They cry until their needs are met. The tough part is having empathy for yourself or your partner.
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is never easy, especially when you’re exhausted and confused those first few months after bringing baby home. Recognize you’re all going through big changes. and you’ll all need to find your way in your new roles. Being honest about what is needed (and what is not) without waiting for anger and frustrations to fester, can help bring you closer than ever.
Sometimes as new parents, we pressure ourselves to live up to what we think a parent “should” be. Take “should” out of your vocabulary. Find what works best for you and your family. It may
look differently than other families. We all need different things in this world. Do what ACTUALLY works, not what “should” work.
Creating roles within your family dynamic can give everyone a place and help things run more smoothly. Having everyone pitch in breeds empathy because when you work together, you’re in it together. Roles don’t have to be traditional; they just have to work. Set everyone up for success by choosing roles that fit individual strengths.
Everyone always talks about how joyful it is to bring home a baby. While it can be very joyful, it can also be super scary. There are so many things to learn and so many things you’ll wish you already knew. Your relationships will change (some for the worse, some for the better) and you may fumble when it comes to finding who you are and how to make everything fit.
You’re not alone. Everyone feels that way. At least a little. It’s normal to worry you’re not doing a good job. You know what that means? You’re doing an excellent job! If you care enough to try, you’re an amazing parent! That’s literally all it takes. Find the joy in everything you do. The triumphs, the failures, the mess, the mundane, the growth. You can choose to enjoy the progress you’re making. When you’re in the muck, imagine how you’ll feel about that moment in 5-10 years. If you chuckle, you’re doing just fine.
Being a parent is incredibly hard. It’s hard in ways you won’t even realize until you’re in it. Understanding you don’t and can’t know everything about your baby or even yourself can help you thrive instead of drown.
Ask for help! Seek counseling. Get help cleaning and cooking. Have someone watch your baby when you need a break. Reach out to friends and family when you’re feeling lonely. Somehow, along the way, we’ve told ourselves that we can and should do everything alone. This is not a realistic expectation and the rise in postpartum mood disorders proves it. We need each other.
Doing what you need to create happiness in your life means you are thriving, not failing. Needing help is growth, not failure. I like to think about managing a family like managing a business. If my business was growing and I’d make a lot more money by hiring a few employees, wouldn’t I do it? So, if your family will become happier and more efficient by accepting help, would you be willing to do that?
Being a parent is scary at times. You’ll discover a fierce courage you may not have realized was within you. When your baby is in any kind of danger, real or imagined, you’ll do things you never even thought possible. You’ll gladly walk through fire to keep your baby safe. Scratch that. You’ll sprint through fire, without hesitation. You’ll become a superhero without even having to try. You’ll experience a power inside like you’ve never felt. If that feeling doesn’t come right away, that’s normal. Once you learn the ins and outs of your baby (you’ll know them better than anyone else), your courage will come. Remember, growth takes time!
Focus on these items instead of items you can find at the store and you’re going to rock being a parent.