If I could only give one piece of parenting advice for new parents, it would be this. Take one day at a time. Yes, you will make mistakes. Learn to forgive yourself. And trust your instincts. No one knows your baby as you do.
Many years ago, as a new mom, I was inundated with advice from everyone around me. Some of it was helpful, while some of it, eh, not so much. The thing is, advice for raising children is not a one-size-fits-all. Every baby and family dynamics are different.
With that being said, there is one thing we parents all have in common, though. And that is, we all get overwhelmed at times by the demands of parenting. Because, without a doubt, parenting IS stressful at times. But the good news is, there are ways of tackling the overwhelm. The trick is learning how to manage the stress spiral before it turns into a storm.
Parenting advice for new parents
Below are some things you can do to stop be overwhelmed by parenting:
Often as a parent, your head gets filled with so many thoughts and decisions to be made your brain feels scrambled and incapable of thinking straight. That’s when you know it’s time to sweep out the cobwebs that are mucking up your thinking so you can have more clarity with a fresh start.
To do this, unload all your thoughts that are tumbling around in your brain and write them down in a manner that is convenient and comfortable to you. It doesn’t matter whether they are logistical (things that need to get done such as picking up a suit from the dry cleaners) or emotional (feelings or worries like worrying if your toddler is developmentally delayed ). The main thing is to let everything come out so you can give your brain a bit of space.
Now that you’ve unloaded all of your thoughts, it’s time to filter out the non-essentials. In other words, ask yourself: What do I absolutely have to do for myself and my family? Eliminate what is not necessary. Sometimes just seeing it on paper helps you to realize that it isn’t something that genuinely needs to be done.
Look for things that you can delegate for someone else to do such as your spouse, your children, or maybe a co-worker (if your list includes worries about work). Or perhaps you could take advantage of a service like Shipt to have your groceries delivered.
Now it’s time to prioritize the remaining items on your list. But of course, some things are just more important than other stuff.
If your list seems impossibly long, don’t be intimidated by it. Instead, try assigning tasks or projects into three categories like Now, Later, and Someday.
We all want to think that we can multi-task, but it’s proven that our brains can’t actually do it. We might think we are accomplishing many things at once, but it comes at the price of focusing less. Trying to do too many things at once is bad for your well-being at any time, but it’s even worse when you are in overwhelm mode. So, let this be your new mantra: I will do only one thing at a time.
I am amazed at what new parents think they need to raise a child today. When I had my first baby shower, the usual gifts were staples like blankets, sleepers, bottles, etc. I go to a baby shower today, and new moms take home nursing pillows, sound machines, formula dispensers, diaper cream bum spatulas (okay, this was really handy with my grandchild). But I digress.
My point is this; sometimes the house can become so congested with every gadget, toy, and piece of baby equipment known to man that trying to walk through the house is like an obstacle course. Let alone the piles of laundry and overflowing diaper pails.
Clutter = Stress
So do yourself a favor and take 15 minutes to de-clutter the room you are in. And think about simplifying your way of life, so there’s less stuff to mess up your place.
Asking for help or accepting help when it is offered is probably the most valuable parenting advice for new parents I can give. And, no, it is not a sign of weakness, nor does it make you a bad parent. But, unfortunately, it can be tempting to act like you have everything under control even though you are falling apart behind the scenes.
Receiving help or chatting with other parents can go a long way in helping you normalize the fears and anxieties you are experiencing. And who knows, you might have some tips you can share to support them with something they are dealing with.
So go ahead, give the embarrassment and shame the big heave-ho and be honest with someone you trust about how you’re feeling. You’re going to find you are not alone in your feelings.
And lastly, my final piece of parenting advice for new parents: Relax and take deep breaths, don’t forget your sense of humor, and know that you will make it!
Every new parent is going to have periods of feeling overwhelmed. There’s no way around it. However, when you know how to manage the stresses and responsibilities of parenting, you will be on your way to stopping the stress from spiraling into a storm. If you would like to learn more strategies to manage stress after trying some of the advice above, working with ananxiety coach through breakthrough coaching is a great way to do it. They can help you discover anxiety relief techniques that will enable you to navigate the challenges that the growing years of your children can bring.
Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or make an appointment online. Together, we can work on strategies to manage the stresses that family life brings, thereby helping you to become the calm and happy parent you want to be.