My Advice For First-Time Parents
Sometimes the most ambitious thing you can do is take a break.
I’m eight months pregnant with Baby #2 and that’s the big change I’m making this time around.
My advice for first-time parents is to give yourself at least a month to focus on you, your baby, and your partner. That means prioritizing sleep and rest, eating well, and letting go of other obligations.
With my son, everyone told me, “Life will never be the same,” and “You won’t sleep,” and “Parenting is wonderful… and also really hard.”
But I still wasn’t prepared. The first few weeks of motherhood were all encompassing, physically and mentally. I had created momentum for myself by publishing content each week in the months leading up to the due date. I wanted to keep up my streak and thought I would have pockets of time to write, but my weekly deadline added even more anxiety to the situation. I was on edge.
This led to daily arguments with my husband, which I now appreciate to be the most sacred relationship when you’re tackling parenting a newborn together for the first time. You and your partner are all you have in those beginning days. Everything is new and unexpected and it’s wild you created an actual human being together. At times it’s the ultimate bonding experience. At other times you’re incredulous when you’re not on the same page about everything to do with your baby. But it’s impossible to be on the same page about every little thing, especially when you’re both in uncharted territory and sleep deprived.
With baby #2 I’m told, “It’s much easier,” and “You’re not as worried as you were with the first.” I believe these will both be true, but I’ll also have an 18-month-old son to care for. So while I’m more comfortable breastfeeding and caring for an infant, I’ve also got this other ball of energy who needs my love and attention. Both my babies deserve a present mama and my husband deserves a present partner. And I can’t be present if I’m distracted by deadlines.
By focusing exclusively on parenting for a month, I expect to feel less anxiety, less burnout, more love and more patience. My writing will be even better when I return because I’ll be generating a daily content library of observations in those first few weeks. Like when my newborn son literally shit across the room and it looked like something I’d see in a movie where I’d roll my eyes and say, “That would never happen in real life.”
It did happen. It was gross. And months later my husband found dried poop on a mirror that was caught in the crossfire.
In these last few weeks leading up to Baby Girl’s arrival I’m attempting to be as productive as possible - just like I did last pregnancy. But this time, when Baby Girl arrives, I’m pressing the pause button on everything outside of my family. And rather than feel stressed out about that, I feel relief.