Advice For First Time Parents, From a First Time Parent

When you are a parent for the first time, you are doing the best you can. You actually don't know what you are doing, but just letting yourself go with the flow is your motto. But there are so many times, right now, nearly four years later, when I think about how I handled everything and what I could have done to make it all easier.

So here is a bit of advice for a first-time mother, from a first-time mother.

1. Listen to everyone's advice.

I was just so stuck up on not taking anyone's advice. EVERY body wanted to give an advice but I just wanted to shut it down so I wouldn't confuse myself. Everyone had a different opinion about parenting and the things that I could do and not do. And I wish I would've listened to it. I am not saying that everyone is going to give you the right advice. They will tell you what worked well for them. And every parent, every baby and every situation is different. Just listen to what they are saying and do what is right for your baby and for yourself. These days, like me, many parents don't want to listen to anybody's advice until they ask for it. But there have been so many instances when my sister had told me 'Just listen to me. And if you feel that it won't work for you, then don't go ahead with it.'

2. Sleep when the baby sleeps.

Oh, my God. EVERY body said the same thing to me. But then what about the dishes? The laundry? The house? The food? The curry isn't going to cook itself and neither is the laundry going to fold itself. But, a newborn baby sleeps for approximately 15-18 hours of their first few weeks of being born. And I was always wasting time and not doing chores and just relaxing when my son slept. But I wish I would've slept when he slept. At least it wouldn't have taken a toll on my frustrations, just letting it out all on my husband. I am not saying that sleep for the 18 hours your baby sleeps but I wish I could've scheduled my chores accordingly. The first nap he took, I could've completed half my chores and with the second nap, I could've slept with him. And that would have saved me a lot of cranky-ness during the sleepless nights when I was overworked and under-slept.

3. Stop comparing.

I had a family friend who would just compare their children's milestones with my child. And I swear it put me under such a lot of stress. I would compare Azlan to every other child not realising that every single child has a different capacity for achieving certain milestones. Glad to say, that the person is not in my life anymore. But if I could do it all over again, I wouldn't compare my child to other's milestones. Every child is different in their own way.

4. Meal prepare in advance. 

This is one advice that I wish I had listened to. As a first time mother, I had no idea what lay ahead of me and I was so chill with everything that when it finally hit me, I literally laughed at myself. When you are a first-time mother, you are not just worried about the workload but your routine just changes in a split second. The time you are supposed to be making dinner, you are either feeding your baby, snoring for dear life or just trying to sort your mental state out. I wish I had prepared a few meals in advance so that on days when I had no energy left to do anything, I could have just popped something out of the freezer and have piping hot soul food on the table to feed my small family.

5. Relax. You are doing fine.

When you become a mother for the first time, you are in a constant battle with yourself thinking if you are raising your child well or doing everything right. You are always in a complete frenzy, checking google every few minutes, reading books, reading labels, joining a gazillion mum groups. I wish I had relaxed a little bit and just gone with the flow. Not worried about every single thing while raising my child.

6. You don't have to feel guilty all the time.

Your priorities change when you become a mother. You put your child first before anything else. There is no denying that. But you're a human before you are a mother. So to keep yourself sane, it is definitely okay to leave your child in the hands of people you absolutely trust and go for a night out or lunch or even just to grab a cup of coffee on your own. I was ALWAYS tiptoeing around the idea of leaving my son in my husbands care and going to the supermarket to get a few things and I always just felt so guilty leaving him and no sooner had I stepped out of the door, I would just come rushing back in and send my husband out to get the work done.

7. Ask for help.

Even though thank the Lord, I have managed everything on my own, there were times that I wish I would've asked for help. I stressed uselessly and endlessly about completing chores so my house would at least look presentable. Coming from Pakistan, where maids picked up everything that you left behind, it was hard completing chores on my own. And I really wish that I could've hired help so that I could feel sane.

8. Make new friends.

Just because you are a mother now, doesn't mean that you only need to have mommy friends. I only looked for people who were either going to be parents or were already mothers. The constant chatter that revolved around kids and families just wore me out so much. And I have taken up this advice now. Every now and then, I meet my friends who aren't parents and it is so refreshing to talk about anything and everything besides parenting.

9. Pamper yourself.

If you had met me three years back, you would've seen me in a night suit with hair going berserk and skin acting up with no sense of looking good just for the sake of it. Going back, I wish I had taken the time out to pamper myself. To treat myself to good clothes, to get an occasional pedicure or get my nails done. It is very important to feel good when you are a parent. And how are you going to feel good when you don't look good? Get some pre-natal and post-natal massages done as well so you feel relaxed before giving birth and after giving birth too. Getting a perineal massage is also a great way to de-stress before giving birth. It increases elasticity while giving birth!

10. Create a bond with your other half.

We were both first-time parents who had absolutely NO idea what was happening. We were just trying to do things on our own, trying to wind each other up unintentionally. And with breastfeeding, sleepless nights and doing everything on my own came another wave of emotions that lead to fighting all the time. Now, I wish, we had talked more and opened up about our feelings and helped each other with everything.

Having said all this, when I plan another child, I am making sure that I don't make myself suffer like the first time round and follow up on these steps so that I don't stress my husband and myself to the point that the negative energy surrounds my family. We all are trying to become parents that have kids who are happy.Trying to become parents that create a happy and a healthy family atmosphere and making sure that nothing negative takes a toll on our children.