Becoming a new parent is one of the most life altering events you will experience and requires a huge amount of learning, surrendering, exploring, growing and discovering. It is like starting a new job without any training or manual. All the other employees have been around forever and seem to think it is their sole purpose in life to tell you how to do your work but none of them are staying after hours to get their project done. Parenting can feel lonely and overwhelming and yet once you find your way it can be the most amazing journey ever traveled. So here are my tips to help you find your way as you start your new job:
Let go of expectations
Wow this is a big one. This is one of the most anticipated events of your life. It is scary and exciting all at the same time. Expectations and plans help us make sense of the unknown---and a new baby is uncharted territory. But when plans don’t go as we expect it is hard to adjust and enjoy the moment for what it is---not what we expected it to be. Just being aware of our expectations is a step in the right direction. I was expecting the baby to sleep longer, I was expecting to breast feed, I was expecting a girl. And then asking ourselves and trying to stay open to new possibilities of what parenting is going to be like.
Parenting is a process not a destination.
Before baby even arrives most parents have read all the right books, registered their child for mommy and me classes,
decorated the room, researched the best diapers, taken lessons on how to push and open the stroller and started making homemade organic baby food. We cannot “parent” until the baby arrives and we really have no idea what is going to be expected of us until we get to meet our baby. You cannot start your job until you arrive at your office or receive your first project. So expertise----parenting expertise just like work expertise---develops over time. It means you are going to make mistakes and you are not going to do it
all----and definitely not perfectly. Becoming a skilled and confident parent takes practice, time and conscious effort. So meet the baby first and then start your journey together.
Try not to compare
Every child is unique and comes pre-package with their own personality, likes, and mannerisms. You are unique and that means the relationship between you and your child is unique. It is an accumulation of your personality, your child’s personality and
the dynamic between you. Comparing your child to those of others forces us to focus on what our child cannot do verses what they can do and we miss the things that make them unique. This is what Brene Brown, author of “The Gifts of Imperfecting Parenting refers to as scarcity rather than gratitude. Practice gratitude. Your child’s self esteem and self-worth will thank you for it. And
you will become a more confident parent.
Have fun you say when you are knee deep in puke and poop. One of the best ways to laugh about your new experiences is to call another mom friend that you trust and share your story, keep a journal or video tape the chaos. It might not seem or look funny in the moment but it will become funny days or even weeks later…..or it might take years. The point is to not take yourself too seriously. Children have survived for centuries with much less. According to Judith Warner of Perfect Madness we are the most educated mothers to date. So remind yourself of that the next time things seem totally out of control.
The love affair evolves
As you get into a routine (however chaotic of routine this might
seem---especially for all you type As) and you get a handle on feeding, sleeping and showering and begin to distinguish day from night you will begin to have time to see, feel, smell, hold, play and laugh with your baby. This is when the love affair begins. So don’t worry if you are just not feeling it at the word go. These things take time. Love evolves and grows. Infatuation exists
in a moment and this is true even for your new born baby.