Having your first child and becoming a new parent is something that will change your life no matter who you are and what stage you are in your life. For myself, parenthood has brought on a whole new set of challenges and thought processes that were in my mind previously, but really became apparent to me when our child was actually in front of me.
One of the reasons that I don’t like to comment about other people’s situations is because you won’t really know how you would react in certain situations until it’s you in that situation. Parenthood is one of those situations. I have heard other parents give their insights, experiences, and stories about how being a parent is for them, but I see now that I couldn’t really grasp what they are saying in full until I became a parent myself.
In this post are 6 important new parent realizations that I had after having our first child. Most likely you will find that these will hold some relevance to your life as well if you’ve had your first child or will have a child in the immediate or long-term future.
Everything Is Different Now As A New Parent
Of course, you know that everything will be different when your child eventually comes, but however you build it up in your mind, multiply it by 10 because it’s really that serious.
I am no longer just a singular person or individual. I have a dependent that I need to be responsible and look after. Many of the excuses I might have had for doing or not doing certain things will be held up to the light as a father and I want to be able to be a good example for my son.
Being a new parent can feel overwhelming to some and the quicker I came to terms with the fact that this is a permanent new challenge for me to positively work towards, the more comfortable I started to feel in my new role as a new parent.
Dedicating Energy To Your Partner Is More Essential Than Ever
Something that is super important to have in your mind whether you are a new mother or a new father is that even though you have welcomed a new child into the world before you became a parent, you were a partner also.
An article by GoodToKnow mentions how a fifth of parents break up in the year after having a baby. The reasons why become clearer and clearer when you have a child — not communicating properly and not dedicating energy to your partner’s wellbeing can cause arguments and tensions, especially combined with the many sleepless nights that you will likely have.
It became very apparent to me how much one can take on being a new parent to the point of starting to lose sight of looking out for each other’s well-being. Words of affirmation, sitting down to question, reflect, and making sure your partner is in good spirits will be vital, especially in the initial periods of being a new parent. Especially for all the men out there, making sure our women are in good spirits after they went through the hours of labour should be our top priority. Post-natal depression is a thing that many women can go through so doing our part to minimize this is very important.
You Do Not Need To Take On Everyone’s Advice
So many people will give you ‘advice’ on what you should do when it comes to looking after your child. Some of it may come from family, some of it may come from friends or other people that have children. Ultimately, every baby is different. What worked for others might not work for your child and you won’t really know until you spend time with your child and see what they take to and what they don’t take to.
Don’t let people impose their parenting practices on you, listen to the advice you’re given but this is best to be implemented with your own research and experimentation. It’s your child so raise them in the best way that you feel fit.
Your Free Time Will Not Be The Same Again
Where before when you were childless you might have whole days where you didn’t do much, you might have slept for the entire day or let the day pass you by, when you become a new parent you see your time in so much of a different way.
Where your time was largely yours before, now a large portion of your time will be invested in your child’s wellbeing. Whether that means feeding, spending time, or looking after your kid, your time is used in a much different way.
When you do get even a small window of free time for yourself, it becomes so refreshing. Simple things like having 20 minutes to myself to listen to music felt like I was having a glass of water while being in the middle of the desert.
Every Moment Will Feel Like So Much More
It really hit me how much more weight life has for me right now. Parenthood makes everything feel like more to you. All the decisions you make or don’t make have more of an impact now and affect your child. It’s a lot to take in at first.
Talking to other parents it’s something that most will agree on — having a child makes you feel so much more alive than before. There’s more of a push, a drive, a reason to live and make the most of your life for yourself as well as your family. Now I feel much less of a feeling of being on autopilot as now I’m forced to engage my brain more and be more present in the moment, which I’m grasping more and more now.
Life Has Only Just Begun As A New Parent
No matter what has happened in your life before your child came, as a new parent it really becomes apparent how it’s only the beginning. Having a child is a whole new chapter in your story and you have a whole new set of experiences to have, with your child, with your partner, and with your family also.
There will be ups and there will be downs but every other parent out there has gone through their own unique journey. I look forward to the new experiences because I won’t be able to grow without them. I’ve had 31 years of life so far and the fact that I have so many decades of life ahead and the fact that I get to go through them with my own family now is a humbling experience. I owe it to myself to take this opportunity, cherish it and make the most of it now.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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