My parenting style is based very much on common sense. Seven years ago, I had my oldest daughter and thought I had everything figured out. She listened. She did what she was supposed to do. Not to say that she didn’t make me work at all; getting her to sleep in her crib was a battle for the first nine months, but I even got that figured out.
Then 4 ½ years ago, I had my second daughter, and she set out to prove that everything I “knew” was wrong. I am still trying to figure her out. She has her own ideas, and agenda and it is a daily challenge of trial and mostly errors with her. I just do what seems like a good idea at a time. I don’t know that I have any good tips (had you asked me with my older daughter, I probably could have given you tons, but most of them have been proven ineffective with my younger daughter.)
Sometimes, I’ll be reading through a parenting magazine and come across the tips. Most of them that seem like a good idea, I already do. Some are just silly, and I don’t do those. So, what advice can I give? What I think about most is the advice I give to all new Moms. Take care of yourself! If you don’t, how can you take care of your family?
By this, I don’t mean sleep when the baby sleeps. That’s the advice you read and hear everywhere. For some, it is just not realistic. For others, like me, it is just not wanted. I’m not a big sleeper, but the only time I could get things done was when the baby was sleeping. This was my time, and I didn’t want to waste it sleeping. My advice for when the baby is sleeping is to get the things done that you want. Paint your nails; get caught up on crafts or the scrapbook. Spend some time catching up on the reading that has fallen behind.
Mostly, I would say to make sure that you get up and take a shower every day, even if it means that putting the baby in the bouncy chair in the bathroom, the swing or even the crib. It will not hurt your baby to spend some time alone. In fact, it may help them learn to be independent. I will say that I have managed to raise two girls who will keep themselves occupied in their rooms, and I like to think that this has something to do with my parenting. Even if you only get five minutes in the shower, it will make a world of difference.
I also recommend staying out of sweatpants. As soon as you can, get back into jeans, even if it’s not your pre-pregnancy jeans. A week after my first C-Section, I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans, but with my second, not so much. Go out a buy a pair of non-stretchy, non-maternity pants. Just getting dressed every day, doing your hair and a little make-up goes a long way. Feeling better about yourself makes dealing with the “little” trials of parenting so much easier.
It will also help the relationship with your significant other which can be more than a little strained with all the other stresses of being a new parent. Babies feel the tension in the air and respond to it with their behavior. A calm house makes for a calm baby. Doing everything you can to de-stress yourself will make everybody’s life a little more pleasant. Enjoy every minute of being a parent because it does go by in a flash.
Feeling your best will make it so much easier to do.