Like anything new, there’s always that very real fear of the unknown. The “unknown” is pretty scary, bringing up all this anxiety about not having control, not having the “right” skills, and not being prepared for what’s to come. It’s our survival instinct, which is pretty normal.
When it came to being a new parent, I’ll admit that I was very nervous. I’ll also admit that this is a normal experience when it comes to being a parent. Not only for new parents, but each new child brings with him or her a new bit of nervousness.
I asked myself so many things: “how will I do this?” “when will I do that?” I wondered how it was even possible to do all the many things on the new parent to-do list. I was also overwhelmed with so many thoughts. I didn’t think about or realize all these things until it came time to actually becoming a parent, so I also didn’t realize that all the aspects of parenting would fall into their own schedule, and that everything would work itself out. I had to go through it all for myself.
What I did learn is that there are some tips that made my life as a parent a lot easier.
TIP #1: Organization is key.
Being organized is one of the most important tips that I can share. Personally, I was a very organized person to begin with, and keeping organized as a parent really helped me juggle all the many hats of being a Mom.
TIP #2: Stick to a schedule.
I always worked with and lived by a schedule. I had schedules to get things done, schedules for my kids’ activities, schedules for my personal life, schedules to update my schedules. I also did my best to give myself and my family the time and space to have my undivided attention, too.
TIP #3: Get help.
When I gave birth, I had a nurse for the first couple of weeks, and she taught me so much. She helped me ease into all aspects of motherhood, making me so much more secure in handling what to do first, second, third and so on. She helped me with bathing, diapering, cleaning, sterilizing baby bottles, the works. That little bit of hand-holding made me so much more at ease.
I remember the first time I had to sterilize baby bottles. I had no idea what that actually meant. I was scared that I would do it wrong, that I wouldn’t clean and sterilize the bottle properly. What if my baby catches germs if I don’t sterilize right? What if I didn’t diaper my infant just right and they developed a diaper rash? Among other worried thoughts. I didn’t want to seem like a horrible mother.
TIP #4: Don’t judge yourself.
All the crazy thoughts that ran through my head constantly made me feel like I was the only one. Do other Moms worry about this? Do other new parents think about that? The thing that I would remind myself if I did it all over again today, is that it’s normal to be afraid and worried. Becoming a new mom means so much new learning to do!
As time went on, I learned so many new things about myself and about parenting. Suddenly the old fears disappeared (and in came new ones). Suddenly I wasn’t confused about sterilizing (I was confused about something else). Most importantly, I got a bit more comfortable being uncomfortable as a new parent.
TIP #5: Find your routine.
The best part about giving myself time to find my way, was that eventually I found my own personal routine. After a bit of time, I figured out how to take care of my baby on my baby’s schedule. I eventually figured out how my personal schedule worked with my baby’s, too. With practice I could only hope to find my own kind of perfect!
TIP #6: Babysitting doesn’t prepare you fully.
Even though I always babysat as a teenager for children of all ages, being a mom with my own children that I couldn’t give back at the end of the night was a whole new experience for me. I had to pinch myself and remind myself that I was a new MOM now, with a new infant all my own. The feelings are different, the responsibilities are different, and the experience was completely different. This as a new life that I had to bring up from the start, day-in and day-out.
TIP #7: Fear is normal. Embrace it.
A final word of advice for new parents is to know that the fears you are having are a normal part of the process, and something to be expected. The unknown is scary for everyone, and everything will fall into place with a bit of patience and practice.
Learning new things takes time for everyone, and it’s unrealistic to expect to know and master everything in one day — especially parenting a new life. The key is to embrace the fear, feel all the feelings, and realize that with love and patience you’ll eventually find your way.