It’s to be expected that as a new or old parent, you’ll make some mistakes. You won’t do everything right and will have regrets and guilt because those things come with the territory. Now that I have two children, I find myself, often at 3 am, reflecting on the things I did as a new parent that I wish I hadn’t. Because I’m feeling particularly reflective today, I thought I’d share my top 5 with you.
As a new parent, I wish:
- I didn’t try to give parenting advice. The lessons that you learn from the time that your children is 0 to 12 months are many, but…they are ONLY the tip of the iceberg. Sleep was always that thing that I obsessed about with Nya. It was that thing that I, in having any success, would think it okay to dish out how-to advice to my parenting friends online and in real life. (This is the point where I should link to some of those posts, but I’ll spare myself the embarrassment.) But usually my advice was shortsighted and not really good. I wish I didn’t think I knew everything that there was to know as a new parent and that rather than giving out advice, I waited to truly learn my own lessons.
- I didn’t take things so seriously. Again with sleep, I would obsess over keeping Nya on a very strict sleeping schedule. We were to be in the house by 11 am for her nap and by 5 pm for her bedtime. I stuck to these schedules because I was convinced that they were necessary for my daughter to go to sleep. I wish I was more flexible, however, and enjoyed life on a whim.
- I didn’t complain so much about how hard it all was. Being a parent to one child is tough, but it’s tough-ness is relative to what your life was like before kids. As a parent to one child, I had a whole lot more free time than I ever let on. I complained about not having time because I could, but in complaining I missed out on making use of all the glorious time I did have.
- I didn’t set a deadline for losing my baby weight. Six months was my deadline for losing the 50 pounds I gained during pregnancy. By starting on this goal at 6 weeks postpartum, I did lose the weight, but I wish I could have enjoyed those early months more and stressed less about my weight.
- I followed up with a doctor about potentially having postpartum depression. I received so many hints and indicators that a lot of my stress, anxiety, and unhappiness as a new mom was not normal, but I never looked into the possibility of PPD because I didn’t want to be diagnosed with a health condition. I know. It was stupid.
What are some things you did as a new parent that you wish you didn’t?