5 Things I've Learned During My Time as a New Parent

5 Things I've Learned During My Time as a New Parent


6 min read

There is a ton of information about babies out there. A borderline overwhelming amount if you're power-reading while your newborn is wailing in your arms. If you're reading this before that beautifully chaotic stage, then good on you. If you're in the thick of it, hear me now:

It's going to be okay.

I went through this time of my life during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was frantically searching through the internet (because every class/seminar was canceled) for "good" advice only to be met with the disclaimer at the end of each article:

"All babies are different. Results may vary"

It's true. However, there are tips you can take away from each article to mold your own formula for raising your child.

Ask for Help


There is a ton of pressure on new parents to be this anchor of knowledge and experience when faced with raising their own, and it's a load of rubbish.

You're not a bad parent if you ask for help. I can't speak for all but in American culture, it's generally frowned upon to show weakness or signs of struggle.

Spoiler alert! Everyone struggles. The newborn stage was one of the most exhausting times I've ever experienced in my life. It makes no sense to anyone that hasn't had a kid when I say,

"That exhaustion was 100% worth it."

I'm aware it sounds crazy. But you'll understand (in a weird, cosmic sort of way) when you go through it. It's like an epiphany so powerful that it knocks you off your feet.

Don't feel shame. Ask for help. Whether from family, friends, neighbors, or strangers (use a bit of judgment on this one) take a break. You need breaks. It's a full-time job and you'd be crazy to skip breaks at your job right? This is no different.

Don't Get Hung Up on Statistics

You spend every day with your little one and when things don't progress as quickly or on "pace" you start to fret. Do your best to not focus on these statistics too literally because you can get caught up in the number and forget what they really are, averages.

Your child may fall within the average and they may not. But that stat you just looked up takes account for all children all over that spectrum. The truth is your child can fall anywhere in that range.

Don't stress if they missed a milestone or your friend's child is walking/talking months before yours. It's okay. The chances of your child nailing a milestone on the exact day they are "supposed to" are pretty slim. You didn't break/ruin your child even though it can feel like that. Speaking from experience, that guilty feeling does fade with each passing day.

I feel it's important to mention here that you shouldn't ignore what your pediatrician says about milestones. They are important to monitor.

If your pediatrician says to "keep an eye on it", do just that. They understand milestones are averages and we as parents need to be reminded of that from time to time, especially new parents. They are not neglecting a possible problem. They are simply doing their best to ease your racing thoughts. If action needs to take place, they'll let you know.

Don't Use the Diaper Bin for Poops


I don't care how strong of a seal that label says it has. Don't do it.

In the beginning, newborn poops don't smell like anything so you can get away with it. But the second they start moving to real food, you're gonna open that diaper and question nearly every decision that led you up to that moment as the smell smacks you in the face like a Mack truck.

The "good/pricey" bins will seal the smell at the start, but after time the "funk" will begin to absorb into the bin and it gets tough to get the smell out. It will fill the room like a gas chamber.

Take the poop diapers outside to the bin and save yourself the hassle.

Don't Feel Guilty When You Prioritize Your Mental and Physical Health.

This one's tough.

I underestimated how much this affected my wife and me. How quickly it can grab hold of you if you leave it unchecked.

I would feel a suffocating amount of guilt for any time I spent on myself and not my child. It would hit me for something simple like playing a game for an hour or leaving the house to go out with friends. It would even hit me on the way to work most days (The days when getting dressed wasn't a fight ๐Ÿ˜ฉ).

Now I do believe the pandemic may have heightened these feelings but the underlying guilt was already there.

Choosing to prioritize your self-care as a parent is not only healthy but it's more selfless than you're led to believe. When your mind and body get a chance to recharge, you'll get so many stat buffs from it.

  • +1 mood
  • +1 intelligence
  • +1 strength
  • +2 durability ๐Ÿ’ช
  • -1 guilt

The weight of keeping the family afloat while handling a newborn is suddenly less crushing than before. Frustrations don't spiral out of control and, dare I say, you may feel like your old self again.

Yes, I mean the before you had your child self.

It opened my mind to see how easy it is to fall victim to putting your whole life into your children and forgetting who you are in the process. Now let me quickly clarify something...

There's nothing wrong with giving your everything to your kids.

I think as parents we all strive to do this on a daily basis. Personally, after experiencing the guilt, I started to feel there was a way I could still give my all without losing my self-identity. That made me realize I'm not a bad parent for wanting a little time to myself every now and then. It's all about balance.

Oh, and don't worry about your friends. They'll understand and will be stoked to grab that beer with you no matter how much time has passed. ๐Ÿป

You're Doing a Great Job


You truly are.

There are plenty of places to look online that say you're doing it wrong and not nearly enough to say you're doing great. You looking through articles like this is enough proof you are doing your best to nail this parenting thing. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The days are long but the years are short. You'll never have this moment in time with your child ever again. There is beauty in that chaos, so cherish every second of it! My wife and I often reminisce on the newborn time and they are filled with both "good" and "bad" times.

The truth is, each of them makes up the "time" and you'll miss it all the same when they grow up.