When it comes to aspirations in life, there are many things to aim for. To reach a certain level in your career. Visit somewhere on your bucket list. Learn a new language. But if there’s any aspiration out there that tops the list - it’s being a good parent.
Once your little one comes along, there’s a strong chance that your priorities will change. Sure, it’s important to keep the things that make you uniquely you. But you may find yourself more focused than ever on being a good parent to your baby.
But what’s the most important thing of all when it comes to caring for your little one? What’s the number one thing you can do for your baby?
Live in the moment
There are lots of articles out there that interview parents with adult children. When asked what they would do differently, the majority of answers involve being more present with their little one.
They wish they didn’t get so hung up about keeping the house looking perfect. Or to have wasted precious time with their little one worrying about things that simply don’t matter. When it comes to looking after your baby, the most important thing you can do for them is to live in the moment.
Learn to be present
Learning to be present doesn’t happen overnight. It also doesn’t mean that all of your problems go away in an instant. Living in the moment doesn’t mean you have the perfect life - it just means you’re able to put your worries and stresses aside to be present with your baby. A learned skill that can take a while to put into practice!
As new parents, we’re often faced with difficult life challenges. Trying to keep on top of housework while looking after a baby. Trying to excel in your career while remaining a good parent. Trying to juggle finances while growing your family. Parenthood is tough!
Even worse, lots of new parents fall into the trap of trying to be perfect. With so much expectation being placed on new mums and dads, it can make you feel like a failure if you’re struggling to cope.
But here’s the thing - no one’s perfect. No one! You’re going to have your moments and life will continually throw curve balls in your direction. What matters is how you react.
Learn to let go
Whether you stay at home with your baby or see them in the evenings after work, this is your special time alone with them. Time you won’t ever be able to get back. It can be exhausting and beautiful and complicated all at the same time. But it’s your time together and no one can take that from you.
Learn to let go of keeping your house looking perfect at all times. Because with little ones, it just isn’t going to happen. Not for long anyway! You’ll drive yourself crazy with worry trying to control everything at all times. Learn the art of letting go. Let the laundry sit for a little bit longer while you play with your baby. Turn your phone off instead of getting distracted by messages you can reply to at a later time. Research shows that the most important years of a child’s development are from the time they’re born until the age of three. This is the time to be warm, loving and responsive. This is the time to be present.
Try stress reducing activities
While the idea of living in the moment sounds great, it can be difficult to put into practice. You may be thinking “well if I don’t do the laundry, who will?” These types of thoughts are completely valid. Trying to juggle it all is impossible! So try splitting your time up as best as you can. Designate certain times for household/career tasks and other times to just be with your baby. Give them your undivided attention and watch how happy they are to have you all to themselves.
Try reducing your worries and stress by partaking in stress-reducing activities. This could be a simple 10-minute meditation before you go to bed or a walk with your little one in the pram. If your stress is getting in the way of being present with your little one, it’s recommended to speak with a professional for further assistance.