Learning How to Be Confident is the Best Advice for New Parents
There are many opinions on how to raise a child. If you’re a new parent, there are likely plenty of people waiting in the wings to offer advice, insight, and guidance… some of it welcome, some of it not. As a new parent, you’re going to do just great stepping up to the plate and developing your parenting skills.
Still, it’s worth it to remind yourself that parenting takes a lot of courage, patience, and respect for yourself, your partner, and your child. Simply put, it’s not easy—but the best things in life seldom are!
Whether it’s your first week of parenting, or you’ve been learning the ropes for a while, here are a few tips to help you gain confidence in your abilities so you can focus on the things that truly matter: the experience and the memories made when you’re a parent.
Don’t Welcome Negative or Bad Advice
Just because someone’s been there before does not mean that they know better. They do not live in your shoes, and they do not know your child the way you do. What worked for them might not work for you.
Trust your instincts! You know your child, and if you feel something is wrong, speak to your pediatrician. Even if you’re tempted to try the tips your neighbour with three kids is sharing, their advice might be outdated, or it might not be a good fit for you.
You aren’t under obligation to listen to negative or bad advice, and you’ll likely know it when you hear it.
Know Yourself and Establish Your Own Rules, Values, And Priorities
You are still the same person you were before you became a parent. So you shouldn’t try to be someone you’re not. Sure, you probably don’t go out as often—or ever. But who you are at your core hasn’t changed.
Don’t lose sight of yourself to try to become the perfect parent. Be yourself, accept who you are as a person, and allow that to inform who you are as a parent. At the same time, let your child grow to become the person they are with your patience, nurturing, and unconditional love.
Overcome “Bad Mommy” Syndrome
New parents tend feel tremendous guilt for so many things. This is totally normal, but you can’t be too hard on yourself. Life happens and you have to return to work. Babies and children will trip, hurt themselves, and struggle when you say no. That’s just part of growing up.
So instead of dwelling on how bad of a parent you are, you should weigh the severity of the situation. Did you put your child’s life in danger? No. Did you do something cruel and unusual? Not at all.
You are not a bad person if your little one stubs their toe, scrapes their knee, or gets a bruise. In case you hadn’t noticed it, kids are pretty accident-prone! Try as you might, you can’t protect your child from every little thing. Focus on what you can do to help with the situation, not on any perceived “failings” you might have had.
You are doing great!
Take Time for Yourself
Just like finding a healthy work-life balance, parents need to find a healthy balance between parenting and having time for themselves.
Whether it’s a day, an hour, or 15 minutes, take time for yourself to recharge. This will make you parent better because you will be refreshed and less likely to become impatient, irritable, or frustrated. Everyone needs some time for themselves. So take a bubble bath, read, listen to your favourite tunes, exercise, do yoga, or even take a nap.
We all have favourite pastimes, so do something that you love to nourish yourself emotionally.
Take Time to Get To Know Your Kids
Life can be hectic. And even if you’re with your baby 24/7, how much of that time are you undistracted? It’s important for both you and your baby to be in the moment, spending time together without any distractions.
You will get to know your child better and notice all the milestones they’re accomplishing. This, in turn, will remind you of the great job you’re doing as a parent.
Be Decisive and Trust Your Intuition
The old saying, “Mother knows best,” can correlate with “a mother’s instinct.” You know your baby better than anyone else does. So keep this in mind when making decisions.
As a new parent, go with your instinct to make decisions quickly and with confidence. Like a multiple-choice exam, the first choice you go with is most likely the right one, especially when it comes to your baby.
Don’t Hide How You’re Feeling
Parents are allowed to cry too. It’s a completely normal response to overwhelming emotions. So if you need to cry out of anxiety, sadness, anger, fear, frustration, or fatigue, don’t repress your emotions for the sake of your baby.
It can be good for babies and young children to see their parents upset, as long as it’s not all the time or for unjustified reasons. And if your baby starts to cry or look scared, you should regain composure as soon as possible.
Babies learn how to self-soothe from watching their parents do the same. As your child gets older, you can explain why you were sad and that you feel better now.
Be Cognitive of Competitive Friends
Babies reach developmental milestones at various paces. One baby could start walking at a year, while another is still learning to crawl. So if you have a friend who makes you feel bad because your baby isn’t developing as quickly as her child, remember that all babies are different.
It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. And a great response to any competition is happiness for your child’s development, no matter what stage they’re at.
Judgement Is Inevitable, So Try to Shake It Off
Everyone and their moms have an opinion when it comes to parenting. You will likely encounter judgement about your parenting style on a regular basis—whether with stares from strangers in public, advice you didn’t ask for, or comments that come across as condescending or downright hurtful.
It’s okay to become annoyed or upset with this judgement. But judgement is inevitable as a parent, so you’re better off accepting that it will happen regardless of what you do and shake it off.
You shouldn’t let it negatively affect how you see yourself as a parent or make you second-guess yourself. You know what’s best for your child.
Ask for Guidance from Those You Trust
You might be afraid to ask for help. But remember, the parents you go to for advice were once new parents too. And they probably felt as scared and clueless as you feel at times. There’s no shame in asking for parenting advice, especially from those you trust and who have been or are going through the exact same things you’re experiencing.
Be Open, Humble, And Learn from Mistakes
Mistakes will happen, change will happen, and at the end of the day, growth will happen. So be patient, be humble, and be open to things. As a person and a parent, you’ll stumble at times. But if you pick yourself up, being a confident mom (or dad), you’ll learn from your mistakes and become a better person and parent along the way.