Congratulations on your pregnancy or arrival of your precious baby! There are plenty of exciting times ahead as you navigate first time parenting.
There is so much advice available to you from the latest parenting book to your favourite Mummy blogger’s Instagram feed. This can lead to information overload on what raising children should look like so we have put together a simple guide on the top things to prioritise as a new parent plus tips from parents who have been there before.
Be prepared to adapt
As we set out on our parenting journey it’s normal to think about our own upbringing and look at how others are doing it and decide on our own personal do’s and don’ts. However things may not work out that way so be prepared to change things up as you go along. It doesn’t mean you are failing – it just means that you didn’t have all the information when you first made a decision. Birth plan, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, type of nappies, and how many bedtime stories you are prepared to read are all examples of things that you might change your approach to make things a work.
Manage your finances
Don’t let the ‘b’ word become a dirty word at your place. Having children has huge financial implications, especially if you drop an income for a while. A good budget means there is money allocated for the essentials and reduces the chance of nasty surprises.
Plan for the unexpected
It is important to ensure that your family will be looked after financially in the event that you are no longer able to. You can undertake practical measures such as nominating legal guardians for your children, and taking out life insurance to ensure they are financially protected. Life insurance can ensure your family will have help with the cost of your funeral, mortgage payments and any other outstanding debt. You can have peace of mind that they will be secure and able to cover their expenses. Even if you are not currently in paid work, you can still take out life insurance.
Keep it simple
What might have seem essential one week will quickly become obsolete clutter as your baby grows and their needs change. Stick to the basics and what you need for your baby’s individual requirements. Not every baby likes the same toys, sleeping the same way or even eating the same way so try not to be swayed by the hype and just get what you really need. Or even better, borrow what you can.
Write it down
That cute saying or hilarious statement your child just made will not survive in your brain to be retold at their 21st – it will have long vanished and those fun anecdotes will have been replaced by information about what stud length they need in their rugby boots or when the next birthday party you need to buy a gift for is. Do yourself a favour and write it down somewhere safe. That you will remember where you put.
Creating your own family traditions is a great way to create precious memories and nurture a sense of belonging. They don’t need to be extravagant and time consuming. Some favourites are; the kids all sleeping marae style together on Christmas Eve in the lounge or enjoying a roast dinner or a special dessert on Sunday. You could teach your child that 3 hand squeezes means ‘I Love You’, have a special plate that the birthday child eats their cake from or pop a wee note in their lunchbox on the first day of the term.
Look after yourself
Juggling the needs of everyone in the family can be tricky and often parents put their children’s needs ahead of their own. This however can lead to a bottleneck or tiredness or emotions. Ensure you prioritise sometime for you. If you can’t rely on family or friends to help out and you can afford it, hire it in. Get a babysitter, a gardener or a cleaner. Pop out for a walk even if it’s only ten minutes. Shut the door so you can use the loo in peace. Do what works for you.
Written by Robyn
Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.
Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass.”