How To Survive The First Year of Parenting

You Can Read About it, But You Learn On the Job In Your First Year of Parenting

If you are a new parent, expecting mom or plan to become a parent down the road then this post is for you. I am going to give you all the lessons my husband and I learned in our first year of parenting; the real, the ugly, the beautiful and everything in between from normal parents just like you.

On May 2, 2017 at 7:03 am we became parents to a baby boy. I had already read every blog post and article I could find on what would change when we became parents.  Now that we have the first year under our belt, I want to share what we learned in our first year of parenting. 

Lesson one as a parent you can read about it but you learn on the job.

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The first couple of months of any new job is hard.

If you have ever started a new job then you know the nervousness of the first day, week and even month.  There is always a learning curve even if you are an expert in your field. Becoming a new parent is no different! In the first couple of months you will ask your self all of the following questions:

  • Does my baby like me?
  • Was this the right choice for me?
  • Am I doing this right?
  • Why didn’t this tiny human come with an instruction manual?
  • I NEVER once read anything about thiswhy didn’t anyone tell me about this?!

I am here to tell you it is normal!  You are learning on the job like every parent before you has, I promise.  By the end of the first year you will asking yourself these questions:

  • What did I do with my life before this child?
  • How could I love anyone or anything more than this?
  • Can I just slow time down a little bit?
How to survive the first year of parenting Tips for New Parents

Some of what I read on parenting was useful, most of it was not.

You see, once that precious tiny human is here they are all yours.  YOURS.  Which means like so many things in life this adventure of parenting that you are on now, it specific to you.  You, your baby and your family are going to experience your own journey that is unlike any other.  So, all  the reading that I did MOST of it was not helpful because my baby was special and yours will be too.

There are no two births, babies or families that are the same.  So read up but know that you are going to learn most of the ‘good stuff,’ on the job. 

Sink or float?  Parenthood is about survival.

So much of parenthood is survival in the first year.   Please don’t take that the wrong way I mean it in the most positive way.  Everything about that first year is survival because you are learning so many new things so quickly.

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And… most of the time once you think you have it figured out your little one will change and grow and it will start all over. You will learn how to survive so many things. Some days it will feel like sinking and other days it will feel like floating.

Surviving the tough stuff makes the good so much better.

The first 5 months of my son’s life were the hardest of my life.  He had colic and acid reflux and I felt like I was the worst mother.  If I am being really honest (which I said I would be) some days I wondered if I had made the right decision becoming a parent at all. After our son was diagnosed and we made it through the fog it was all so worth it.  Because the beginning was so hard the season we are in now seems so much sweeter.

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Parenting is About Communication

My biggest fear before and right after we had our son was that my marriage would suffer.  I can not tell you how many hours I spent researching how to be a wife and a mother once baby was here.  What I learned about my marriage after having a baby was this one thing, communication.

It’s not always easy

Parenting is not always easy and if you are parenting with a husband or wife, it’s the same thing.  Once we were home as a family I quickly learned that I had to communicate (with words) what I needed from my husband. My advice for my moms to be, use your words.  As women we sometimes think our husband can read our mind or not so subtle hints, they can’t.  They are also learning how to parent and be a husband so here are some tips to make communication easier.

Top Tips for New Parents

  1. Always speak kindly to one another (yes, i know it can be hard but try).
  2. Tell your partner what you need and how you feel.  NOT what they need or what they did.
  3. Encourage them with words, this can make all the difference for a new parent full of doubt.
  4. If you can’t speak it, write it down.
Tips for new moms how to survive the first year

It’s emotional so talk about it.

From the second your baby is born you are emotional.  Very, very emotional.  Some of it is hormonal but the bulk is your life is changing.  You have to communicate how you are feeling.  It can be a lot.  You will feel:

  • Joy so much joy.  You did just become a new parent to the cutest thing around!
  • Love, so so much love.
  • Confusion.  Over night your life changes. It can be overwhelming to digest.
  • Anger.  I told you I wouldn’t lie.  There are many times in the first year you will be angry.  Angry at life, lack of knowledge, lack of sleep.  You will feel this at some point.
  • Pride.  That first time you conquer a task you haven’t been able to do, whether it’s going out alone with baby or simply taking a shower, you will feel so proud of yourself.

With all the emotions of parenthood that first year you have to practice speaking those feelings.  Your partner and child will thank you for it.

Being a Parent is Only Part of You

In the first year of parenting it is very easy to lose yourself.  One of the biggest tips I can give to new parents but especially new moms is, you are still you!  For some silly reason I thought once I became a mom I would magically become someone new.  That is true but you are still you and it is so important to remember that.  Learning to be a parent is hard work but you have to remember that you are still you.

Take time for you

In order to remember that you were a person before becoming a parent you have to do things you did before.  Having a baby brings so many new adventures but it’s okay to still have the ones you had before.

  • Make the time to go on dates.
  • Drink coffee at your favorite coffee shop alone.
  • Pick up a new hobby or an old one.

Take care of yourself

Do things that are for you because at the end of the day you have to take care of you first.  Just like when they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first. This is the same thing.  Your mood and attitude influences you baby and parenting.  So take care of yourself and do things you love. Once you are happy and taken care of you can do so much more for your family and in a much better mood to boot.

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The First Year of Parenting is the Hardest (so far that is true)

My son just turned one so I can only somewhat attest to this. I promised to tell you the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful so here it is, it is hard.  Parenting is hard.  It’s hard to

  • hear your little one cry and not know what’s wrong.
  • watch your once tiny baby grow so fast.
  • leave your baby. Even when it’s because you want so bad to be all alone for a little while.
  • watch them with their first cold, fever or sickness.
  • not buy all the cute clothes every time you walk in Target.
  • learn to survive on no sleep. (coffee anyone?)
  • learn to do every day task with only one hand.
  • sacrifice your mind, body and time to this tiny creature.
  • plan your ‘baby’s’ first birthday party and know you now have a toddler.
  • know that one day they won’t be small anymore and you will miss all of this!

Nothing about parenting is easy it’s so very hard.

Tips for New Parents

It’s All Worth It

It’s the cliché of parenting and as a normal everyday parent I am here to tell you that it is true, it’s all worth it.  All the sleepless nights, ruined outfits, missed date nights and worrying. It is worth it. That tiny human you made loves you more than you will ever know.

So soak up that first year.  Soak every good, bad, ugly and beautiful moment because what you learn that first year of parenting is everything!  Everything you learn makes you better.

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If you have earned you first year of parenting badge what were the most important lesson you learned in your first year of parenting?  I would love to hear all about it in the comments!!

 


Hi, I’m Lena, an elementary school teacher turned stay at home mom, and a newbie at raising tiny humans and blogging.  There is so much about parenting that is beautiful, gross, wonderful and most of it is not talked about nearly enough.  If you want to see how we are handling it with humor and coffee check it out all the honesty at Tiny Human Newbie.

45 thoughts on “How To Survive The First Year of Parenting”

  1. This is wonderful! I completely agree: Communication is everything. My husband isn’t a mind reader any more than I am. If I need something from him, I can’t expect him to just know. I need to tell him, and vice versa.

    Great article!!

    1. Thank you so much for the comment! And yes, I was so overwhelmed by motherhood I just assumed my husband knew what I needed. I totally forgot he was a new dad. Communication made alll the difference.

  2. #nailedit!!! I could so relate to all of this.

    And I’ve definitely thought “What did I do with my life before this child?” (Plus how did I even think I tired before?!

    Great post!!

  3. Laura schuchardt

    Wow! What great advice for people in any stage of the parenting game! This puts my mind at ease as a future momma down the road! Great work, Lena.

  4. Lindsay Barry

    Loved this post! It’s allll about the communication. And, almost 7 years later, I’m finding that it still is!

  5. I love this article and it’s so true! It really is something you have to learn on the job. No amount of reading will prepare you for the real thing. But it’s also such a wonderful experience.

    1. It truly is. I honestly thought I could prepare through reading, boy was I wrong. But it’s been the most wonderful year of learning

  6. This is the best post I have ever read of yours! Amazing job! I’m not even a parent and I was like oh yeah, yup that makes sense, oh definitely. Very good flow through out the article and very relatable! Great job!

  7. Very helpful coming from a first time expectant mother!!! Makes me feel better about not knowing every single detail there is about being a parent. I’ll learn as I go!! And that’s Okay!

  8. So often people are so afraid to have kids because they think they won’t survive…but they will! I love the honesty, sure it’s not always easy, but it is definitely worth it! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes! This was one my husband and I talked about before our son was born. Making sure no matter how hard it was to get little amounts of time when it was just us. It made all the difference in those difficult first months.

  9. This is so very true. You need to find a balance and make sure it includes taking care of you. Almost 6 years later I am still finding it difficult. My boys are 4 and 5. Every week it’s a new phase or struggle. Being a teacher was so much easier then being a parent. Parenting is the hardest yet most rewarding job of all.

    1. So true! Teaching was hard but I went to school for it and knew what I was getting into. Parenting has been harder for sure! But also more rewarding

  10. I think both the baby and a mother born… You was a girl who just sleep and eat whenever you wanted to. Now after a baby your whole life is changed. Every little thing is not settled down according to baby’s comfort. So first year is a true struggle for both of them.

  11. These are some great tips! Communication is so important, especially if you feel down and depressed. I wish that I felt as confident as a new mom, so I could really express how I felt.

    1. My husband is the one who always pushes for communication. That’s always my tip for new mamas. Tell someone how you feel and talk it out.

  12. This is all so true. Parenting is very hard. In the first year of my first born’s life I learned to follow my gut. In the first year of my second born’s life I learned no two babies are the same.. even if they are both yours. It definitely is worth it though. The first year is the hardest, I feel like you’re right on that. My first is about to turn 3 & so far nothing has been harder than the first year. Maybe potty training… haha.

  13. You’ve made so many great points here! It’s funny because I know that it was really hard for me to adjust when my first baby was born, but my mind was able to suppress all of that enough to have another kid. Haha! There is definitely a learning curve, but it was much easier the second time around.

    1. I’m pregnant with our second. So I also somehow suppress all of it haha. It’s nice to hear the second time is a bit easier. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  14. Ah colic and acid reflux…my son had that and I don’t think anyone in our home slept for the first 6 months of his life! LOL, I can laugh now ( he’s 10 years old now) but my heart always goes out to new parents. It is a learning curve and sometimes a blind curve! But so worth it 🙂

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