Being a parent is a universal experience that’s both rewarding and challenging. Here are some parenting truths to help get you through a hard day.
Parenting can be quite difficult and emotional. But it’s one of the most rewarding experiences as well. As a first-time mom to a baby girl, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. And it’s only been five months! Not all parenting moments are easy—that’s for sure. And if you’re struggling right now, you’re not alone. Here are some parenting truths to help you get through a difficult time.
Parenting Truths We Should Talk About More Often
1. Some days, you’ll question if parenting is for you
Anyone who says parenting is easy would be lying. We all have good days and bad days. In my case, there are nights I struggle because my exclusively breastfed baby has reached a stage where she wants to cling to me even in her sleep. Not to mention—she has started teething. So I barely get rest. When she cries and I’m unable to soothe her right away, I tend to question if I’m a good mother. There are also days I would miss my life before she was born—when all I worried about were my career, my wants and needs, and running a household with just my husband and our pet dog and cat. Those days were definitely much easier. But then I’d feel so guilty for thinking that way, and I tell myself maybe I’m not meant for this parenting thing after all.
However, during the day when my baby laughs every time she sees me, or at night while she sleeps and she reaches out from her co-sleeper crib to touch my arm, my heart swells. She’s an incredibly happy and healthy baby, too. Perhaps I’m doing okay after all.
2. You’re not the same person
Parenting truly changes you. It changes your perspective and your priorities. When I was pregnant, I had the happiest journey throughout the nine months. This was especially after it took a while for me and my husband to conceive, and after experiencing a miscarriage. But when I gave birth, no amount of classes with my doula could prepare me for the postpartum journey—also known as the fourth trimester. I struggled with baby blues and initially, breastfeeding. A part of me also felt like I wasn’t really myself anymore because so many hours of my day were dedicated to feeding my baby that I couldn’t catch a break. However, slowly, as my baby and I got to know each other better, I was able to establish a system and routine. It doesn’t always work (because babies are unpredictable that way) but it has made things much easier.
Moreover, it made me more discerning with my battles. Nowadays, I choose them wisely and consciously make an effort about where my energy would go. As a full-time mom with a full-time job, it’s undoubtedly necessary. I learned to set boundaries better, too.
Some may find it easier to transition into parenting than others. But if you’re still having a hard time, be kind to yourself. Know that some things take time.
3. Your group of friends will change
These days, it takes a lot for me to go out. It has to be planned well because bringing a baby around while following her nap schedule and wake windows is no joke. I’m lucky that my different groups of friends understand and even adjust to me. Instead of meeting outside, they visit our home to spend time with me and my baby. But for some parents, having a child impacts their friendships in different ways. And that’s okay. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s just the way life works sometimes.
4. Your pets won’t get the same attention
This added to my guilt—especially during the first few weeks after my baby was born. Our pets Booboo (an 11-year-old Shih Tzu dog) and Bellatrix (a 4-year-old Persian Doll Face cat) weren’t getting the same attention that they were used to. However, my husband and I saw this coming and so we agreed that while I tended to our baby, he would give extra attention to the two. It took a while for them to adjust but eventually, got used to the baby and the changes.
5. You’ll hear a lot of unsolicited advice
Whether it’s from your parents, parents-in-law, or even fellow moms, this will happen a lot. Try not to let it get to you and remind yourself that you know what’s best for your baby. Additionally, it helps to think that the advice comes from a place of love—which is almost always the case.
6. It’s an emotional rollercoaster
I can’t count the number of times I broke down crying when things got too difficult. As a parent, you’ll really feel it all—love, happiness, sadness, guilt, frustration, confusion, loneliness, restlessness, and more. But remember that all feelings are valid. It’s normal to feel waves of emotions throughout your parenting journey. And acknowledging these feelings can even help you become a better parent!
Remember these parenting truths the next time you have a bad day
Each stage of our children’s lives is so short-lived. Sometimes, I still find it hard to believe that my baby is almost half a year old already. So I try to savor as many moments as I can.