First time parents

Photo by Gabe McClintock

For as long as I can remember, I have always dreamed of having my own family, getting married and having kids, a lot of them – at least 4, and I wanted twins too.  So here I am living out most of my dream.  I am married to my incredible husband Renan, no twins, but 3 beautiful children, with one watching from heaven who I lost early in my second pregnancy, so I guess that technically makes it 4.  Life for me hasn’t always gone quite as planned but for the most part if I worked hard at something I achieved my goal.  Makes sense right?  Set a goal, work hard and make it happen.  All was true until it came to having children.  Ren and I had the same dreams of having a big family and knew that shortly after marriage we would want to be pregnant.  Turns out it wasn’t as easy as we thought.   We didn’t get pregnant right away but finally after 3 years of “trying,” and medical interventions, we were finally pregnant.

So exactly 8 years ago today, there I was 38 weeks pregnant on January 28, 2010 not knowing it would be the day I would officially be a mom and meet my beautiful daughter.  I was at my regular scheduled appointment when my doctor says “congratulations you are 4cm dilated.”  At first I thought, so that might explain the pressure down there, then looked at Ren and went from excitement to a bit of panic.  We were instructed to go to hospital where I was in labour for what felt like forever and after several hours of pushing finally got to hear our little Paige’s voice for the first time.  I cried, Ren cried and my mom literally went from holding my hand straight to where the nurses were, watching their every move with her first grandchild.  After a few unexpected medical issues with Paige and several surgeries in her first year I knew that parenting was not something that you can ever fully prepare for.  Like everything in my past where I could simply work hard and succeed, now having 3 kids all bringing different challenges it is apparent that parenting is going to be filled with constant learning.  So like the type A personality I am (which I am finding is not always a good thing) I decided to make it my mission to learn as much as I can about being a parent so I can understand my kids better. My goal? To be the best darn mom I can be to my kids and share what I have learned to help others enjoy this amazing journey of parenting even more.  So for my first blog post ever I thought I would share my top 3 pieces of advice for new parents:

Ask for help:

If you ask me parenting is hands down the hardest job there is and it’s hard to know all the answers. Reach out to your “village” ask your parents, siblings, cousins, friends, co-workers or neighbors for help as you need them.  Look for parent support groups, parenting classes, or mom and tot classes.  This a great way to meet other parents who are going through the same struggles and successes you are. Read.  There is so much literature out there about parenting, find a book or a blog to learn new information.  Just remember that there is not only one way to parent so only implement what works best for you and your family, and more importantly with what aligns with your values.

Don’t sweat the small stuff:

It is perfectly normal to get overwhelmed and frustrated as a parent for MANY reasons.  You may be sleep deprived, your toddler had a meltdown in a restaurant, or you forgot it was your turn to make snacks for preschool and the list goes on.  My rule of thumb is that if you and your children are safe, and your kids feel loved at the end of the day you have done your job.  Your house doesn’t have to be spotless, it’s okay to have take-out again for dinner and the laundry can definitely wait till tomorrow.

Fill your bucket:

This point is key.  Just because you’re a new parent and most of your energy is given to your little ones, it’s easy for you to put yourself second to EVERYTHING else going on but it is soooo important to make time for yourself.  Now I get it you’re probably rolling your eyes thinking I can barely have a shower or sit down and eat a meal without interruptions.  Trust me I know!  I’ve been there.  Making time for myself is something I am just now learning to implement myself, and my oldest is 8!!!   How did we get here?  Thinking we could just give, give, give and fill everyone else’s bucket while we run on empty.   For me it was a whole mindset shift, to acknowledge that I too was worthy of just as much TLC as my kids, spouse, job and household.  Start with doing something small even once a week, even few hours out of your entire week to do something just for you.  Go for coffee with a friend, try a new fitness class in your area, get a babysitter to watch the kids so you and your spouse can have a nice dinner, heck I used to go to the grocery store alone wandering the isles with no kids for a break – whatever it is make sure you have YOU TIME.  You will see how a little self-care goes a long way.

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