Parenting can be hard, especially during the early years. Here are 4 tips to make parenting easy during the early years.
Here’s the big secret to good parenting: it’s all about taking your time and slowing down. The more you try to chase time and make it do your bidding, the faster it slips away. While it might seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day during those first few years with your little one, it helps immensely to not stress about getting everything done all at once. The more at ease you are, the more easily you can savor the precious little moments with your tot before they go off to kindergarten—and then college!
Get A Practical Organizer
Or a tracker, or planner, or spreadsheet, or whatever will best help you keep track of the important appointments. Get something tangible and easy to keep track of where you’ll be able to jot down quick notes and then get back to your day. Keeping an organizer does two things: you can more easily manage your time with your child, and you can go back to it years later with a box of tissues and a bottle of wine when you feel like reminiscing.
Use your organizer to keep track of baby’s appointments, growth, diet, and health milestones, as well as all the funny smile-inducing moments. It doesn’t have to be a wildly artsy baby scrapbook (unless you’re into that). It should be something you can check and use every day without a fuss. Suddenly, two years will have gone by, and you will have a comprehensive log of every important moment and milestone.
Know You Have the Freedom to Travel
One of the best ways to keep the fun alive during the early years of parenthood is to travel. You don’t need to jet over to another continent with your newborn to get your vacation fix; take Saturday day trips to the next town over. Making time for short visits with extended family or friends you haven’t seen in a while can be extremely refreshing when your life revolves around the house most days. Chances are they’re dying to spend some time with you and your new addition. Plus, you’ll get your fill of R&R, and will feel like your life is full of love, gratitude, and variety.
If traveling with your little rascal sounds difficult, invest in a travel play yard to keep them safe and occupied while you have grown-up time. Set it up in your college friend’s living room while you catch up over wine, or in your hotel room when visiting your aunt and uncle upstate. Taking the time to relax and enjoy life outside of your own family unit is necessary if you don’t want to overload on stress.
Find An All-Star Babysitter
It might take some trial and error, but you have to find a reliable babysitter. Ask your friends for recommendations, but always take them with a grain of salt. No one likes to share the best sitter because then they would never be available to take care of their own kids! Hunt down your very own sitter that you love and adore, one who understands your values and treats your kids as if they were their own. Pay them well, teach them how to use your TV, tell them anything in the fridge is up for grabs, and even give them a gift card during the holiday season. Invest in your babysitter, and they will invest in your children. When you trust and love your babysitter, you’ll be able to slow your parenting roll and take some time to enjoy yourself away from baby.
Do Your Parenting Homework
Everyone loves to think they hold the secret to good parenting. At the first sign of a baby bump, everyone becomes an expert and offers you unsolicited advice. The reality is, no one truly knows what they’re doing. But keep in mind, there’s a huge difference between advice from your nail lady and a well-known book written by a professional with a PhD. But listen to it all to take in different perspectives and know that you can always be taught something new. Taking the time to learn will not only benefit you by helping you feel more relaxed and confident in your parenting skills, but it will also give baby the best possible early life experience. Honestly, your instincts will probably take you a lot further than you might expect. Give yourself a little credit, too!
When it comes to the first two years of a child’s life, everything you need to do to keep them healthy and happy can blur together. Remember to slow down and allow time to work for you and not against you. Let it be fun, let it be easy, and know that you’re doing your absolute best.