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50 truths to smooth your parental stress (Part 1)
Parental stress is something we, as parents or expecting parents, will always face.
No way to escape from it.
"Parenting stress is a normal part of the parenting experience. It arises when parenting demands exceed the expected and actual resources available to the parents that permit them to succeed in the parent role." - Oxford Bibliographies
Sooner or later you'll be here.
And, just to throw away some misconceptions, being a practical parent doesn't mean you're expected to be a cold-hearted parent, looking for possible escapes for everything.
Practical parenting is about understanding what surrounds our child and ourselves and being able to act accordingly.
You probably don't want to be packed with theory. You need practical advice. The kind of information you can use or learn from, and you can quickly adapt to your own situation.
It's this approach that really influences your parental stress.
If you think that everything you'll read or hear online or from people around you will be ready to be applied to your child, forget it. Every child is different.
There are some practical things about parenting that you should embrace if you really want "stress-free" parenthood.
50 truths to smooth your parental stress
1. Whatever you're expecting from being a mom or a dad, never mind, because it will most likely be completely different.
2. Everyone has an opinion about how you should raise your kids, and they all sound a lot more ready and capable than you feel, but then again, they're not living with your child 24/7 so let them talk.
3. You will be given several "Expect Books" that won't do more than to scare you to death about the thousand things that can happen to your baby. And when they occur, you’ll still have no idea what to do.
4. Childbirth won't be as beautiful as you probably expected and it will be more about waterworks and less about fireworks.
5. Babies usually aren’t beautiful on their birth, and even if your heart, friends or family tell you the opposite, a few months later, you'll see the pictures, and you'll understand what we're saying; and yes, our kids were beautiful right from day 0.
6. Colic is not a myth, and you will celebrate farts and burps like you never did (baby farts and baby burps, don't get us wrong!).
7. Nose-blowing will be a problem, and it will take years before they master that art so, be ready to help them and do not expect it to be easy-peasy-nose-squeezy because it won't.
8. Don't google about your baby symptoms as you will always find a baby that recently died or something horrific happened with something similar, but not exactly the same. As someone wise once said, “googling your symptoms is the best way to convince yourself you’re dying.”
9. Babies’ brains are exactly like your new computer, when you bring it from the store, with great potential and lots of space to store new stuff, but it will only keep whatever you put in there, and that is entirely up to you.
10. Every kid has their own development rate and being the shortest, or the fattest amongst other kids the same age doesn't mean that they will stay that way forever, but people around you tend to judge you or your habits as a result.
11. Babies are a lot smarter than you can expect and they can easily sense what to do to get what they want from each of us (grandparents included!).
12. Whatever you say your child shouldn't do is what they want to do next, and even if you make that clear, you're just making it more exciting.
13. Children wake up in the middle of the night for a reason and for no reason at all and just as they might get back to sleep instantly, they might take too long to fall asleep again.
14. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is a frequent subject amongst parents and doctors, and one that can quickly escalate to fear and waking up in the middle of the night to do the baby mustache to check if the baby is breathing.
15. Sleeping with your baby is something most people around you will judge you for but if that is what you like or believe to be the best for the baby, under the right conditions, why not, right?
16. Every baby is different, and whatever the book you're reading is telling you about what to expect in the weeks to come, it will most likely be different so, instead of focusing on questioning what you just read, focus in being the mom or dad the child needs.
17. One smile will be worth a tone of bad nights and a lot of colics.
18. Your movies nights will never be the same as soon as the little being arrives in your lives.
19. A new baby is probably the hardest challenge you'll be facing as a couple and one where co-working, respect, and communication is really a must if you want to go through it together.
20. You'll need to buy more creams, and special shampoos and other things you had no idea existed because people around you (including doctors!) will tell you so.
21. Although babies can't talk, they can still communicate and show you what is happening. Consider the first few months as a living lesson of body and gesture language for you to understand. In fact, you can teach your baby sign language to help you communicate with the baby.
22. To your parents, there is, and there will always be something you're not doing correctly, and that they would do a lot better; but this is your child, and given the fact that listening to your parents is almost always something positive, it should be up to you to decide what's best for your child.
23. Dads, whatever you expect from your sex life to flourish after the birth, hold your horses because things won't be that simple and it may take some time (or a long time in some cases!).
24. Your child will be a reflection of who you are, individually and as a couple. If you are a good person, in a loving environment, the child will be just fine.
25. It doesn't matter that, as a couple, you never argued with each other, that you loved each other and vowed to do it forever. When you have a baby, everything will change and, under intense parental stress and lack of proper sleeping, it's easy to fall into the blame game with your significant one.
Before you move to Part 2, why don't you share these truths with your friends?