Rookie parents are incredible. They give it their all and put their whole heart into raising their wonderful newborn. They’re determined, intense and sometimes...over the top. They want the best for their child and they won’t stop until they get it. When (or if) they decide to add more children to the family, they realize maybe all that commotion over the first one wasn’t needed. With more than one, parents have to split their time, attention and budget. But in the end? Everything turns out just fine. Things might even go smoother with the second and third child.
Experienced parents have learned that there are certain things they really didn’t need to do with the first. Their intensity fades as their skills and confidence increases. And honestly, sometimes they just don’t have the energy to be as intense as they were with the first. But they rest assured that all will be okay in the end.
These rookie mistakes aren’t anything the new parents should feel bad about. They’re just natural and normal things that most new parents experience.
Parenting is a journey. One new parents shouldn’t feel alone in. Keep reading to find out the common mistakes new parents make.
15 Listening To Everyone's Advice
When someone has a baby, advice starts coming from everywhere. People whose children turned out to be criminals will have advice. People with no children at all will have advice. And everyone in between will have advice. The rookie parent mistakenly listens to everyone’s advice. Quickly they become confused about what they're supposed to do. One night they're rocking the baby. The next night baby is crying it out. Mom and dad are stressed and feeling pulled in every direction. Experienced parents carefully guard themselves against bad advice. They find other parents that they admire. Parents who behave in a way they’d like to emulate. They make friends with those parents, ask questions and learn as much as they can. And for all the other kibitzers giving advice? They say thank you but don’t worry about using it.
14 Thinking There Is ONE Right Answer
Sometimes new parents are lead to believe there is one right answer to any number of parenting questions. The people giving advice sure seem to make it seem so. Parenting books are usually written in a way to make the reader believe that the author has found all of the correct parenting answers. This leads rookie parents to believe that they too can know the correct answers for parenting. Experienced parents call BS on this idea. They understand that each parenting situation is complex and varied. The answer might change based on the day, the child, the location, the parent or any other number of outside factors. Parenting takes lot of skill to read the situation and make the right choice for that given situation. There are no parenting answers that are the end-all be-all of sage parenting.
13 Judging Other Parents
Before anyone becomes a parent they have an idea about the type of parent they’ll be. They can see all the pitfalls of parenting clearly laid out and have a plan to sidestep each one of them. Their incredible skill of observation has totally prepared them to be the best parents ever. Then they get pregnant. They take this parenting thing so seriously you’d think they were studying for a Phd in it. They’ve consulted all the best experts and now fully know how to raise a perfect child. When they see other parents deviating from this sage advice they make some quick judgements and arrogantly reaffirm their own perfection. Sometime later their perfect child will have a total meltdown in the middle of a store and as mom is hungry herself she might use harsh words then haul her mess of a child out. She’ll realize that everyone is doing the best they can.
12 Choosing Convenience Food Over Nutrition
New parents find themselves with all sorts of demands on their time and energy that weren’t there before. It can be difficult handling new schedules, healing from childbirth, learning to breastfeed and going back to work. These strains often make new parents turn to convenience foods as an easy fix. Picking up takeout will ease mom’s stress today as she doesn’t have to cook. Over time, though, it takes a toll on the budget and the body. It’s an easy routine to get into. It can cause more stress as mom and dad feel sluggish from the fatty foods. It will also make it harder on mom’s body to heal and bounce back from pregnancy. Experienced parents know that the time when a child is born is more difficult. They plan ahead by making healthy freezer meals for those days no one wants to cook. They also have simple fixes like serving fresh veggies that take little or no prep.
11 Comparing Baby With Others
A rookie mistake many new parents make is that they try to compare their baby with other babies. Its hard not to get caught up in the competition when every part of a baby’s first year is measured so closely. How many inches long is he? What percentile is she in? When did he start rolling over? How many ounces does he drink each hour? How many breaths does he take each minute? Too. Many. Details. And new parents are overwhelmed with joy over their precious newborn so they want to take in all of these details. As parents gain more experience they begin to realize that almost every child goes through the same basic sequence of development just some do it on different time tables. In the end? Everyone will be rolling over and out of diapers before they're 18.
10 Thinking Two Will Be A Breeze
New parents have their first child and fall into a euphoric state. They couldn’t be more smitten with this tiny human they’ve created. Life becomes a little harder but so much more worth the effort. This new family makes them start to think that if one is good then two will be even better. Don’t worry, in some ways it is. Baby #2 is still adorable and wonderful. Eventually the two kids might play together and become best friends. But sometimes there's a period where both children need a lot of help. Mom and dad are moving All. The Time. They remember a time long, long ago when they used to sit at a table and eat. Now they dash from here to there cleaning up spills, getting refills and taking a quick bite in between.
9 Doing The Dishes While Baby Naps
The rookie parent scoffs at the idea of napping while the baby naps. They mistakenly wonder how the dishes will get done or the laundry folded if they don’t do it while the baby is napping. At some point they’ll find themselves exhausted and crying. Wondering why the baby won’t sleep through the night. The experienced parent knows that its okay to nap with the kids when you need it. I mean have you seen how much care they take while they're awake? A baby can easily be put in a carrier so someone can do the dishes and fold the laundry. They’ll love being next to mom and dad and checking out what they're doing. When the child is older, he can play (alone, imagine it!) while the dishes are being done or he can help by rinsing them off.
8 Thinking The Baby Needs Brand New Everything
Every parent wants the best for their children. They hope to give their children a better life and more opportunities than they had themselves (even if they had a great childhood). When rookie parents find out they're pregnant it's an exciting time. They start planning for the baby and seem to have nothing to do but wait. Waiting 9 months for the first baby can take a long time. Rookie parents mistakenly think that the baby needs everything to be brand new or top of the line. It won’t take long for disappointment to set it. Usually, a baby costs more than the parents expect. Then they realize just how quickly clothes can become stained. Boys can be especially hard on clothes starting around age 2 and continuing until….forever. It can take 10 minutes or less for those new pants to have a hole in the knee. Experienced parents know that hand me downs will work just fine and can be supplemented with a few new clothes.
7 Being Too Extreme
Rookie parents start exploring different types of parenting. Usually, they’ll find one they agree with and get really extreme about it. The natural parent starts growing a huge garden. The cloth diaper parent starts a huge and expensive stash. The strict parent starts a discipline plan before the baby is out of newborn clothes. The rookie parent mistakenly thinks they need to be true to their “parenting style” even when it doesn’t feel right. The experienced parent understands that there is not one right way. There’s so much gray area with parents’ preferences and child’s needs. One parenting style can be extreme and might not work all the time or for every child. They start to see the flaws in some styles and finally understand the merit in parts of others.
6 Feeling Guilty
Both rookie and experienced parents can easily fall victim to guilt. For any number of reasons a parent might feel like they haven’t lived up to certain parenting expectations or that they weren’t good enough in the moment for their child. Parents might feel guilty for having to work or for overreacting to a situation. They might feel guilty for breaking a promise or making a mistake. The key is for the parents to remember to treat themselves with the same grace they would give their children. Parents are usually understanding when a child makes a mistake. Parents, too, can understand that they are trying to do their best and that that’s enough. When a parent can release themselves from guilt they can open themselves up to enjoying the moment.
5 Trying Too Hard
Rookie parents are wonderful. They’re full of heart and excitement. They want to do everything just right so they try really hard. They consult books, blogs, doctors and other parents. Experience will teach them that no matter how hard they try sometimes things just don’t go as planned. They have the best of intentions and all that effort will help them to become better parents - as long as they don’t stress themselves out trying for perfection. These parents will be conscientious and thoughtful and will likely do a great job. They just have to learn that there really is no such thing as a perfect parent. All parents are human and come with their own set of faults and talents. They’ll have to keep trying to get better but know that they’re already the perfect match for raising their child.
4 Turning Into A Recluse
Having a baby makes leaving the house more difficult. There’s all the equipment and getting the timing perfect. New parents often go through a social shift too. They want to spend time with other people who understand this stage of their life. The problem, though, is that new parents don’t always have a social circle of other parents with kids the same age. It can be easy to stay at home and become a bit of a recluse. It will seem okay at first but eventually the new parents may begin to feel isolated. They don’t fully understand how wonderful it can be to have other people to talk to that understand what they’re going through. New parents can find other new parents by meeting them at the park, joining play groups or parenting groups, or connecting with them through Facebook parenting groups.
3 Picking Up Too Much - Or Not Enough
Rookie parents make the mistake of thinking that their house will be the same after children as it was before children. They may have too high of expectations or spend too much time fretting over the new baby clutter in the house. New parents can fall into a trap of spending too much time cleaning up and ignoring the baby or worrying about it too much and also ignoring the baby. Finding a simple routine where there are dedicated tidying times can help. Pick up before nap time, before leaving the house and before bedtime. That way the house is put back together for certain periods of time. The other problem new parents might have is that they don’t pick up enough. Toys are left out in the living room from days ago. Never having any relief from the messiness creates subconscious confusion. It makes the whole house too chaotic and clutters mom and dad’s minds.
2 Neglecting Your Partner
Babies can be consuming. They rely on mom and dad to do everything for them. Plus they’re so adorable that they steal mom and dad’s hearts. With all of this focus on taking care of the baby, it can be easy to ignore the partner. Eventually, both parents will feel somewhat alone and unsupported. Over time, it can destroy the relationship. Many experienced parents have learned that it doesn’t feel good to let the relationship whither. It also doesn’t take a ton of energy to keep the relationship flourishing. Taking just 5 minutes to give a shoulder massage or focus on one’s story can make all the difference. Dedicating a certain amount of time to spend together after the baby’s bedtime can also help. This is a time to do something together, not scroll through Facebook while sitting next to each other.
1 Not Taking Time For Self
There is always something to do with a new baby or a small child. Someone needs your help, there’s a sink full of dishes and the mail is stacking up on the counter. With so much to do, it can be hard for mom and dad to speak up and say they want to do something for themselves. Going for a run, hitting the gym or taking a hot bath can take just 45 minutes and do so much to replenish the new parent. An experienced parent has learned that they’ll be a better parent when they’ve poured into themselves first. If you don’t replenish your soul, eventually you’ll have nothing left to give. You’ll have less patience and enjoy life less just because you didn’t take 45 minutes to give back to yourself.
Sources: Parents, Disney Baby