Parenting is hard. Anyone that tells you otherwise is selling something. New parents need lots of support and help as they transition into their new roles. They are now caring for a human being. That’s a task many of us have never had to do before.
There are a couple of things that you’ll need that will make becoming a parents easier.
In fact they are things that new parents need in order to host a newborn baby in your life.
Your little one is going to have to sleep somewhere won’t they? Your little one is going spend the majority of their time sleeping and crying. Most newborns sleep 16 – 18 hours a day according to babycenter.com and my own experience.
The catch, they do that time in sprints of 1-2 hours. Here’s the hopeful side of that. All new parents have gone through it so you can make it through as well.
They come in practically every material and style so it comes down to personal taste most of the time. There’s a lot of different types on the market but you want to make sure they have a couple of things.
I’m personally a fan of convertible cribs. They are a great value since once your baby turns into a toddler and is ready to try out sleeping in a bed your all set. As the child grows you can lower the crib so they can get in and out of bed easily.
The main thing you want to make sure of is that whatever crib has unobstructed bars on the side.
This is so when your little one starts rolling around in the crib if they bump up against the side they still can get air.
You’ll see bumper pads for cribs but I’m pretty against those. My worry has always been that if they roll over onto the pad they might not have enough strength yet to get off.
As a parent I just never felt it was worth the risk.
They need to have plenty of room for your little one to grow. At first your newborn will not be moving much however as they grow that will all change. You want to make sure there is enough room for your baby to grow without needing to buy another crib down the road.
You want to make sure there is enough room for your baby to grow without needing to buy another crib down the road.
Hence as I mentioned above I recommend convertible cribs. They are a really great value purchase in my opinion.
Now that new parents have a place to put their little bundle of joy the next thing they’ll need is a baby monitor.
When my wife and I were new parents we were glued to this thing. Is the baby about to wake up? How long has it been since they last woke up? Is it time to feed them or do they need a change? All those thoughts run through your head in an instant after a while.
The baby monitor is peace of mind. They let you eavesdrop on your little one without the risk of waking them up.
I recommend a baby monitor with a camera attachment. It’s something that I wish we had sprung for last time and we’ll be sure to do when our next one arrives. Having the ability to look in on your new baby vs. listening to your new baby is just such a game changer.
Yes, monitors with video are a little more pricey but in my opinion they are worth every cent.
Another item that you are going to get very attached to is your stroller.
Other than the crib I think most infants spend alot of their time in the stroller being pushed around.
The stroller gives new parents ease of movement so you can go out to the store, buy groceries, go for walks at the park or beach. A good stroller can be a life saver while a bad stroller can be just a pain in the neck.
A good stroller has 3 things.
One, good carrying capacity. There are a ton of things that you carry around as new parents. Everything from diapers to sunscreen so you’re going to naturally need somewhere to put it. You’ll carry it in the diaper bag primarily but your stroller will be the next storage location for alot of things.
Two, easy folding. One of the most frustrating situations I’ve ever found myself in as a new parent involved a stroller. I was alone in a parking lot with a screaming infant while I flailed with a stroller trying to fold it up. Every moment this thing didn’t do what I thought it should was stretched to eternity. I couldn’t help my son and fold at the same time.
After fighting with this demon stroller I drove over to Babys R Us and I bought a new on that folded sanely. It cost me more than the other stroller but lord on high was it worth every penny.
Third, it should move smoothly. You don’t want a jerky stroller. I’m a fan of strollers with three wheels personally. They always seemed to be more stable and smooth in my experience. The traditional four-wheel stroller is fine as well but that tri-wheel set up just glided like butter when we upgraded.
Hey, it’s an article about newborns so we’re going to talk about diapers at some point.
If your unsure what to get a new parent chances are high they need diapers. They might be doing cloth diapers in which case nevermind.
My advice here is to ask the parent which brand they prefer and purchase that for them. Parents are really particular about which diapers they use for their children. Each parent finds that one brand that hits them just right. Perhaps the straps secure just the right way on their child. Perhaps another brand gave their infant a rash and they legitimately can’t use them.
Point being. Just ask. The parents will be flattered your were thinking about them and spent the time to ask them for their preference.
It sounds funny but it’s a lifesaver.
I spent more time laying on a couch with a sleeping baby on my chest than I remember. When you’re awake and your kid is asleep on your chest, boredom is the enemy. You can only wonder at and watch your child sleep for so long. Before long you start counting things around your place to pass the time.
A solid pair of headphones will save your life.
I recommend sleeping while your little one is tired. If that just isn’t in the cards for whatever reason catch up on some TV. You’re a new parent with time on their hands feel free to use it. I’d recommend something mindless that won’t require a lot of brainpower. You’ll be sleep deprived so don’t expect your brain to be working a full capacity.
There was one sleepless night where my wife and I were trying to figure out how much formula to give our son. In our stupor we could not for the life of us figure out the fraction that the instructions what us to give him. We are both college educated individuals but this little bottle of water and powder had defeated us.
Don’t worry we got it eventually but I was so frustrated that it was so hard. Wel,l we were working on minimal sleep and when that happens the brain gets a little loopy. Just make sure to give each other grace, understanding, and love and you’ll be fine.
Back to headphones. I’d recommend the in-ear type versus the over the ear. The over the hear type has better sound quality but it could cut down what you can hear. When your baby starts waking up again or your partner is trying to get a hold of you it will matter.
There are spectacular writers out there publishing great books on parenting. These are the heavy hitters so read up! The can be a gold mine for new parents looking for advice. Improving yourself intentionally through reading is a wonderful practice. I wrote another article on the subject of learning so feel free to click here to read it.
Being intentional about the type of parent you want to become is step one in becoming a great parent.
Becoming a parent is never easy. In my experience there are few people that would honestly say that transitioning to parenthood is a breeze.
I wish it really was as easy as reading a couple books and making a couple plans. But the hard truth is that parenting takes work. It takes grit to parent a child and it doesn’t happen overnight.
I hope that this article was useful to you. If you enjoyed it please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter to keep up with content that I’m making.
Parenting is hard. There are few truer statements under the sky. Once we boil down all of our little quirks as parents 3 types of parenting styles appear.
Like anything in life parenting requires intentionality. Choosing a parenting style can sometimes be more stressful than actually parenting the child at times.
As parents we have a big responsibility. We are responsible for equipping a future human being for the next 70+ years of life.
I’ll give you a second to take a deep breath. Breathe in, now breathe out.
Are you kidding me! We get to help mold and shape this future human and there is no handbook, no how to wiki on this stuff worth mentioning. When you leave the hospital with your kid no one stops you!
It’s the craziest thing that sarcasm can concoct.
Joking aside it’s a big thing that you’ve been handed. How do we do our best so that we can DO our best.
What are the main parenting styles?
The three big parenting styles are authoritative, authoritarian and permissive.
Authoritative parents are firm, loving and kind. They set boundaries and expect their children to abide by them. Neither overly strict nor overly indulgent, authoritative parents strike a good balance between expectations that are too high and expectations that are too low.
Authoritarian parents are strict, unbending and inflexible. They may attempt to control every aspect of their child’s life, and do not allow the child to make choices. Authoritarian parents expect obedience without questioning.
Permissive parents are indulgent, not wanting to impose their will on their child’s developing personality. They often set no rules and have no consequences. They might cause their child to avoid even natural or logical consequences in order to save him from perceived harm, unhappiness or hurt feelings.
There are many subsets within each of these parenting styles but in general most parents fall into one of these. I personally fall into the authoritarian category even though I am trying to make the transition to authoritative.
If you’re interested in learning more I’d encourage you to dig into each style and see what appeals to you most. You’re not locking into a fixed parenting style but in my opinion it will be easier if you have something in ready to go for when the little one gets here.
Your little one is looking to you for how to act and what to be.
You are the first and most intimate role model that your child will have. The biggest thing in their life during the most formative time in their life is you.
You are the first and most intimate role model that your child will have. The biggest influencer in their tiny life during the most formative time in their life is you. Soak that in for a hot minute.
Consistency is the key in this game. You can modify your style as you go but try not to pivot on a dime. Real talk, I did that with disastrous results.
Try to make your adjustments as smooth as possible. Remember that your little one is playing catch up to the new rules and expectations that your setting for them.
They want to play the game so let them learn how to play it before you start putting them in the penalty box.
Dont be afraid to adjust but know that the longer you’re in a chosen style the more effort it will take to pivot.
At the end of the day you’ll choose the parenting style that is right for you.
No one knows what they are doing
Here’s the earnest truth about parenting. We’re all making it up as we go along. There is no one size fit all guaranteed method to raising your child. You’re going to be up late and you’re going to be tired. In those moments you’ll find a strength in you that perhaps you didn’t feel you had.
We measure what we treasure.
You’ll love your little one so much that eventually you won’t measure of how little sleep you’re getting. You’ll measure how many belly laughs they’ve had. Sooner than you think you’ll measure how many cute faces they make at 2 in the morning. Your treasure will shift and your parenting style will shift with it.
I hope this was helpful and if you would like to hear from me more please feel free to subscribe to the newsletter for posts direct to you.
I wish you the best of luck as you become a parent.
Reading and understanding are so important as Christians now more than ever.
It is so hard to stay encouraged and inspired day to day. It’s not a new observation to state that our world has become increasingly loud and overbearing. We have our attention split so many different ways managing so many different facets of our life that it’s hard to carve out dedicated to just sit and talk with God.
We talk a lot about intentionality which makes sense our time is a finite resource and so moving towards using that resource strategically makes sense. We are intentional with our friends, we are intentional with our career, we are intentional with our health well then why wouldn’t we be intentional with our relationship with God and intentional with our spiritual health.
Here are 4 books that I have found helpful in my journey as a Christian and I really hope that they are encouraging, inspiring, and helpful for you as well.
More is a spectacular book about cultivating an intentional intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit and dispelling weirdness about prayer. More is written by Alan Kraft who has served as lead pastor of Christ Community Church since 1990 and he has a passion for helping people to experience the freedom of the gospel and the fullness of the Spirit.
Again speaking from my Catholic background I feel like Holy Spirit is the most mysterious and least understood component of the Trinity. It’s often described by people in a couple different ways but at its core I believe that it’s one of the most intimate avenues in which the Lord speaks to us. It’s like if you were on a road trip Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit is your road trip buddy. The spirit is your companion on the road trip that is your life, sharing your experiences and pointing out rad spots along the way. Whether we allow the spirit to be the driver of that car is really another question.
Kraft gives practical structured advice on how we can better hear the spirit in our life. Whether that is hearing the spirit speak to us during prayer or when the Lord uses someone in our life to convey a message from the spirit to us More helps us to, as the author says, not be weird about prayer. Many Christians that I’ve talked to have a rocky relationship with the spirit largely in part due to overly charismatic church movements including the lie of the prosperity gospel.
Do not get me wrong spiritual gifts are biblical there is nothing wrong with them, however, there is something wrong with trying to use those gifts from a wrong heart perspective.
A part of “A praying life” is Paul Millers fervent refusal to separate your spiritual life from the rest of your daily life. Just like any relationship that we have with anyone communication is key. If we meet someone and then never talk to them ever again what would you call that? Now if you meet someone and you share your life with them and they share theirs with you and you talk intimately daily what you would call that? Which would you prefer? Miller makes a case for constant and intimate communication with Jesus Christ in everything that we do in this book.
Married life? You’re going to get in an argument so talk to Christ about that. Stressed about money? Lay that anxiety down at the feet of Jesus while you contempt what life he is calling you to. While I haven’t finished the book it has come highly recommended to me by many church leaders in our community.
Author Paul E. Miller is Executive Director of seeJesus, a global discipleship ministry which he founded in 1999 to help Christians and non-Christians alike “see Jesus.”
Gospel is an amazing book by JD Greer, a church favorite author, shows how moralism and legalism have often eclipsed the gospel even within conservative churches. Greer explains how moralism and legalism can strangle the message of Jesus Christ when we forget God’s gracious pursuit of sinners.
The book deals with many topics however the goal is attempting to reshape our heart into on the one the actively desires more of God in every aspect of our lives. The early church was possessed of a radical concept. That God loves sinners, he loves us so much that he sent his one and only son to die so that we could be reconciled back to the father’s love. Then he desired us so much that he instilled in each and every one of us the holy spirit in order to constantly point us back to the truth of God’s love.
Timothy Keller, another Christian author once wrote “You are more sinful than you know and more loved than you realize” and I believe that is true. Jesus loves us more than we hate our sins and isn’t that incredible.
Jesus on every page is a book that was very interesting as it puts forth the big picture that everything in the old testament foreshadows Jesus’s story.
Dr. David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He was ordained to the ministry in 1995 and has pastored two churches in Scotland for 12 years.
As I’ve mentioned before I previously had a very academic perspective on the bible and the teaching of Jesus and this led me to consider the bible to be telling two stories instead of one grand and wonderful narrative. The old testament was one story and the new testament was the sequel taking the story in a new direction. However, Murray says that’s not true. It’s all one story with one hero in the form of Jesus.
I hope this guide was helpful in encouraging you to read more and to have a closer relationship with God.