We know, you’ve heard that statement before from all of the other parents you’ve spoken to – whether you asked for their input or opinion or not!
We’re going to put it out there anywhere though, because then it’s your choice entirely to see if you want to act on that advice or not.
The number one piece of advice we could give to any new parent is this:
Let people help.
We know, there’ll be times when it feels like you have nobody who is willing/ wanting / able to help, but there are always people there. Family, friends, healthcare professionals, childcare providers, kind strangers you meet at those parent and baby groups you said you’d never go to…
Having a baby is not the time to be shy or proud about accepting help. This isn’t a pride thing, where people offer to do something to help you or your child and you politely respond to tell them you’re fine, because even though you’re struggling, you’re nothing if not well-mannered...
Say yes. If you have a toddler, they’re probably saying ‘No’ enough for the both of you at the moment, so don’t add to the pile. Say yes, and enjoy it.
We’re talking about all the different ways in which help might be offered, provided and gratefully received, here…
If someone wants to cuddle your baby so that you can go to the toilet – let them help.
If someone wants to put the kettle on in your house so that you can just sit down – let them help.
If someone offers to babysit your child whilst you go out on a date/ catch up on sleep / get through the housework – let them help. Oh, and don’t use that time to get through the housework, by the way – that’s a terrible example. Use the time for you to do something that directly benefits you – and if that means you’re not awake to witness it, enjoy it!
You’re more likely to get offers of help when you have a new baby than when your child gets older, because that new baby addition is a massive change for you, and EVERYBODY understands that. Plus, although it’ll seem a stressful/ anxious / potentially depressing time for you in trying to come to terms with life surrounding your new addition, people who haven’t created said child do not suffer those same attachment stresses or challenges! They just see a spot of babysitting as something easy to do, because they simply need to be on hand for cuddles, bottles and burps. Even the prospect of changing a stinky nappy or two is probably a lot less daunting than the day you ask them to entertain your manic 3 year-old for a few hours… Yeah, not many people are going to offer help, then!
If people offer any kind of help – even if it’s nothing to do with the baby and instead it’s the fact that they want to bring round a few casseroles or fix your broken door bell, let them do it. There’s no shame in saying yes. And, if you feel that you may have people in your circle who would never help you at all, then you probably won’t see them for a while, anyway! Babies have a funny way of altering your friendships.
And remember, although some people may feel like they are alone and don’t have friends or family to speak to for help, there are always professionals who most certainly can help you. And we’re not necessarily talking health visitors and midwives, here (although please do speak to them if you need anything or you’re not feeling good about things). Go to classes, get out and about, and say yes to the kindness of strangers. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Scared of handing over your bundle of joy for anything more than a cuddle because you’re worried about routines and people ‘not doing it right’? It’s a good job you can download our Onoco app for sharing access and keeping peace of mind then, isn’t it?