To begin with, extended family is the original and best parenting assistance service there is. Even if you don’t get on with your in-laws now, after having a baby, you will appreciate them being around and helping to look after your child. Thankfully I do get on with my in-laws and I know I am lucky as they have helped me a lot along this parenthood journey. Becoming a parent is both the most rewarding and the most challenging thing you will ever have to do, as each stage brings with it its own set of challenges.
You wouldn’t start a new full-time job without any training or learning support, so why think you are capable of becoming a parent without support? Here are some extra pathways to consider that will help you in managing the constant stress and sleep-deprived joy that is parenting.
Nannies and Babysitters
Many women have important careers that they love or can’t take much time away from, and need help in caring for their child. If this is the case, or if an adding another child to an already exhausting batch is proving too much, then turning to the help of a nanny can greatly improve your quality of life.
It’s amazing how much easier parenting life will seem with an ally around who is there to care for and help your child grow. Try finding a nanny in Melbourne and see if this option is right for your family. Alternatively, having a great babysitter that you can trust will at least give you a break once or twice a week and allow you to spend time with your partner or friends. Surprisingly, social lives can still exist with a new child.
Parenting and Playgroups
Some hospitals initiate contact for new parents giving birth within a few weeks of each other to start playgroups. These are generally mother based catch ups, where new mums can discuss any issues that arise over a coffee or walk in the park. These can be extremely beneficial and are, in a way, a throwback to the old village life days of our ancestors where new mums would congregate and help each other raise the new children.
The only thing to be careful of, as with all parenting groups, is the possibility for competition to erode on the benefits of these groups. Some mothers may find it necessary to boast about how easy and well mannered their new baby is, which can cause anxiety for mums who are having a tough time adjusting. The truth is, every parent goes through struggles, so if you come across someone like this, find a new group.
One of the challenges of being a new parent is finding the time to cook and ensuring everyone in the family is properly fed. Nutritious meal services can make a world of difference if you’re finding that you just don’t have the time or energy to cook.
Public libraries can be a great, but often overlooked service provider for new parents. There are regular children’s workshops, or storybook times that are free to attend. Even when no events are on, it can be a great place to take your new bub and look over picture books in a quiet and comfortable space.
More often than not, there will be a public library within walking distance to your house, so see what’s nearby and add a library visit to your weekly outings. It’s also a great place to meet other new mums living in your area.
Depending on the size of your house, it’s very easy to run out of time to clean properly when you have a new child demanding all of your time. Having a maid come in and tidy up the place can give you that added peace of mind, and extra few hours to get other things done, especially if you are working from home.
Blogs, Forums and Online parenting Groups
Just like any new job, it helps to stay on top of educational resources and trends within the parenting world. Yes, it is an instinctive and natural relationship that forms between a parent and child, but it always helps to read and talk to other parents about issues, hurdles and parenting strategies. If that means calling your parent or sibling, or joining in on an online forum chat, or reading a bunch of quality blogs about parent life then that is a great way to help ease your worries – because one of the main things you will learn is that every parent struggles.
It’s not easy being a parent, but then nothing that is truly rewarding ever is.
Most of us try to just do a better job than our parents did. We all need help, and the more help you can get, the easier the process will feel. Always remember to enjoy parenthood. Kids are fun, they know how to engage the world in a playful way, so join in and play.