“Your well-being does not need to be compromised in order for you to be a parent.”

Entering the promise of a new year with a newborn child is a precious period in your life. Feelings of excitement and anxiety may co-exist as you find your footing in parenthood. From changing diapers to shopping for toys, it is a full-time job that requires your full attention, commitment and care.

Parenthood is often associated with heavy sacrifices such as missing out on fun events and giving up on your dreams. This does not need to be your reality; your well-being does not need to be compromised in order for you to be a parent. Self-compassion and self-regulation are essential components for parental figures to successfully ensure their newborn’s development is healthy. In other words, your needs must be met in order to properly meet your child’s needs.

Let’s break the stigma that new parents are not able to prioritise their needs with 5 new year’s resolutions.

5 New Year’s resolutions for new parents

Develop a daily self-care routine

Add a self-care ritual on your own daily to-do-list, and do not put it last on the list! As a new parent, the needs of your child can consume your entire psyche which results in a major downfall in your own need for rest, pleasure and joy. It is imperative for new parents to regulate their stress levels through frequent self-care habits to avoid parental burnouts, which is defined as the absence of sufficient resources to compensate for the effect of stress.

Self-care can be as simple as taking 10 minutes to meditate, going for a brisk walk in the neighbourhood, reading a chapter from a self-help book, taking a long bath or watching an episode of your favourite show. Give yourself a chance to unload any pent up stress or worries by doing things that put you in a state of bliss.

Get enough quality sleep

Many parents, new or experienced, have the tendency to normalise abnormal sleeping patterns to care for their child. A lack of sleep can cause parents to be physically drained, slow in decision making and unable to cope with stressful events. To be at an optimal state for parenting, one must secure quality sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, it is a sleep cycle that involves one’s eyes to move in different directions beneath the eyelids. REM sleep stimulates neural connections in the brain that promotes learning and retaining memories, this is key to developing mental and physical health.

To achieve REM sleep, create a schedule for you and your partner to take turns for late-night caretaking, instead of having continuous nights of fragmented sleep, both of you should devote certain days of the week to obtaining uninterrupted rest. This method of getting periodic quality sleep will not only improve your interactions with your newborn, but it will also improve the teamwork between you and your partner.

Make time for social events

As a new parent, it is easy to mirror a kangaroo and carry your child wherever you go. From the grocery store to the bank, you just feel a sense of security and ease knowing your child is with you. This can be known as parental separation anxiety, which are feelings of intense worries when one is not in close proximity to their child.

Absence only makes the heart grow fonder and it gives you the opportunity to realise you are more than the role of a parent. Every now and then, leave your child at the daycare centre and spend time with your loved ones, even if it is just for a couple of hours.

Attend a parenting class

All new parents may face feelings of isolation as they navigate through the foreign grounds of raising an infant. In many aspects of our lives, there is preparation involved to ensure we reap the best results. We seek consultation, learn and device strategies that will bring us to success. The same principle applies to new parents.

If you want to give your child the best possible future, it is highly recommended that you take a parenting class. This will help you master the basics of care-giving to infants, stay informed on what are the best ways to engage with your child, discover the best parenting style for you and build relationships with other parents that could provide you support during trying times in your journey.

Unlearn the belief that you have to get everything right

To learn how to be a good parent often means unlearning self-limiting beliefs. Let go of the mentality that you are a bad parent if you make mistakes. You are going to have to get comfortable with things being a little messy. So, do not be too hard on yourself when things do not go according to plan and stop comparing your parenting style with others’—nobody is perfect and everyone has different capabilities. Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, focus on the ones that you can. Embrace the messiness and take joy in the process of watching your little one grow with you.

We hope that you will have a fruitful year with these 5 new year’s resolutions! Do you have any tips for the long and winding road of parenting that you would like to share with your peers? Submit your thoughts and comments below.