Par­ents need to find their ‘peo­ple’

Hav­ing a tight group of peo­ple go­ing through the same thing is cru­cial for new mums and dads, says Erin Reilly.

Franklin County News - - PROPERTY FEATURE -

The scari­est thing I’ve ever done is have a baby.

I wasn’t scared about labour; I was more wor­ried about the re­spon­si­bil­ity of turn­ing an adorable blob who couldn’t do any­thing for him­self into a ful­ly­func­tion­ing mem­ber of so­ci­ety who wasn’t a bad per­son.

We’re only 18 months in, but if there’s one thing I’m in­cred­i­bly thank­ful for so far, it’s my mum squad. It doesn’t mat­ter how many books you read or how many ba­bies you prac­tise swad­dling on be­fore you have your own, noth­ing pre­pares you for par­ent­hood and the mul­ti­tude of strug­gles, tears and long nights that come with it.

But hav­ing a tight group of peo­ple on speed dial who have ei­ther been there and done that or are cur­rently go­ing through it makes the early days es­pe­cially a whole lot eas­ier.

You’ve un­doubt­edly heard of cof­fee groups. An­te­na­tal classes of­ten morph into cof­fee groups be­cause ev­ery­one’s ba­bies are roughly the same age and there­fore all the par­ents are roughly at the same stage.

Com­mu­nity events like Mainly Mu­sic, Wrig­gle and Rhyme or Plun­ket play­groups are also great ways to get out of the house and in­ter­act with like-minded peo­ple un­der the guise of get­ting the kids out of the house.

While all the kids run around bang­ing drums and fight­ing over shak­ers, par­ents can catch up on the lat­est gossip and send un­der­stand­ing glances across the group at other mums who are wor­ried that their kid is jump­ing off the speaker (don’t worry, love – we’ve all been there). Check out Neigh­bourly to find child-friendly events hap­pen­ing near to your place.

Then there’s so­cial me­dia. In the early days, I signed up to a ‘‘new­born sleep’’ group for par­ents who couldn’t get their kids to sleep at night. Some ba­bies are born sleep­ing, and oth­ers would rather party at all hours of the night. Mine was the lat­ter, and I was so sleep-de­prived you could have mis­taken me for a zom­bie. Hon­estly, I don’t know how I would have coped with­out that group. Con­nect­ing with other par­ents who were in the same boat as me proved that I wasn’t do­ing it wrong and there was light at the end of the sleep de­pri­va­tion tun­nel.

It’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant for new par­ents to find peo­ple who are just like them. If you’re stumped about tran­si­tion­ing to for­mula, if you need in­spi­ra­tion on solids, or if you’re strug­gling with cease­less tears (yours or your baby’s), your peo­ple will al­ways be there with some words of ad­vice, a lis­ten­ing ear, a hot cup of tea and a shoul­der to cry on.

They’ll be there to cel­e­brate all the great things too – first steps, first words, first time sleep­ing through the night – and when they cel­e­brate theirs, you’ll be there for them too.

123RF

It’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant for new par­ents to find peo­ple who are just like them.

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