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Advice For New Parents: How To Make Parenting Easier

Updated: May 30, 2023

Imagine if there was a magic Parenting Personal Assistant or Parenting Fairy who could come and organise your life, change and clean the sheets and fold those baskets of washing that have been sitting next to the dining table for the past three weeks. Unfortunately, there isn't. There is no one coming to restock the changing table and buy you another packet of wipes or organise your pantry. No one is coming to enrol your child into childcare or choose the perfect school for your little one, no one is coming to book your dentist appointment or to apply for that job when parental leave is finished.


So, how do we make this parenting gig easier when there is SO much we need to juggle? There is actually a lot we can do to help relieve the everyday parenting stress and make you feel a little more on top of this parenting gig.


From two Mamas with seven children between us, here are our top ten tips to make parenting easier


How to make parenting easier


Lower your expectations

It sounds simple but when you have been used to a career of achieving high results and ticking things off your to-do list, it can come as quite a shock when you find it hard to make time to wash your hair and eat lunch. It's important to acknowledge that there is a certain amount of chaos that comes with this parenting job. It's true, there is going to be a level of out-of-control which is just part of the job description. Ie. Your child gets sick and can't go to daycare, and you have an important meeting to attend; what do you do? Your child has just come home with a book week notice and needs a costume tomorrow. You are cleaning one room while your child is tipping out the entire toy box in the other.

There is a lot you can't prepare for, so it's important to try and automate and simplify as much as you can, starting with your outlook on parenthood.


Our Perinatal Psychologist Dr Karola Belton talks about the "Motherhood Myth”. Society has created the Myth around the 'perfect mother' who is on top of everything and loves every moment of being a parent. The truth is no one loves every minute and there is no perfect parent.

It's true. Even the parents who look like they have it all together are struggling with something! And sometimes, the more together or “perfect" the parent appears, the harder the time they may be having. For some reason, parents think we need to present ourselves to the world like "I've got this”, but the truth is, no one has really got ALL of this; we are all finding our way. There is give and take, and parenthood ebbs and flows. Everyone gets a turn to finding this parting gig tough for one reason or another. So if your child has breakfast for dinner once a week or needs to have 30 mins of TV while you ring back an important client, it won't be the end of the world - give yourself grace, lower your expectations (your home is not a show house it is your home).

Online food shopping

There is nothing more magical than hearing the sound of your weekly food shop truck arriving. Watching someone else lug those heavy shopping bags to your door, knowing that your weekly food is ready for those lunch boxes and dinner is pretty much ready for after that kindy swim session.


Yes, there may be a small delivery fee but how do you quantify the value of your time? If you need justification for ordering your food shopping online then consider your pelvic floor and stomach separation, not to mention your lower back. You can actually save a lot of money doing it online, as you can check for the weekly discounts and choose home-brand options when adding food to the cart and you can buy in bulk (and not waste money going to that high-priced convenience store as you are organised for the week).


Once you set up your online order it can literally take only a few minutes to complete your weekly food shop rather than driving to the shop, plus the 45 minutes it takes to do the food shop and then there is the drive home and lugging the grocery bags to the door. The added bonus is that you can avoid massive tired toddler tantrums as you don't need to go to the shops.


If you want to have "the time off to shop", order your food for "Click and Collect" and go and buy a takeaway coffee and sit in the car and listen to the radio or a fav podcast for the time it would have taken you to shop.

House organisation

Spend time making a spot for everything in the house and thinking about how your family lives. Put the shoes at the front door, sun cream, sanitiser, and sports equipment (so you are not madly looking for the swimming goggles or rain jackets when it's time to go time - everything has a spot). Train your children to put things in 'their spot'.


Declutter

Less is more! It's true, the fewer toys you have the less you need to pack up and they have done many studies showing that children are far more creative if they are given fewer toys to play with and use their imagination. How many times have you given your child an incredible toy, only to have them play with the packaging that it came in? So take some time to clean out the cupboards for St Kilda Mums and simplify your life and clean up time.


Schedule one-on-one time

Being a busy parent means parenting guilt is real and often we spend time away from our little ones feeling guilty, which makes us less effective and not the moment to enjoy each day. If you schedule one-on-one time each week, it will help you beat the parenting guilt and give you and your little one something to look forward to. Having time to connect will also make every day with your child easier as they will be more connected and you may see behaviour improve as they won't be looking for "attention".

Accept help

This is a tough one, one we all struggle with, but if we think about point number 1 then we will know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent and we all need help every now and then - it takes a village to raise a child. Make sure you call upon yours.


What can you outsource? Washing, cleaning? Can you accept that offer of help from your parents? Better still can you ask for help? Dad, can you make lasagna for us and drop it off?

Can you share child-minding duties with a friend? One parent takes the kids in the morning for a playdate and the other takes the kids to a park for the afternoon allowing both parents to get those need-to-do things off their to-do list i.e. going to the hairdresser, getting your dentist check, buying your child's next size undies or a birthday present for an upcoming birthday party, etc.


Meal Prep

Planning dinners can feel like a real chore but for a time-poor parent, it is a great way to automate and simplify your life. Is Tuesday always Taco Tuesday, or is it Salad Sunday? You never have to waste time and stress thinking about what you are going to cook for dinner. It can also help kids if your dinners are routined. If you have little ones get them involved in the planning process, and allow everyone to pick a dinner for one night. Try and talk about the 5 food groups and ensure each dinner has something from each of the groups (eating healthy is good for everyone and will give you energy to parent).


Batch cook. If you are going to all the effort of making lasagna or sausage rolls, make a double batch. One for that night's dinner and one for the freezer for "one of those days".


Cook on a Sunday when you have more time and freeze for the weekday witching hour or after kinder/school juggle.


Get enough sleep

This is easier said than done, but we all know a tired parent is a grumpy parent. Do whatever you can to catch up on sleep. Go to bed early, and get a grandparent over to let you have a nap. Put on a kid's movie and doze on the couch. Take turns on the weekend for you and your partner to have a sleep-in.

Sometimes we are just one good sleep away from feeling like we are refreshed!


Preparation is key

Buy a massive family calendar and leave it on the kitchen bench, ensuring each family activity is on there. When that birthday party invite is received, RSVP immediately and write it on the calendar. As parents, our minds are so full of juggling everyday life; it is no wonder we forget our 'to-do list'. You no longer need to remember when you or your partner travel for work; it will be on the calendar. Check it every morning when making your morning cup of coffee or tea.


Set out the childcare bag, kinder bag, school bag and after-school activities the night before. Make the lunchbox the night prior to when you are making dinner to ensure a smoother transition out the door in the morning.


Put the washing on in the machine before you go to bed, and hang it out every morning. Have a folding day (and let it pile up until then).


Wash sheets on a certain day of the week and towels on another - plan what you can so you don't have to think about it later.


Finding time for yourself as a parent

Our Perinatal Psychologist Dr Karola Belton always talks about taking the time every week or once a fortnight to make time for one thing just for you. A happy parent is a good parent and this happens when we have the time and headspace to remember our pre-baby selves. It doesn't have to be big, it could be just walking to the local coffee shop by yourself, no baby in your arms or toddler you are pulling along, just time to listen to the birds and enjoy your coffee in peace while it’s still hot. Or meet a friend for a walk or a night out or make time to go to the hairdresser or go on that long bike ride.


Book a babysitter for a date night. A night out is cheaper than a divorce lawyer - make time to remember the love you had for each other before a little person came along.


We hope these tips are helpful. This parenting gig is incredible but it is exhausting, so when all else fails, please remember tip number 1. There is nothing wrong with having breakfast for dinner once a week. Who said porridge wasn't dinner anyway?


Parents You've Got This!


Written by Christy Hopwood and Freya Owen, Parents You’ve Got This Cofounders This photo is how we feel most days lol (except our houses are messier).


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Advice to make parenting easier

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