The Perfect Check-list for First Time Parents to make parenting easy as pie

First time parents, this is all the check-list you need to take care of a new-born baby!

Parenting can be overwhelming and daunting for first-timers. But as they say, it gets easy and relaxing as you move along. The main reason being as your child grows so do you. And parenting is a full-time job with no leaves or paychecks, there is no running away from it too because let’s face it, you signed up for this for a lifetime. A tiny wriggly mass of 7 pounds which is unable to communicate but somehow perfectly capable of emotions is really a miracle. To be honest, when I had my son I was completely clueless on what to do, I was all the time thinking that I am failing and probably I could have waited longer to have a baby.

Pregnant lady and husband
A picture by Kelly Sikkema

But as it turns out I was going to feel like this at any age because it has more to do with hormones and post-partum stress rather than the age or the baby. My parents were also as helpless and clueless as me because they were in that age bracket where you got to have a good night’s sleep and have certain time-offs / resting period or else they end up crankier than the baby itself.

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Are we raising entitled kids who feel the world revolves around them?

We are in the middle of “me,me,me entitlement epidemic”. Our kids are out of control and many of them lack basic human qualities like empathy.

Let me begin with a short story. The other day we were visiting a friend and soon after we arrived at their place the son welcomed us by the statement “My parents are doctors, what are you?” As much as I had the urge to give him a reply my husband held my hand tighter (perhaps hinting to ignore the remark as he is just a child). None the less I sat there thinking how in my days I was never-ever allowed to talk down to elders let alone the guests and here we are in a generation where parents feel ok if the child makes an easy-peasy remark to an elder because “adults are supposed to ignore it”.

Entitled Child , sticking out tounge
A picture by Maria Lysenko

Amidst all these thoughts and pat came another retort from the young one, I found him tapping on my shoulder to pay attention to what he was saying which I quote was “My father has a lot of money, do you also have money?” The question simply made me laugh and by the looks on his face he was not at all amused by that and he was expecting more than that reaction. He quickly jumped away from my side to push away my son who was apparently playing with one of his toys. And pat comes another remark “Doesn’t he have any toys at his home, why does he have to play with mine”. I noticed the great pride the parents had on their face “what a gem of a child have we made, entirely capable of taking care of his things” and yet I thought to myself so incapable of empathy.

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Stop Judging Parents for their Parenting Techniques.

But the problem is not that. The problem was the judgers who kept looking at my son with sympathetic eyes and moms gossiping with each other on what a bad parent I am because I cannot “manage my own child”.

Young boy child crying temper tantrum in shopping cart with mother parent in produce section aisle of supermarket growing pains
Young boy child crying temper tantrum in shopping cart with mother parent in produce section aisle of supermarket growing pains

I will start this with a story. A True Story.

A few days back my son got up from his afternoon nap, as usual and suddenly started crying out loud. I attended him, soothed him, and thought might be the child had some bad dreams. Singed him, tried to wash his face and fed him. My poor little child was completely unpleased by anything of the above mentioned activities and he kept on crying. Even after 30 mins of non-stop crying, screaming, soothing and all the other activities as above mentioned he kept on clinging to me and crying incessantly.

Call it luck or his mood or god knows what after an hour of the full-on drama he brought me to the living room holding my hand and after to switch on the TV, just to make him feel alright I switched it for some time and fed him some food, gave him water, washed his face and after 20 mins I told him his screen time was over and he could have it later or perhaps tomorrow. And again he started crying and screaming on the top of his voice. I tried everything and fed up I thought of taking him out to change his mind (mine too). We had just walked out of the lift and he again starts throwing tantrums. He literally laid down on the floor and just kept crying on and on and on…I communicated very clearly that he had his time for TV today and we can go to the park and perhaps later on if he feels like it, he can watch it. He won’t budge but.

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How To Limit Screen Time For Kids?

How much screen time is ok for children?

Kid having screen time by playing video game
A child playing video game.An image by Kelly Sikkema

I am a stay at home mom living an urban life ,what that means is I am on my own unlike earlier times when people used to live in joint families and there was always someone or the other to supervise while the children played making sure they swallowed nothing, aren’t getting hurt – in short keeping them alive!

In today’s time I am the mom who cooks 3(sometimes 4) meals a day, supervises her child while he plays with the toys or other things at home, starting from bathing to dressing up yourself and your child, pampering yourself or your baby, feeding yourself to your baby – in short – you are on your own in this so called urban or city life. And then I see families where there is a presence of elderly grandparents who help out in raising up your child or house chores or even asking out if you need any help also makes a huge difference.

Enter pandemic and everything changes. Parents have moved back to their native places or forced to move due to travel bans or restrictions or visa changes or country-specified rules (what-all and what-not), schools, nurseries and daycares closed due to lockdowns, parents are supposed to work from home with a screaming child in the background, attend zoom meetings with a houseful show of sibling fighting going on in the background, meet deadlines while attending to chores as well because c’mon you need to eat right.

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My Birth Story…

A woman can never forget the day when she gave birth to her child, neither a dad can forget the first time he held his child in his hands. So small that they easily fit in your hands yet so scary that your hands tremble, the brain keeps on sending signals to be ultra-careful and not to drop the little one. So beautiful that even your best memory gets replaced. A buddy for a lifetime, a responsibility forever, a feeling that will never end.

So rightly put by Elizabeth Stone:

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Ethan Mithun Mathew

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5 Parenting tips to ignore – outdating parenting advice

A picture by Christina Wocintechc

Parenting can be daunting especially for new moms and dads and certainly there is no one size fits all strategy. I was the youngest in the family which means I had never seen an actual baby let alone take care of it – cousins and everyone are there sure but you play with them for some time and give it back when it gets down to business.

So naturally I would run to my Mom for everything and anything when my son came along. Because, you know, of course she has already raised two kids and done a pretty good job (we are still breathing YAY).

But the times have changed – so much has changed that we now live in a world where we ourselves are teaching our kids not to share their food or toys with their friends while just 3 months back we were trying to push them in that park to make some friends by sharing cookies/ have heartfelt handshakes and hugs / play in the mud and share toys.

So probably with this big change certainly there are some outdated parenting advice which are downright wrong and needs no passing down to the future generation, let’s go through them and put an end to these advices:

  • Praising your kids too much :
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Parenting In a Pandemic: Start Of Virtual Learning

A Mom reading a parenting Book picture by kelly Sikemma

Many of our lives have gone for a toss in these pandemic times; we are more than ever unsure about anything in our lives. People are losing jobs and economies grappling to survive.

And just like adults’, children are also trying to get hold of themselves, suddenly their lives have changed upside down and they can no longer visit their friends or go to schools or do some sporting/leisure activities. I hear all the time parents complaining about schools and how they not providing value education via online inspite of paying huge fees.

First of all, I think we all need to accept the situation as it is – we know it might take many more months for everything to get back to normal so perhaps this might be the best opportunity to prepare our children for “the change”.

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3 ways to Raise Independent Kids

A picture by Gabe Pierce

I am a mother to a 2 year old boy and before he came into our lives we were totally immersed into a life of adventure and carefree attitude – weekend shoppings, signing up for any kind of fun classes, inviting friends and partying late at nights. Well! When I knew I was pregnant it was the most happiest day of my life while today I am constantly juggling to my son’s every wish and fancy.

Believe me, a lot of times I think to myself I didn’t sign up for this Mama! But eh! Man plans, God Disposes. Plus these tiny little human beings are totally incapable of taking care of themselves so I made my life’s mission to talk to some moms of elderly boys or whoever would like to share their secrets with me on how to raise independent kids. I made it very clear in my head that I am going to raise my child as an independent child who knows how to cater to their own needs and wants.

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Which parenting style is better – strict or lenient?

A picture by James Wheeler

Today as the world changes gradually I see a lot of communication going on between parents and children, parents are ready to nurture and hold the little one’s precious little hands at every hurdle of life. Earlier in my days me and my parents never spoke about any topic under the sun which makes me think which of the two generations is doing a good job – are we millennials parents taking up the game a notch higher and just talking and talking to our children even on topics where it is not required or were our parents right by not attending to every little hunch.

Well I remember in my household showing affection or even talking about it (I for sure don’t remember the last time my father hugged me LOL as am sure you won’t either) was a rare scene and now there are tons and tons of books being written on how to show affection to your child for their proper cognitive development. As babies parents tend to overflow their love on them with kisses and hugs and as soon as they grow up the awkward gap just grows and grows until it becomes a generation gap where nobody understands each other (although everyone is talking the same thing) with periodic bouts of shouting and yelling.

And before you think of something – YES I was grown in a perfectly happy family and am sure you also resonate to some of these occasional bouts although very few admit to it because we all are apparently living in a world where it becomes imperative to assure yourself and others all the time that you are happy instead of dealing with the elephant in the room.

So all this rumination followed by a lot of reading, talking, research and a few podcasts led me to think which style of parenting I am going to adapt – should I be more like my parents vis-à-vis Strict or lenient like many millennial parents are in today’s age.

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Can your Upbringing cloud your judgment or decision-making skills?

A Picture from Charu Chaturvedi

Am sure if I ask this question in a hall full of people majority of the answer to this would be yes our upbringing does have an influence on our decision making. We are made up of beliefs and values which are to each their own but how do these belief and values form and when does it start interfering in our decision-making capabilities?

Like Mark Manson mentions in his famous book (The subtle art of not giving a fu*k) we are always making decisions – whether consciously or unconsciously – even to not make a decision is also a decision in itself.

And we all have our own value systems – some might think owning a house in a suburban community is a measure of success while for another person owning a luxury car ticks off an item from the list while some people long for emotional attachments like staying with your family and having kids and seeing them grow.

So the question is are we really making decisions based on our value systems and if the answer is yes then how much does our upbringing plays a part in it? If I talk about myself then yes I agree with the above statements but I also believe that two children living under same roof having same parents and living a similar life can have totally different value systems or decision making skills and that’s the beauty of humans I guess. We all can have same input of information or influences in our lives and yet the outcome i.e., our perceptions, intelligence, ability to understand something is totally different from each other.

A Picture from Richard R
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