Take Care Of Yourself
Children are a lot of work. I have had this solidified in me over the past 6 months as my child has gone through feeding difficulties, sleep problems, and “leaps” that make me wonder if my child has been possessed on a given day. As a parent I know that doing the best you can is sometimes limited to showing up, closing your eyes, and rocking your child for an hour with the hope they fall asleep so you can have a moment of quiet. One thing I remind myself and my partner, Sophie, about is that without taking care of ourselves and our relationship there is no success as a parent.
Meet Your Needs
Every family is unique. One thing however that remains true is that everyone has needs, wants, and likes. Oftentimes it can be difficult to know the difference between the three but the order for a functioning person, relationship, and parent is that sequence. In particular we first need to have our needs met, then our partners, then our childs. Without this step all three suffer and what is best becomes unattainable. This follows through our wants and likes as well.
Needs, Wants, and Likes
Needs and wants are different. Suffering occurs when a need is not met. This takes many forms and is not limited to depression, suicide, starvation, and other illnesses. If you can go without it the rest of your life then it is likely a want. Wants however can be consuming and is how it differs from likes. A want can come from a like that consumes our thoughts and starts to make things like productivity and our social interactions suffer. We can go without a want being met and our wants can change over time, as can our likes. Our needs however, do not change.
To be the best parent make sure your needs are met and the needs of your partner are as well. That sets you up for success with your child and ultimately as a family as a unit. Also remember that if you are consumed by something, a want, that you will not be able to attend to other people’s wants. This concept does simplify companionship, relationship dynamics, and childcare but ultimately has helped me in working through eating, sleeping, and other challenges that have arisen since our child’s birth.