How To Be An Adult & What They Don’t Tell You About Growing Up

How To Be An Adult And Growing Up
How To Be An Adult And Growing Up

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I turned 30 earlier this year and with each passing day am only getting closer to 31. I hate to say this but, in a way, I’ve entered middle age. MIDDLE AGE! Yes, 30s is the beginning of middle age. There was a time in my life where being 30 seemed incredibly old (when I was 16), now 16 seems incredibly young. At 16, I didn’t know how to be an adult, let alone anything about growing up.

But officially I’m supposed to be an adult. I do a lot of adult things now like take care of my children, do my own laundry, pay my bills, have a job that pays well with insurance and cook in bulk for the week. This is what I always aimed for, this sort of busy and put together life that I could call success.

Only, sometimes I don’t feel like it’s really success. I didn’t escape the rat race, actually, I fell right into it and can’t get out for the life of me. I don’t have enough time for the things that really matter to me. And on top of it all, I feel like a slave to my employer.

I feel like they missed a lot in school in terms of teaching young people how to be functioning members of society and how we’re supposed to be growing up into adults. Of course trigonometry and algebra could not be missed but teaching you about differences in healthcare plans and how to open a bank account? Totally unimportant. (Sarcasm).

I look at my 6 year old daughter and think, I’ve got to do better, honestly. I hope she’s not as unprepared for adulthood as I was because the learning curve is steep. And at 30, I still don’t feel like I’ve truly caught up.

So here’s what they don’t tell you about being an adult and growing up:

1) There’s no true freedom

Freedom they said. Growing up and being an adult is about having complete freedom. No more parents giving you curfews or giving you a pitiful allowance. As an adult you get to call the shots and make decisions about your life. When I was an adolescent I really thought that this was how life worked. If only I was an adult, things would be so much better.

Actually, it doesn’t work like that. Because of a thing called “Money.” Living with your parents and being “controlled” by them is actually more of a safety net. Children don’t have to worry themselves with the day to day cost of living. Things like food, clothes, shelter and transportation are 100% covered, in most cases, by parents. So even though as a teenager you’re limited in what you can do, major responsibilities have yet to fall on your plate.

Adults on the other hand have major constraints on their freedom in terms of having to make an income that subsidizes their daily lives. They have to go to sleep early to wake up at 6am to get to their job. It’s a money imposed curfew. They can’t buy ridiculous $1500 Gucci shoes because they realize that their going to have to work X hours/days to pay it off.

As an adult I wish I knew that my adolescent years would be the most relaxing and fun times of my life. Even though I had some restrictions, I had youth, time and energy on my side.

2) People only care about themselves

I was raised learning that it was important to care about each other, to share and, in general, to have good virtues. It was such a huge life lesson to see how time and time again people only acted in their own best interest. In some instances it came across as terribly selfish, in others, as an act of self preservation.

It was definitely a hard lesson for me because, in most cases, people were super nice to my face. But when push came to shove, whenever either a coworker or friend saw an opportunity that benefited themselves over me, they took it. If it was only an acquaintance, it was SURE to happen.

Meanwhile, I was raised to put others before myself, be selfless, be giving, and think about others’ needs. It took me a long time to learn that these values are important but I needed to use them sparingly, with people who deserved it from me. Everyone else needs to earn it.

3) Bills, Bills, Bills

I kind of already touched on the reality that adulthood is centered around paying your bills. But honestly growing up I never realized how expensive life in general is. You really need to make $100K a year minimum where I live just to make ends meet. When I was 16 I would have been happy to earn $20k a year, but things are different when you have to pay your own housing, food, transit, clothes and everything else bills.

I used to be like, “Why can’t my parent’s buy me these dumb candies I want or shoes or whatever?”

Adult me wants to smack little me and say, “Bitch! Our parents didn’t have money for that just like I don’t have money for that shit with my kids!”

When you’re unexposed to the realities of the world you kind of really have a sense of naïveté about things and how stuff works.

Now at 30, bills take pretty much all your money. And when I was 16, $200 felt like a windfall, now $200 feels like $5 out of my pocket because life is just too expensive.

I used to think that money was easier to attain or that my parents were just too stingy, but they were actually very smart with money and a lot of my good spending habits are learned from them!

4) Relationships are really hard

Finding the right relationship that could last a lifetime is probably the HARDEST thing to manage as an adult. I started dating “late” compared to other people. I had my first boyfriend at 18. As an adult, building long term relationships are super difficult. When I was younger, I didn’t understand why people broke up suddenly or why LOVE couldn’t win. Couples who were voted the cutest in class would break up out of nowhere. Of course in high school and college, this would be the talk of the school and everyone would gossip and speculate about what happened. “He cheated on her.” “She didn’t like that he was liking other girls’ pictures.” It was kind of like some sort of teen soap opera.

Now I’ve realized that you can just break up with someone because they don’t like the same food as you or aren’t as clean as you. Cheating is just one of the many reasons why relationships don’t work out. There could be a cultural divide. He could be misogynistic or she can be a misandrist. It could be one fight that you never bounce back from. Literally so many reasons why relationships aren’t meant to last.

When I was young I just couldn’t understand this. I sort of had this preconceived notion that there were “soulmates” or one person in this world that could “complete me.” At the end of the day, relationships aren’t meant to complete you, most importantly they should add value to your life and compliment who you are as a person. Toxic relationships do just the opposite. But toxic relationships aside, just finding a healthy relationship and getting through the tough spots is hard as hell! I guess that’s just part of growing up, realizing your ideals are just that-ideals.

So now when I hear that some cute and favorite couple I know of broke up, I just shake my head and think to myself, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” Because adult relationships are never easy.

5) You’re never going to feel like you have it all together

It’s never going to happen. I always thought that it would but I never woke up and felt like adulthood hit me. Yes, I’m more responsible now because I have to support a family. Yes, I pay my bills because otherwise I would be out on the street. Yes, I make conservative choices and stick to a routine. But am I this way because I choose to be or because life has forced it on me?

Sometimes I get people in their early 20s who look up to me. I can tell they look at me and see me as someone who has it put together. And I look back at them like, “not really…” Just because someone has a kid, a husband and a job does not mean they are put together. I still have so much on my bucket list.

Like not working a job that makes me hate myself, having a surplus of money to buy a house, having a semblance of a work/life balance, buying new furniture, getting a second car, not relying on my parents still for some financial support and other things like that.

I am NOT put together. Every day I feel like I’m one catastrophic event away from falling apart instead of growing up.

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So yeah, if I had my pick I would just live my childhood/adolesence years over and over again because this sh*t is HARD. I wish I would have known that all I have to look forward to growing up is paying bills, not having enough vacation time, the ability to drink alcohol and working long hours.

If you were born after 2001, all I have to say to you is enjoy your young, beautiful, youthful and carefree life now. Adulthood is just around the corner waiting for you and it’s not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be.

Check out my other posts if you like “How To Be An Adult & What They Don’t Tell You About Growing Up!”
Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 18

My Best Friend Ghosted Me & Lost Friendships

How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier

How To Build Your Self Esteem & Self Confidence

build self confidence and self esteem
build self confidence and self esteem

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Self esteem. Most people don’t know how to build their self esteem and self confidence. And it’s tough, self esteem is kind of an abstract concept. Most people feel like they know what it is but they really don’t. It’s one of those ideals people constantly chase like- purpose, meaning, life, and goodness. Self esteem is probably the most valuable thing you can have and yet so many people don’t posses it.

So what is self esteem? And how do you build your self esteem?

Self esteem, by my definition, is a sense of confidence and belief in oneself that you are a person of value; a person worthy of respect and dignity. That you are a capable and independent person no matter what.

Let’s break down the concept further. What is esteem? What does it mean to hold someone in high esteem? Well, you’ll probably really respect that person, you won’t doubt them in moments when they give you advice and you might even want to be a bit like them. Self esteem is exactly that, but towards yourself.

A lot of people throw around that phrase but don’t really have it in themselves. Often times it’s confused with ego. But self esteem is different than ego. Ego is a version of ourselves that we imagine. Our sense of self. You can have an ego and no self esteem. You can also have self esteem and no ego. You can have both. But they are separate. Like I said, ego is the version of ourselves we imagine and self esteem is the complete respect and belief in oneself.

So what do you need to do in order to build a high self esteem? It’s not as easy as you think:

1) Avoid toxic people
This seems like a given but somehow toxic people tend to slither into our lives. They love to leech off the good energy of people with high self esteem and confidence. Usually in the form of a romantic interest. When you have high self esteem you tend to repel toxic partners (because you know better than to engage them) but when it’s low, the toxics will come in droves. It makes sense to avoid someone who devalues you, doesn’t respect you, pokes at your insecurities and overall is incompatible. Yet so many men and women end up with partners that thrive on keeping their lovers down and out.

By ending relationships that hurt how you see yourself, you are taking the next step to confidence and happiness. Because it’s impossible to be happy when someone you love is hurting you. It just doesn’t work if you want to build your self confidence.

2) Avoid situations that are emotionally harmful

This sort of ties in to topic # 1, if you’re avoiding toxic people you’re essentially avoiding situations that are harmful. But that’s not enough, there are tons of different situations you’ll need to avoid in order to maintain your sense of who you are and your value.

Somehow we’re also drawn to situations that seem either too good to be true or just give us too much hope. Disappointment is a huge reason why people lose their self-esteem. It could be something as easy as wanting a guy/girl to like you and finding out he wants your friend or standing next to your supermodel sister and feeling like the most monstrous person in the world when you’re actually really cute or dating a known player but still hoping you can change him. Or studying with the smartest kid in class, only to be left feeling dumb because you take too long to do the work. These sort of small not so serious situations will peck at your self-esteem and keep you from feeling as confident as you should be.

There’s also the issue with drama. I wish people were logical but we aren’t. We’re drawn to drama because it gives us a thrill or some sort of validation. It’s so important to avoid all drama and disappointment as much as possible and not put yourself in these emotionally charged situations because at the end of it all, the conflict will cause negativity towards yourself.

Think about the last big argument you got into…it wasn’t long until you started doubting yourself and wondering why you’re going through such a hard time. You started to question who you are and your value. The truth is, you can’t always avoid drama but, at the very least, you don’t have to seek it out.

3) Remember your strength

Sometimes when I’m feeling like life is impossible and too hard, I look back at what I’ve accomplished. I think of all the really hard shit I’ve gone through like my battle with achalasia or my unplanned pregnancy or the mold that infested our house. You see, I went through all that and it was stressful but I got through it.

Chances are there are challenges you’ve had to go through too. Remembering those obstacles in your life and drawing on that strength you had to get through them is a huge tool.

Looking at your past moments of perseverance and applying that to your future is one way to build your self esteem. Why shouldn’t you believe in yourself now when you’ve proven yourself capable time and time again? This is an easy way to build your confidence. It’s not really a fake it until you make it sort of self-esteem but more about giving yourself the credit you deserve.

4) Be your own cheerleader
It’s not always going to work out that someone will be rooting you on. In reality, there might be people in your life who are actively trying to tear you down.

Life is rarely perfect in that way and in these times you’ll need to know how to be your own cheerleader and believe in yourself when no one else does.

There was a girl in my high school that was always so negative. She had no knowledge on how to build self confidence. Every conversation I had with her was dreary and self-deprecating. She always complained about how nobody liked her, she was ugly, the teacher didn’t help her, her parents suck, etc. I tried to cheer her up and get her to think about the positives in her life but it never worked. After a while it was too draining and I had to distance myself. It just seemed like she enjoyed her own misery.

The point is to not expect others to lift you up but to do it on your own, even if you have to fake your own happiness for a little while. Self esteem isn’t something that can be built overnight but is something that’s built over time as you start to see yourself as worthy.

That friend, she had terrible self esteem and even though I was a friend who always was positive, it never helped. She needed to see all the positives in herself, for herself.

5) Accept who you are
Don’t be an apple wishing it was a pear, and don’t be a pear wishing it was an apple.

We all have things we wish we could change about ourselves but some of those things are unchangeable.

When I was younger, I used to wish I had lighter skin. Can you really change the color of your skin? Not unless you’re Michael Jackson.

My skin is the color of light milk chocolate and it’s a very nice complexion, but I lived in a neighborhood that was white and Italian so I wanted a fair complexion instead. Over time I learned to really love my skin, it hardly wrinkles and never gets sunburn. Imagine if I dwelled over my darker skin color, how unhappy I would have been?

For things you can’t change, you need to learn to live with it and love it. Your quirks, your imperfections, all of it. Accepting these things about yourself and even loving them will give you the mental room to feel positive about who you are and what you’re all about.

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I think the main point here is that most people aren’t born with a ton of self esteem. I would describe it more like a muscle you need to flex to strengthen.

What benefits are there to build self confidence? Tons, actually! You can finally do all those things you wanted to do in your life but were uncertain you could accomplish. You can ask that cute guy/girl out and not feel like their approval means everything and you can start living on your own terms and no longer feel chained to your insecurities. A person with high self esteem has the ultimate freedom.

So take it one step at a time, little by little your self esteem with find you.

If you like “How To Build Your Self Esteem & Self Confidence” Check Out My Other Posts!

Motivational Book Club: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
How To Be Charismatic & How To Be More Likable
How To Be Successful & Be Happy

How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier

How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier
How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier

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I’ve been guilty of it, subtly putting someone down, nitpicking flaws, needing to have the last word as a futile effort to be “right.” It’s true, I have moments where I’m the asshole and most of the time I don’t mean to be…it just sort of happens. But I’m working on it. I really want to learn how to stop being so petty and learn to be happier.

According to Urban Dictionary (my main source of definitions for modern day lingo), petty means:

1)making things, events, or actions normal people dismiss as trivial or insignificant into excuses to be upset, uncooperative, childish, or stubborn.
2)A person who habitually overreacts.
3)A person who is purposefully childish with the intent of illiciting a reaction.
4)An immature over reaction in retaliation of an undesired outcome.

You get the picture, basically an asshole. Most of the time, I don’t mean to be this way, it’s usually a response to other people’s asshole behavior.

I think most of us are petty in our own ways. At work I often find myself absorbing other people’s negativity and then giving it back in petty, unwarranted comments. Life is so stressful, sometimes my capacity for stress bubbles over in pettiness. I need to really learn how to be happier and not so petty.

Here are some of the ways that pettiness can show itself:

1) Needing to get the last word

Have you ever spoken to someone or gotten into an argument and the other person always had a biting comment back? You might correct them or clarify politely and you’re met with a derisive unnecessary comment that really didn’t do much but get under your skin. With people who are petty in this way, you can almost always guarantee that there’s a biting comment around the corner, usually it’s something to put you down or or point fingers at you for some wrong doing. It looks like this:

“Marsha, can you please wash the dishes tonight. I feel so tired.”
“Of course I’ll do the dishes Jenna, it’s not like I have anything better to do than to clean up after you.”

Of course Marsha, is being a petty b*tch about washing dishes. She could have either said “yes” or “no, sorry I can’t,” but she had to give this underhanded comment that was totally unnecessary.

3) Nitpicking

Nitpicking is an obvious one, and kind of piggybacks on needing to get the last word. It’s a way of picking at someone’s flaws until they have nothing left but bareboned insecurity. People who have experienced nitpicking tend to feel very insecure around the person being petty, it often feels like they’re walking on eggshells.

I used to have a friend, honestly she was more of a frenemy, she would always make fun of little things “jokingly.” It was pervasive from what I wore, to how I ate, to what I said. She always said it in front of other people so they could get in on the “joke.” Little things like, “why are you wearing that, it’s too hot, you never know how to dress for the weather,” or “you eat too slow, everyone always has to wait on you,” or “look how forgetful Alex is”, she always needs to be reminded of when the test is.” After a while those kind of comments tend to strip you bare and leave you feeling like you’re nothing. It’s so much harder to learn to be happier, when someone is reminding you of all the ways you suck.

3) Superiority complex
I’ve seen this happen at work more so than anywhere else. Especially with bosses or more seasoned colleagues. Somehow the status of being more seasoned or a manager makes people petty as f*ck. These people are always reminding you that you are beneath them. Whether that’s objectively true or not, it doesn’t matter.

People who suffer from this type of pettiness rely on belittling you so that they always feel in control. They NEED you to feel like you’re beneath them so they can feel superior.

5. Stubbornness
I’ve been very guilty of this one. I can be intensely stubborn. ESPECIALLY when I feel like I want to have something my way. If I’m not getting my way, then I’ll go out of my way to be stubborn over the smallest thing just to give the other person some hell. Sure, I could compromise and meet in the middle, but then I’d have no leverage for what I really want. By being extra stubborn, in some ways, it gives me some wiggle room to negotiate something else. A “tit for tat” kind of deal.

This is actually a VERY immature way of negotiating and handling disagreements but who said I was mature? Being overly stubborn is a way that some petty people (me) passively can get what they want or get their revenge.

Here are the ways you can stop being petty:

1) Be the bigger person

Pride is a hard thing to swallow and at the root of all pettiness is a sense of pride. Pettiness finds a way to “one up” someone. By being a person that is above all that, it just proves you’re an emotionally mature person that doesn’t stoop to other people’s pettiness.

Trust me, I know how satisfying pettiness can be, especially when someone is being rude to you first. At the end of the day, holding your head up high and not lowering yourself to other petty peoples’ level will give you a sense of self confidence, assurance and petty-free pride.

2) Meditate

Sometimes you just need to take a step back from the situation. Meditation, prayer or whatever you want to call it on a daily basis will help calm your nerves and give you perspective on what’s important in life- and it’s definitely not pettiness. Life is about how to learn to be happier with yourself.

Next time someone gets under your skin, you’ll be able to have the calm clarity that it’s just not worth it and let their annoying-ness roll right off.

Even if you’re in the heat of the moment and someone is being totally obnoxious, it doesn’t hurt to take a few moments to breathe before giving a petty comeback. In those few seconds, you might be able to come to the conclusion that your petty comeback doesn’t do sh*t to resolve to conflict and actually adds fuel to the fire.

So take a moment, not everyone deserves your reaction, so stop being so petty.

3) Talk out your issues

Other times people might just get on your nerves and not even KNOW it, and if you don’t speak up but just jump to pettiness, you’re going to give the wrong impression. This is the way many communication issues arise. Someone says something rude and annoying, they’re unknowingly doing it and you just get triggered.

The key here is to talk it out. Mention that the behavior that triggers you is not ok and why you feel that way. Really make an effort to explain yourself. Some people will understand and stop triggering you and stop unknowingly annoying you. Others will scoff and say, “Oh, stop being so sensitive. It was only a joke.”

To those scoffing assholes, bring on the pettiness. It’s ok, as long as you gave them the warning not to trigger you. *wink*

4)Avoid your triggers

And if all else fails and you can’t get those annoying rude people to leave you alone despite telling them, you should probably just avoid them. That’s probably the easiest way on how to stop being petty and learn to be happier. Most of the time pettiness brings negativity into your life so half the time it’s not worth the effort.

Avoid the assholes and the people who are rude and crass. Avoid people who don’t respect boundaries and are just trying to get a rise out of you.

I’m a true believer in karma and bringing positive people into your life through positivity. So avoiding and cutting out people who don’t treat you the way you deserve and only bring out your ugly side sounds like a plan.

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If you like “How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier” Check out these other posts:

How To Be Successful & Be Happy

How To Care Less & Not Care About What People Think

The Power Of Positivity: Live The Good Life

Single Vs Relationship: Which Is Better?

Single vs Relationship: Good Relationship Advice
Single vs Relationship: Good Relationship Advice

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The grass is always greener on the other side. At least that’s how we always feel about it. When you’re single, you wish you were partnered up; when you’re partnered up you’re itching to be single. Why is that? Is it better to be single vs in a relationship?

A lot of people find themselves in this crossroad in life and wondering which option is better. For me, I was unknowingly a serial monogamist, always in a relationship or seeking one. But I’ve met other people who love their freedom when they’re single and are happier by their lonesome.

I’ve also been the person who felt like the grass was greener on the other side. If I was in a relationship, then I was keeping an eye out for a good reason to leave and be single. If I was single, I was looking to meet the perfect boyfriend. Honestly, this was actually very unhealthy thinking and behavior so THANK GOD I grew out of it.

So here are some good relationship advice on whether a relationship is right for you vs if the single life is your path. Of course there’s no easy answers but, for those on the fence, this list might help you make sense of it all:

Pros of Being Single

Complete Freedom

Being able to do anything you want is pretty nice. Wake up late, meet up with friends on a moments notice, spend your money as you wish. It’s actually pretty awesome. The level of independence single people have is like 100%, they don’t have to compromise a single thing.

My older sister has been single for a while and is honestly enjoying her life. She takes sailing lessons, travels to at least 3 different countries a year, drives an Audi and lives according to her terms. As far as I know, singledom doesn’t make her sad and she’s able to take things as they go.

No Drama

Not getting into arguments with your significant other is also a big plus. Relationships, no matter how good they are, can still be a source of drama. Long term relationships usually go through natural highs and lows. Going through a low point can result in arguments, fights and resentment. I’ve found that working through these problems resulted in a stronger relationship but hell! Those fights were so stressful. When you’re single, you don’t have to deal with any of it. Every day has the same emotional capacity and you don’t have to go through highs and lows to grow as a person and as a couple. Which, honestly, sometimes seems easier.

Freedom to date whoever you want!

Dating at times can be fun. The excitement of meeting someone new is freeing and totally unexpected. Will you meet the love of your life with this date or will you just have some company to chat with over wine? Either way, getting to know new potential partners can be fun. At least in the beginning. After a while, I heard it gets stale but there is always the freedom to take breaks from the dating scene. When you’re in a relationship, continuing dating is a huge no-no. Your kind of stuck dating the same person. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Not being in a bad relationship

Let’s be truthful here, not all relationships are good or healthy to be in. We’ve all heard of those horror stories of a friend living with a hateful or narcissistic partner and how impossible it was to manage or deal with them. In that situation, of course it’s so much better to be single. At times it can feel like dating and relationships are a crapshoot. Some people save themselves the hassle of bad, selfish partners by opting out and staying single and that is completely fine.

Pros of being In a relationship

There are some major pros to being in a relationship and some good relationship advice too!

Companionship

It’s easy to feel lonely when you come home to an empty apartment. Not having someone to share the details of your day can get tiresome. Of course you can fill your days with friends and hobbies but when you finally get home, you can only fill up so much time. Having that special someone to come home to can be such a relaxing feeling. It’s also good for your overall health and happiness.

The financial and emotional support of a partner

We live in a world where we’re told that the individual is what matters. And that we can get farther on our own. But I don’t believe that. Being able to share expenses with someone else is a huge benefit to having a partner. Having someone to vent to and cry on when you’re having a hard day is amazing. So for single people, they can rely on themselves but two incomes are usually better than one and having someone who truly understands you is so valuable.

Especially for women, it’s just a known fact that they earn less than men (even for the same level position)(not saying it’s right, just that this is how it is). Women who are able to find men who make a reasonable income (and marry them) are at an advantage financially, especially since sharing expenses leads to less cost per person.

A good relationship means you always have someone to do things with. A forever friend, in a way. Someone who will attend weddings with you as your plus 1, someone who will be able to go on vacation with you, someone to cheer you up when you’re down, and someone who’s always available for date night (even Netflix and Chill). Having that person in your life who can consistently do these things with you is pretty awesome, and in this way single people miss out.

Planning a family

It is way easier to plan for a family if you already have a steady partner. I would say 100% of people who want children, if they had a choice, would want to raise their children with two parents instead of a single parent household. When you’re in a positive relationship, it brings you closer to that goal of having the right situation to bring children into the world. For single people, their singledom kind of delays their ability to have children. First you need to start dating, find someone compatible that also wants children, date them for a while, then make the plan financially, emotionally, and logistically to have children. For a lot of my friends, the single life has cramped their hopes of having a child in the near future. But a lot of them are just smelling the roses and enjoying being the fun aunt or uncle.
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Overall, I can’t really say whether being single vs a relationship is better than the other. I have met a few people who just do better as a single person than they ever could in a relationship, and that’s OK. For the me, I always desired to be in a relationship and find my special someone even when I was in high school with no life experience to tell me how to be in a positive partnership. So that’s what’s worked for me. Either way you cut it, you have to know what you want and what you need for yourself.

I Hope You Liked “Single Vs Relationship: Which Is Better” Check Out My Other Posts On Relationships PlUS Good Relationship Advice!

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The Biggest Red Flags In A Relationship

What is Love?

7 Signs That He’s A Fuckboy

My Advice For New Parents & Preparing For A Baby

Preparing for a baby Advice for new parents

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Right now I have a 4 month old at home but this isn’t my first rodeo. Preparing for a baby is rough and honestly a lot of people just have no clue what to expect. You think you know, but you have NO idea. So I thought I would share my advice for new parents & new moms.

Sometimes I see a pregnant woman at work and when I tell them I’m a mother of two kids they kind of look to me hoping I can tell them what to expect when preparing for a baby. Honestly, lol, I don’t want to scare them with the truth, so I usually give them some sort of watered down answer and spin it positively. “Oh, it can get intense, but it gets easier.” Today, however, I’m going to be 100% honest with you guys: THIS SH*T IS NOT A WALK IN THE PARK. Not even for second timers. But at the same time, it’s worth it. The first year baby struggles are worth it.

I recently wrote a post on my postpartum experience and decided to expand on that on what to expect as new parents. With my first daughter, we got sooo much stuff from the baby shower it was like I was swimming in baby gear. It was also much that most of it I didn’t even get to use because the baby was growing too fast.

My first pregnancy was honestly unexpected so we were just living day to day trying to figure it all out. The second time around there were some things I wish I did to prepare for the baby.

If I could do it again here are some advice I would give for new parents preparing few a baby:

1) Rest the week before you’re due or when your body is telling you

I made the terrible mistake of working all the way up to my labor. It was 3 in the morning and I was texting my boss and my coworker that I was going into labor. On one hand, every single day of my maternity leave was used on bonding with my daughter, but after a whole pregnancy on my feet and birthing a 9lb baby, preparing for a baby, I was done!

But the fun had just begun, and taking care of a newborn is an around the clock job. A job I was physically unprepared for because I had used ALL my energy working at my job during the pregnancy, and then whatever energy I had left went towards the delivery. Afterwards, I literally felt like I was hit by a train.

It would have been more productive for me to take a few days off and rest. Then the postpartum period wouldn’t have hit me so hard.

2) Just focus on baby and yourself after the birth

Seriously. I let a few things slip during the pregnancy. I could barely get up off the couch during my 8th and 9th month. I kept saying, “As soon as I give birth, I’ll be more mobile and able to get stuff done.”

That was a huge delusion. Once I gave birth, I was physically drained from giving birth to my 9 lb. miracle. I had to nurse her around the clock too. And yet, I didn’t listen to my body and I still pushed myself to take care of my other daughter like I always do, cook, and clean the house. I was doing this LITERALLY the week after giving birth.

I listened to my mother in law who looked around my house one day with my sink full of dishes and toys strewn on the floor and said, “You know, I know you have a newborn and it’s a lot but you need to make time to clean up. A baby shouldn’t be living like this.” LOL Because she’s my mother in law, I bit my tongue on that one. Some side advice for new parents: Don’t let the inlaws parenting advice get to you.

So I doubled down on cleaning and taking care of my 6 year old, because isn’t that what mothers are supposed to do?

What I really needed to do was focus on the essentials like feeding the baby and resting whenever I could, because in the end it really did me no benefit. Straining myself and spreading myself too thin just resulted in a REALLY difficult postpartum period where I was moody, tired, depressed, anxious and paranoid.

So rest. You deserve it.

3) Get all the baby furniture and baby essentials in advance around 6-7 months.

We already had the baby furniture from our first daughter but the first time around we ordered it a bit early. I kind of just wanted the baby’s space to be settled right away. I didn’t want to worry about it at 8/9 months when my feet were swollen and I could barely stand without my back aching.

That ended up being a good decision. It made things way easier.

Around 7 months I had my baby shower and we literally were drowning in baby stuff in the apartment after that. But it was great to have everything so early. We spent some time organizing the house and decorating the baby’s room so that my first daughter could enter the world with her space already set up. We cleaned the room and prepared meticulously.

Second baby, not so much….

I ordered a few necessities on Amazon but since we already went through bringing a newborn home with our first daughter, we were a little cocky about our preparedness.

My husband scrambled the first two days after I gave birth to clean the house and get the last minute essentials. What I really needed him to do was to help me rest while the baby was fussing. Every 2 to 3 hours the hospital staff was waking me up. It went like this: take temperatures, check on the baby, bathe the baby, and wake me up in the process. I literally had no one sleep at all within the first 48 hours of giving birth. If we had prepared in advance better, he would’ve been able to be by my side and help during those crucial first few days.

4) Don’t let visitors overwhelm you

Everyone and their mother is going to want to see the new baby. And as much as you want to have everyone else meet him/her, there’s a lot to consider before you do.

First, you’re probably going to be super duper exhausted after giving birth. And if you had a c-section, then forget about it. You can barely stand up.

I also made the mistake of letting all of my and my husband’s family visit. But then I had to worry about my house looking kept, me looking half decent, and having enough food in the house, etc. It was ridiculous. Advice to new parents, don’t do that.

What I really needed was for someone to help me clean up around the house, but I was too prideful to ask for help.

It got to a point of exhaustion where I just had to say no. And honestly, I wish I started saying no sooner because I wouldn’t have had such a bad case of the baby blues if I was better rested and I wouldn’t have felt so stressed during my postpartum period.

5) Get a cozy space for nursing or bottle feeding

However, I didn’t forget to buy a boppy pillow. In my opinion, nursing pillows are the most necessary purchases to get. But I did forget how demanding nursing a baby was.

LIke OMG, some days I was nursing a full 8 hours. Holding, rocking, soothing this little ball of joy. I’m so glad I was able to build out a space that was comfortable because I was using that corner of the house ALL THE TIME.

Feedings take a majority of time with a newborn so having a place to keep a rocking chair or a nursing nook is super important.

Despite having set up this space and preparing for a baby, being hunched over a baby while nursing does a job on your back, so having your own comfortable space is a must.

6) Enjoy every day

Most importantly, enjoy every day. This is my most important advice for new parents. I blinked and my baby turned 4 months old. Every day is challenging but every day I have love in my heart for her.

The truth is that I recognize that this period in my life is fleeting. That these fertile years and years I have to be a mom to an infant and young child are slipping away with each passing day. The thought that these times will be behind me one day makes me sad.

So make the best of it. Even if things aren’t perfect, even if things aren’t easy.

Because in a moment, it’ll all be behind you and the only memories you’ll have are the pictures you took and the stories they’ll share.

Check Out My Other Posts If You Like My Advice For New Parents Preparing For A Baby.

My Unplanned Pregnancy Story

On Becoming Mother