Our advice for new parents is to always reach out for help when you need it. Becoming a parent is one of the best moments (if not the best moment) in your life, but pregnancy and babyhood are never without struggles.
Worse still, you might even find judgment and stigma when you need help the most. Whether you feel enormous pressure to get back to work, or taking care of a newborn isn’t the amazing experience you’d dreamed it would be, it can be hard to open up.
But here at The Monkey Mashup, we’re here to tell you that struggling with parenthood is normal and you’re not the only one. In this article, you can find the top 10 struggles that new parents face (you’ll be familiar with quite a few) plus our best advice for new parents.
Welcome to a no-judgment zone to talk about your struggles and find some solutions!
Do any of these sound familiar? These are the top ten struggles new parents need help with.
One of the big struggles that new parents find is a lack of sleep. Whether it’s your baby keeping you up, or worries and stress, a lack of sleep can have a huge impact on your quality of life and mental health. Sleep problems can even increase your risk of developing a mental illness.
You need sleep to recover your strength and be a great parent. How can you take care of others if you aren’t also taking care of yourself first? Struggling to find a balance or get your kids into a regular sleeping pattern is something a lot of parents face. Check out our article on getting more sleep.
It’s not always sunshine and rainbows! Family conflicts can be a huge source of stress for new parents.
It feels like everyone has advice for new parents, whether you ask for it or not. Your parents might intervene too much (or not enough), your siblings might be causing trouble, or if this isn’t your first rodeo there may be a conflict between you and your firstborn.
Every family has disagreements and arguments from time to time, but a conflict within the family when you’re raising a new baby takes the struggle to a new level. Everyone feels the tension, including your newborn.
Now you’re a mom or dad, does your identity change? How you see yourself and how others see you, shifts when you become a parent.
Many new parents struggle with their new role. Suddenly, your needs are no longer the top priority - everything centers around the bundle of life you brought into this world. So, it’s no surprise that many people struggle to adapt to the change.
That doesn’t make you a bad parent, it just makes you human! The responsibility you now have on your shoulders, plus the way it has turned your life upside down, is a lot to deal with.
For some, parenthood is a full-time job that they relish. But for others, there’s a desire to go back to work and continue a career. There’s no right or wrong answer here - both set a great example for your kids.
But that doesn’t change the fact that there is a lot of pressure around this area. Maybe it’s financial pressure, or pressure from your partner and family to do what they ‘think’ is right. You might even be facing pressure from your workplace if they’re not very empathetic to new parents and want you to resume as normal. Join The Monkey Mashup mailing list to be notified when we add job listings.
Regardless of whether you’re always involved with the community or prefer the quiet life, there’s still a lot of pressure on new parents from society in general. There are those unspoken rules and sideways glances that seem to follow you wherever you go. Trying to meet society’s ideal of what a “good parent” acts and looks like, will add a lot of unneeded pressure.
Society places a lot of pressure on us to be that stereotypical “perfect” family. Trying to please everyone just isn’t going to work.
Social media can be a great way to chat with other parents and share those cute baby pics… but it can quickly go from being inclusive to isolating. Maintaining social media or just dealing with the emotions it provokes, is a real struggle for many new parents.
There’s the pressure to present the perfect family image, to compete with the neighbors. And then there are all the statuses and group messages you need to find time to catch up on. Finally, when you do find 5 minutes spare to scroll through Facebook, it can be very disheartening to see the adventures and fun kid-free activities your friends have been up to.
It can leave you feeling left out and left behind.
“Sally’s mom only cooks with organic veg she buys from the farmer’s market.” Well, that’s great for Sally but not all parents have the time.
A huge struggle for many parents, new and experienced, is managing time. Struggling to find the time to keep the house clean, prep all the meals, catch up on work, call your relatives, get the kids to school on time… it’s a lot to deal with.
There’s a stigma when you let some things slide, like the housework or mowing the lawn, but being a parent often means struggling with time. And when you do have an evening to yourself, it’s hard not to feel guilty for having a little me time!
You need to prioritize or accept a helping hand now and then - there’s nothing wrong with that.
Keeping the romance alive is a struggle for many couples - adding kids to the mix is both a blessing and curse for romance! Even though you both love each other and your kids so dearly, that doesn’t prevent struggles, conflict, and fights from happening. It may even be the root of your worst disagreements. Working through them is more important now than ever.
If you’re a single mom or dad, having a kid can sometimes feel like the end of your dating or social life too.
Maybe you had an idea of what being a parent would be like… but the transition to parenthood doesn’t always go according to plan. Life is full of curveballs ready to surprise you when you least expect it.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much advice for new parents you absorb during your pregnancy. When your baby has finally arrived and everything should be picture perfect, you might not feel totally over the moon. Perhaps you’re struggling with postpartum depression, your beautiful baby was born with medical conditions, or you’re just feeling overwhelmed by it all.
Pregnancy and babyhood are full of wonderful moments that you’ll never forget, but it’s also a huge unknown. Many parents feel completely unqualified for the job and alone with their struggles.
Whether you feel like you’re constantly failing or just don’t have the confidence to be the amazing mommy your kids deserve, it’s a struggle to stay positive.
If this sounds like you, then you should know - you’re not alone. So many parents feel inadequate, but with a little help and someone to talk to, you’ll get back on track.
You might be feeling daunted and overwhelmed before you even reach parenthood. During your pregnancy, there’s a lot to think about, plan for, and worry over (especially if you’ve just read about all those struggles to come!) and that’s normal too.
But there is so much help out there if you only reach out. Don’t stay in the dark.
If you tend to overthink things and get carried away, researching online might not be the best place for you. The last thing we want is to spiral and get caught up in worst-case scenario stories!
Instead, talking to professionals and meeting up with other parents to chat is a great way to feel reassured and confident. Consider:
Your life is busy, complicated, and likely stressful. That’s why we are all about helping parents get through their struggles in a way that’s convenient for them. But before we delve into all the resources we’ve compiled to advise new parents, here are three things we wish we could whisper in the ear of every new parent!
Every parent faces struggles and they’re all different. We all have a variety of challenges in our paths that we must face. No one is perfect, despite what their social media says.
But the key is, you aren’t alone with your struggles. Many parents are going through similar trials and if you just reach out, you’ll find a whole community ready to support you and swap war stories!
Parenthood is often referred to as “the meaning of life” and your “purpose” but not every day is going to be enjoyable. That’s just real life. Maybe the dishwasher breaks and you don’t have time to get a healthy breakfast together. Or your toddler’s special bowl, the only bowl they’ll eat out of, has mysteriously vanished. You’ll be pulling your hair out before it’s even 9 am!
Bad days happen and that’s not something to be ashamed of.
Our advice is to go a little easier on yourself, don’t measure and judge yourself based on what others are doing… or what you believe the “perfect parents” should be like. Instead, find what works for you. Read books and listen to advice, but ultimately make decisions that work for your family.
The recommended routines aren’t working for you? Ditch them. And when a bad day happens, take it one step at a time.
As much as you’d like to be, you aren’t a superhero. Sometimes you need help, and there’s absolutely no shame in accepting it. Whether you need extra support from family and friends, or professional help to solve complex issues, all you need to do is ask.
Taking a break for your own health and self-care is incredibly important.
When you make that connection with a counselor, close friend, or fellow parent, everything will feel so much better. Just opening up, listening to advice, talking through your troubles, and discovering that you’re not alone will make a world of difference.
To help you get there, here are some of our best resources at The Monkey Mashup.
These are classes where you can chat with other parents in similar circumstances (virtually or locally) and be guided by a professional.
There’s sometimes a stigma surrounding parenting counseling and therapy, but it can be extremely valuable. It’s a chance to receive advice from a professional in a no-judgment zone.
From counseling for single mothers to support groups of single parents, there is a lot of help for you out there. We know that your time is unbelievably strained and valuable, so there are plenty of flexible solutions.
The last helpful resources to provide advice for new parents come from parent tribes! These are dedicated groups of parents who join a chat, create events and meetups, and support each other however they can.
It’s a chance to let go of your stress, bond over common troubles, celebrate your parenting achievements (no matter how small), and enjoy the amazing experience that parenthood can be!