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Like most things in life, parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual, and the thought of being in charge of a new life is extremely intimidating.

While becoming a new parent can be exciting, there’s no shortage of people who love to give you advice about their experience. However, to help cut through the noise, we’ve asked fellow Aussie parents to share some nuggets of wisdom to help give a different perspective of this new life stage.

Admittedly, if they could do it over again, they’d do things slightly differently.

No one knows what they’re doing (really)

“Being a parent is like a game of improv, as you’re constantly making it up as you go. No matter how many books you’ve read or parenting podcasts you’ve listened to, nothing can adequately prepare you.

It’s kind of like driving a car. It doesn’t matter how times you’ve been a backseat driver; until you’re behind the steering wheel, it’s a whole new experience. However, it’s comforting to know your peers don’t know what they’re doing either as you’re bound to make mistakes constantly. I wish I had known this sooner as it would’ve alleviated so much pressure.” – Lily

Learn how to cook, apart from just making the classic cheese toastie

“This may have gotten me through uni days, toasties are not going to cut it anymore. It’s essential to fuel both yourself and your family with proper food. I was never a great cook, but to help me get excited about food prep, I began investing in some quality kitchen appliances and started taking cooking lessons.

Start by mastering a few good dishes and gradually build up your repertoire. As a new parent, you’re often fatigued and rundown, so it’s amazing how good food can drastically help change your mood and energy levels. But, it’s definitely a process because truth be told, in the early days, my diet consisted of two-minute noodles and canned tuna.” – Hunter

Make sure you have the right kit

“I wish we had a better idea of which gadgets were really necessary and which were not. We love our bottle maker and bottle steriliser with a drying feature. Various other gadgets such as the steriliser that doesn’t dry them aren’t as good.” – Keith

Don’t compare yourself to the “mums/dads of Instagram”

“I still struggle with this today, but I try to avoid it by staying off socials as much as possible. There are so many pages out there purely showing the high reel of being a parent. It’s almost like watching parenting with a filter as it’s primarily glamorised and unattainable – much like most things on social media. Try to limit your time on Instagram, as it’s almost impossible not to compare yourself to everyone else.

While it’s great to draw inspiration from parents online, many don’t show the behind the scenes reel and the full extent of their experience. Even picture-perfect parents tear their hair out once in a while.” – Diya

Take time for yourself

“As a new parent, you can no longer be selfish as you have to prioritise your child’s needs, but equally, you need to set aside some downtime for yourself. Make sure you allow moments for restoration and indulge every once in a while, as it’ll make you a more engaged parent and partner.

When I first had my baby, I spent all my time solely focused on her that I forgot to invest in myself; I was spreading myself way too thin. Find the time for dinner with friends or a pasta and wine night, because you deserve it.” – Selena

Be fiscally responsible

“Being savvy with your money is incredibly important. Not only for the present moment but saving and investing in your child’s future is crucial. Growing up, I was never great at saving and while you’re young, you have no other responsibilities, so saving is never at the forefront, at least for me. However, once you have a child, it’s easy to break the bank and fall short, even at the best of times.

You can start small, maybe by reading The Barefoot Investor or creating a separate bank account; there are small steps you can implement to prevent you from blowing your budget. However, it’s one thing to budget, but it’s another thing to make smart investments. Plan for the future and you’ll be eternally grateful.” – Riley

And on that note, luckily, there are some great companies like CareSuper that actually waive insurance fees during parental leave (if eligible), so that’s comforting for all the new or soon to be parents out there.

The information provided in this article is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances or objectives. You should consider your own investment objectives, financial situation and needs and read the appropriate product disclosure statement and target market determination before making an investment decision. You may also wish to consult a licensed financial adviser.
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