Congratulations – you’re a new parent! Having a tiny new human in the house will no doubt change everything about how your household operates. Life with baby will usher in a whole new set of responsibilities that include feeding the baby, changing the baby, rocking the baby, and getting mini naps when you can to store up just enough energy to do it all over again. That doesn’t seem to leave a lot of time for self-care, but it’s important you try. Finding some time to tend to yourself and your relationship with your partner is paramount to your family’s success. This is only the beginning, and you’re in for a long journey. Here are some tips and advice for new parents on how to work self-care into their daily routines.
There are more than 350,000 babies born every day, according to The World Counts, so know that you are not alone. It may seem daunting, but you need to find your crew! “Identify the people you can call when you need to vent—friends who’ll give their opinion when you ask for it and keep their mouth shut when you don’t, and who would drop anything to be there for you and your family (and vice versa),” offers Lacey D. on Parents.com.
Motherly offers a list of organizations that can help you find your tribe. It doesn’t necessarily matter which group you connect with, just that you do. Finding your people, often referred to as your Mommy Tribe, will help you feel less isolated and more understood. It really does take a village, and surrounding yourself with other people going through the same thing can be incredibly helpful.
Delegate When You Can
Even if you’ve decided to go with disposable diapers, there’s a good chance baby poo will get on everything, even you. The same goes for those cutesy little baby towels – they’re liable to get trashed. The laundry will promise to pile up, the dishes will crust over with leftover food, and the yard will grow new weeds while you’re stuck in the same cycle of feeding, changing, rocking and cooing. If you’re financially able, you might consider bringing in regularly-scheduled help or hiring a one-time interior house cleaning service to get the ball rolling. Rates in Jersey City run from about $113 to $230. You might also ask around for someone to mow your lawn and take care of your landscaping. Hiring someone to help take care of those tasks you simply don’t have time for may provide wonders for your sanity. If nothing else, it’ll give you a jump start on the household chores.
PTO = Parent Timeout
Taking a “timeout” is generally a kid-focused disciplinary measure, but it works for parents too. If you’re so tired you’ve gotten yourself agitated or if you simply need a little breather, taking a mini break away from the baby can help you settle down and think through things more clearly. Jason Gaddis of RoleReboot recognizes that when we’re upset with our child, we’re often the ones who are triggered. By taking the space to recognize what actually triggers us as parents, we’re able to model self-love, self-respect, and self-knowledge over time, and teach children that it’s OK to honor ourselves by setting boundaries. Utilize those precious few minutes that bouncy seat affords, and take that time to breathe deeply and stretch yourself out.
The best advice for new parents? Go easy on yourself. A sink full of dishes or a yard with weeds does not make you a bad parent. As The Heart of Simple says, “Those things can wait… snuggle with your little one as much as you like.”
Author Julia Merrill