By Kristen Kardos
With the Kidoinfo Evening of “Balancing Motherhood” just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic…eager to hear what other women will say. I find it so helpful to discuss issues with other women going through the same things (hence the birth of Rhode Island New Moms Connection); I love exchanging ideas and learning from others. Feeling so connected to this topic, I thought I’d share some ideas that I discuss with women in new moms groups…strategies that may help new moms find some balance.
Schedule YOU Time
I really encourage women to carve out time for themselves — whether it be every day or every week — from the early days of motherhood and beyond. In some families, partners come home from work and give mom a break while she showers or cooks dinner. In others, partners might hold and comfort babies while moms sleep for a couple of hours earlier in the evening (ie. 8-11pm). Unfortunately, not all partners are available during the week. Some moms might get their break on Saturday mornings when partner takes baby out for coffee and breakfast (babies typically love car rides & walks!)…returning with treats for mom. Others, especially those who are without the support of a partner or family, might join a gym with day care or hire a mother’s helper. It’s important to note that the onset of postpartum depression can occur anytime within the first year of baby’s life. Creating space for yourself can really keep you healthy and reduce feelings of overwhelm and depression.
Schedule Date Nights
It can be so difficult to “make time” for one another, but it is a MUST. A healthy relationship with your partner not only sets a good example for your children, but it adds so much to one’s personal happiness. Dates are critical to a healthy relationship. Whether it be a walk on the beach or dinner in the city, getting out of the house and putting conversations about baby on hold allow the couple to reconnect as romantic partners as opposed to just parents. If you’re not able to get out together, create a new energy at home by turning off the tv and computer, turning up the music, and enjoying a nice meal together (after baby has gone to bed) ~ even if it’s take out J.
Let go of your expectations. Accept that your laundry might pile up (both dirty and clean) and that is ok! Forgive yourself for not being able to get those thank you notes out as quickly as you’d like or for forgetting to call someone back. You life is busier; you’re operating on much less sleep; and your little love has stolen much of your attention. While letting go is hard, it’s imperative. If you expect to keep up with everything as well as you did before baby arrived, you will find yourself frustrated. And, if money permits, consider hiring someone to clean your house, or mow the lawn…so you and partner have more time to enjoy this new family.
Finally, remember to breathe. Take short breaks and slow things down. Have a cup a tea; chat with a friend; sit outside; take a walk; nap with your baby. Remind yourself on hard days that “this too shall pass.” Embrace each new day and the wondrous possibilities it brings.
And while it feels a lot more like juggling than balancing, especially in those early months of new motherhood, know you are not alone. You have a challenging job; you are doing the best you can; and you should be proud of yourself!
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Give yourself some love.