Whether you’re pregnant, just gave birth, or you have a rambunctious baby, many mothers sacrifice their well-being for their children. While this is normal, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Over the long-term, jeopardizing your needs can result in serious mental health problems- for you and the rest of your family.
Be Realistic With Your Expectations
Many women expect to master motherhood. They assume they’ll dress their babies in perfectly coordinated houses, maintain their personal social lives, and keep the house cleaned at all times. But that’s just not the reality for most people.
Remember that it’s okay to be human. You don’t need to do everything perfectly. Focus your attention on what matters. We promise nobody is going to care if dishes are still soaking in the sink or if your baby has a stain on her onesie!
Ask For Direct Help
If anyone offers to help you, take them up on this offer! And be specific. Yes, they can grab dinner for you. Yes, they can hold the baby while you take a much-needed nap. Sure, they can take out the trash.
Most people want to help new moms. However, they don’t usually know what to do, so they do what they think is best. That said, you know what you need more than anyone else. Don’t be afraid to be explicit with people- they want to support you.
Aim To Stick To A Routine (But Also Be Flexible With It)
In a perfect world, we’d be able to predict every baby nap and feed. We’d be able to structure our entire days around these little lives. But let’s be real. Everything feels erratic in the beginning, especially as you’re learning all your child’s cues.
With that in mind, it’s still possible to follow some sort of structure. Can you make it a habit to sit down with your spouse for breakfast? What about a brief afternoon walk with the baby snoozing in the carrier? How about a nightly bath where you sing your favorite lullabies.
Routines also benefit babies. Over time, they start to make associations to specific patterns. The earlier you start, the earlier they can create those neural pathways!
Consider Seeking Professional Help
Many people dismiss postpartum depression or anxiety as “baby blues.” While some symptoms disappear over time, some can become progressively worse. Undiagnosed mental illness can impact both you and your child’s emotional well-being.
Therapy offers you a safe place to explore your feelings. You won’t be judged or discarded for your experiences. Instead, you’ll receive helpful coping skills that will support you in navigating stress.
Seek Joy From The Little Milestones
Parenting can be challenging and taxing at all stages. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s also okay to feel sad, angry, or uncertain.
But whether it’s that first smile, first time eating a new food, or simply a favorite photo in your matching Mommy & Me dress (click here for our favorites), each day will bring new joys. At this stage, you are your child’s most favorite toy in the entire world. You are what gives them life and love!