When you’re a new parent, a lot of different things are going through your head. You’re worried about feeding the baby, changing the baby, and basically all things baby related. On top of that you’re juggling work, family, friends, and other obligations. It seems like new parents spend time thinking of everyone else except for themselves. Some new parents may feel bad for worrying about their looks, their happiness, and their stress levels; others may think they’re being downright selfish for focusing on themselves when they have a new baby.
New parents need to remember that it’s okay to still think about themselves, and that the best parent is one that is happy and healthy. If you have a newborn in the house, or are about to have your baby, remember to keep these things in mind.
Relax your standards
There’s an old joke that says “I was a better parent before I had children of my own”, and that joke rings true for a lot of new parents. Before the baby came, you thought that you would be able to go back to work in 6 weeks, design and decorate the baby’s room by yourself, and make all of your baby food from scratch in the kitchen. Now that the baby is here you feel like you need more time off, you’re fine with getting décor items from Babies R Us, and you’re buying baby food at Wal-Mart. Don’t feel the need to be the Martha Stewart of parenthood, and just do what you can to care for yourself and your baby.
It’s okay to say no
Your in-laws want to come over to see the baby for the 3rd time this week and all you want to do is relax at home. One of your co-workers insists on giving you stacks of newborn diapers even though your child barely fits in them. Many new parents feel obligated to give their friends and family access to the new baby and themselves at all times, but there’s nothing wrong with saying “not today”. If you don’t feel like doing something don’t force yourself to do it, and feel free to turn down stacks of baby supplies when you already have more than you could ever use.
Don’t be afraid to stand your ground
When you ask your friends to wash their hands before they hold the baby, they insist that you’re overreacting about germs. You tell your mother-in-law that the baby was fed a half hour ago, but she insists that she feeds them now. Nothing attracts unsolicited advice like a newborn, and it’s okay for mom and dad to ask their guests to stick to the rules they set. Always remember that your friends and family members mean well, but that ultimately you decide what’s best for your child.
Take time for yourself
Your baby is the most important thing in your life right now, but you can’t forget that you have a life outside of your baby. Feel free to call your friends just to chat, set up a date night, or take some time to run a few errands by yourself. Caring for a new baby can be stressful, and it’s perfectly natural (and encouraged) for parents to take time to do activities they enjoy. Sometimes a brisk walk around your block and time to clear your head is all you need to feel better.