Being a parent is exciting, but it comes with feeling overwhelmed and needing more time for yourself. This is true for experienced parents, but new parents feel the effects more. Although it seems impossible, remember that getting some time to yourself and self-care is as important as caring for the baby. Spending time alone without the baby does not mean you are selfish or irresponsible. It is a building block toward being better for yourself and your young one. Here are a few tips to help you manage your time after having a baby.
Make To-Do Lists
It might sound cliché, but taking time out to plan and schedule your daily activities is important. This helps you take care of everything that needs to, in order of importance, giving you time to yourself. When making your schedule, let your partner in so they can participate in some activities without ruining the schedule.
Know What Triggers You
Pregnancy is a difficult and draining period affected by a great imbalance in hormones and emotions. The first few months of having a newborn are also very stressful, with limited sleep. You are mostly tired and sleepy. Any slight trigger might get a solid reception and reaction that might pour out to innocent people like the baby. Knowing your triggers helps you stay away from them and stay happier, so you can feel more like your old self.
Ask For Help from Family and Friends
Parenting can be exhausting, especially in the first few months after giving birth. First-time parents spend long hours awake at night tending to crying babies, changing diapers, and learning how to take care of the baby that they have no time to spend with family and friends. When you are almost at your boiling point, you can ask a trusted family member or friend to help with the baby so that you have some time to yourself. You can also stick around to have a conversation while they take care of the baby.
Get the Baby a Nanny
If you struggle to get time to yourself and take care of your mental health, consider getting a nanny to help you take care of the baby. You can use Leadar to find a nanny by location if you don’t already have one. A babysitter comes in handy, especially in cases of single parents who feel like they are always on the clock and overwhelmed. The babysitter does not have to be full-time. If it is an option, get one to help you out just a few hours a day.
Make Chores a Family Responsibility
It might not be possible to get infants to help out with the family chores. However, experienced parents can involve their older kids with simple chores, such as organizing and cleaning different rooms. Children view chores as an interesting way to practice being competent and responsible. Depending on the child’s age, you can ask them to help pick up their toys before bedtime or to clear the table after a meal. You can also divide house chores between you and your partner. This will scale back the number of undone chores, helping you save time to do something for yourself.
Be with the Kids
Instead of having your life different from the baby, why don’t you consider merging the two? It is only normal to think of children as just another family member instead of building a wall and not letting them into yours. Take your time to have fun with the children during your free time. Spending quality time with them makes you feel refreshed and connected.
Reset Your Sleep Routines
Newborn babies do not have a set sleeping schedule. They are mostly awake at night and asleep at night. Others instinctively wake up when the parent does. Depending on your duties for the day, it is important to get some sleep when the baby takes a nap so that you feel rejuvenated enough when the baby wakes up. When your baby gets a regular sleep schedule, set the alarm to get up at least an hour before he is awake so you can carve out some alone time.
Change Your Career
Having a baby is a big game changer, especially for the mother who might need more than the normal maternity leave days to nurse and take better care of the baby. If the parents are not granted maternity leave, are stressed at work, or work is eating away time that would have otherwise been spent with the kids, considering a career change is worth it. You can get a better time balance by working from home or getting a hybrid job that allows you to spend more time at home than at the office. Before deciding on a career change, start by talking to your boss and requesting flexible hours or redistribution of your job duties to free up more time.
Get Time-Saving Meals
At times when you have time all to yourself, it is easy to make a month’s worth of hearty meals that take hours to prepare. After having a baby, working through the busy stretches gets harder, and sometimes, it is almost impossible to prepare a meal. If your partner is not available to help with preparing meals, you can come up with different menus of simple meals that you can prepare in bulk and freeze up when needed.
Make Pacts with Other Parents
Make deals with other trusted parents to take turns helping care for the children. Playdates or similar setups can be stressful if you are doing it with strangers. If your friends have children too, you can all commit to making the pacts regular affairs. You can use this time to catch up with friends and exchange ideas on parenthood.
Freeing up some time is healthy as it helps you not get lost in parenthood as you adjust to your new role. When you can set time aside, fill it with something that genuinely recharges and positively impacts you. This does not mean you should not have fun in your freed-up time. Take a shower, meditate, read a book, exercise, or listen to a podcast to unwind.