Stress Management Tips for New Parents
Being a new mommy or daddy is exciting and fun, but it can also be extremely stressful. Not only are you learning new things about parenting every day, and likely will be for the rest of your life, but there are diapers, naps, crying, and feedings.
The stress that comes with parenting is completely normal. However, it is not healthy to raise a child when you are suffering from overwhelming anxiety that affects your ability to function. Nowadays, it is easier than ever before to speak with a therapist with a busy parenting schedule. You can find a therapist today from the comfort of your home at BetterHelp.
Common Causes of Parenting Stress
Stressors can vary from person to person, but there is research that suggests that there are some common factors that often contribute to the stress levels of new mothers and fathers.
Time, or really the lack of time, can be a huge factor for stress. Taking care of a child takes a lot of time and there are still all the other things that need to be done like household chores and work. This does not always leave much alone time even though that is important too.
Finances can also be impacted by the birth of a baby. Someone has to take care of the baby which may mean less work or could mean that you are paying for daycare or a nanny. Also, children require toys, food, shelter, cribs, clothes, diapers, and more.
Having a baby often awakens instinctual feelings in parents because they are responsible for the baby’s welfare. This may cause mothers to believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is, and it could scare us more than it should when our baby trips or falls. This is a feeling that will likely last until the child is no longer a child.
As parents, we often doubt our decisions and caring abilities. Every child is different and there is no handbook for the correct parenting methods. Parents may rethink their previous decisions or strive to do things differently in the future.
Take Care of Yourself
Caring for a baby or child can take up most of your resources, but you also need to take care of yourself. You should try your best to eat regular meals made up of nutritious options. Try your best to sleep anytime your baby is sleeping.
You can also try to avoid caffeine because it can cause anxiety and make you lose sleep. Even if you feel like it gives you the energy to take care of your little one, avoiding it may provide you with more energy. All of these little things can add up to contribute to higher stress and anxiety levels.
The planning of how you will handle everything should begin before the baby arrives, but it is still never too late. You need to set schedules for naps, bedtimes, feeding times, and more. However, remember that you will have to be flexible with these times because babies sometimes just do their own thing. You may also want to set rules and times for visiting. Sure, you probably want your baby to see their grandparents or friends, but not every time or day is great for that purpose.
Communication is important for any relationship to work and this is especially true when a baby is thrown into the mix. It is important to communicate to everyone in your life about your feelings and needs. You especially need to talk with your partner.
Both you and your partner are probably tired, stress, and anxious and likely irritable as well. However, it is important to discuss the things that you need from each other. Take turns giving each other alone time or nap time if possible. You need to talk about your financial situation.
However, all the talk should not be about the child. You should also talk to each other about lighthearted things and share laughs together. Just doing some enjoyable things and talking about topics unrelated to parenting can take the load off and provide you with a mood boost.
Do Not Expect Perfection
Although you surely want to be the best mom or dad that you can be, this does not mean that you will ever be the perfect parent. Mistakes happen and you cannot expect to do everything the way it should be and even if you do the things that you think are right does not mean that they actually are. Try to be the best parent that you can be while still realizing that you cannot be perfect.
This imperfection can also carry to household chores. With a child you may not always have the time to tidy up the house. This is okay. You do not have to fold the laundry everyday or unload the dishwasher every night. As long as the home is comfortable and not conducive to pests or illness, it will all be okay.
A lot of times, parents will forget that they should actually leave the house occasionally. This does not mean that your daily commute to work is enough. Try to take your baby for a walk or out in the yard to play. This can go a long way towards reducing stress and towards a strong relationship with your child.
There is no way to completely remove the stress that you feel when raising a child. However, just taking care of yourself and being flexible can help out a lot. You also need to communicate your needs with your partner. However, if you are suffering from constant anxiety, then you may also benefit from speaking with a mental health professional.