Kari Sutton

Kari Sutton

No matter how exciting it is to be a parent the constant care of a newborn can absolutely drain you. The addition of a new baby to the family can be a huge adjustment for everyone. A whole day can be spent trying to get one thing done, which continually gets interrupted by feeds, changes and making sure they are ok. Add to that sleep deprivation, all the extra laundry as well as everything else that’s going on around you and the stress can become overwhelming.

These simple strategies will hopefully help to reduce the stress you’re feeling and ensure that your emotional wellbeing is taken care of.

Ignore confusing or unwanted advice

You are your baby’s parents and you’re the ones that decide what is best for you and them. People may give you well meaning advice, but you definitely do not have to take it up. Politely thank them and then do what you feel is right for you and your child – how you parent really is none of their business.

Take some time for you every night

Take some time for you each night, even if it is just half an hour. Binge watch your favourite TV show, read your favourite magazine, take a bath, choose whatever activity helps you relax and unwind and then do that. Your baby will pick up on your stress levels so do at least one thing every day that helps you relax.

Make time for a shower

Getting time to take a shower can almost seem impossible with a newborn, as babies love to be held. Taking a shower can make you feel much more human, so put baby in a baby seat on the floor in the bathroom where they can see you and you can see them and hop in the shower. You can sing or talk to them while you’re in there and even if they cry it will be ok. Babies do cry and they will be ok for a few minutes while you take this time for yourself.

Forget the housework

The first few months is when you need to be getting to know your baby and connecting with them. Forget about housework it can wait until there is time. If people are concerned about the dishes, laundry or dust give them a job to do. Your most important role is connecting with your baby and taking care of you, so you can be there for your baby.

Lower your expectations

It is perfectly ok not to get everything done that you had planned for the day, for you and your baby to look like a little dishevelled, and to have dishes and laundry piling up. These are the real-life situations that occur in every newborn’s house, but just don’t get reflected in social media highlight reels.

Allow people to help

If well-meaning friends or neighbours offer to help allow them to do so. Let them know exactly what you need – it could be getting groceries, sweeping the floor, or cooking some meals and then simply thank them for it when they are done.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

There will be times when you feel like the worst parent in the world because you’ve made mistakes or forgotten things when you’re stressed, anxious or just plain exhausted. But guess what so has every other parent. Please don’t be too hard on yourself, parenting is a work in progress.

As parents, we have all experienced feeling guilty, possibly on a regular basis. This can make us feel that even when we are trying our best, it’s not good enough and there is so much more we could, and should, be doing for our kids to make sure they are happy, healthy and well-adjusted.

None of us are perfect and good enough really is good enough. It’s our patterns and habitual ways of doing things that matter most – not the one-off occasions when things go a little pear-shaped.

Perfect parents and perfect kids don’t exist anywhere except on other people’s social media feeds of course, and yet we all keep judging ourselves harshly if we don’t live up to our own expectations.

Raising children is a lesson in flexibility and tolerance, learning to roll with the waves that come and give ourselves the kindness we deserve on those days. We all have bad days and that doesn’t make us bad parents.