Being a new mom is both exhilarating and exhausting. There are soaring highs and spiralling lows. Don’t lose heart. New moms the world over get through this time in their lives with a new baby, and you will, too.
Parenting experts and real moms share how they cope with new mom stresses when it all seems like it’s becoming too much to handle.
Tabitha is studying full-time to become a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). She and her partner, Nick, are proud parents to Ryker (6) and Vienna (3).
Rachel wakes up at 4 am to co-host a popular radio morning show. She and her husband, Jeremy, have two daughters: Julia (6) and Kendall (2).
Katie, mom to Edie (5), is earning her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at Western University.
Step away for a moment and remind yourself it’s a stage
Tabitha, mom to Ryker (5) and Vienna (3), agrees. “It’s ok to step away for a minute if you need a breather. I always remind myself that it’s just a stage, and it will pass.”
Use a white noise maker to help baby sleep
Using a white noise maker can help mask distractions while baby falls asleep. I like the portable Mybaby Deep Sleep SoundSpa Baby Monitor by HoMedics because it has several soothing nature tones, including heartbeat and ocean. The auto-off timer can be set to 30, 60 or 90 minutes. It includes an AC adapter, but can also be powered by 4 AAA batteries (not included).
Recognize your signs of stress and reach out for help
Health Canada’s tip sheet for handling parental stress notes the first step is to recognize the symptoms. Do you get angry when stressed? Sad? Turn to alcohol or other potentially harmful coping tools? Set a positive example for your child by reaching out for help, whether it’s to a counselor or a trusted friend.
Tell friends/family to check first (and not just pop by)
Everyone wants to see your new baby, but new moms must be firm about surprise visits. Ask everyone to text or call first to see if it’s a good time.
Pay for conveniences
Rachel, mom to Julia (6) and Kendall (2), works full-time and so does her husband. They buy conveniences to give them both a break. “For my own sanity, we pay for a cleaning lady, groceries online, car detailing and other things. If it’s going to save me time and stress, I find the money (and save in other areas) to pay for it.”
Use a voice-activated smart home assistant
Keep your hands free to tend to baby with the help of a voice-activated smart home assistant. I love my Google Home Mini Speaker because it helps me make lists and gives me hands-free control of music and podcasts.
This tiny smart home assistant can also help you find answers to motherhood’s important questions, such as, “Is it normal to feel like I don’t know what I’m doing?”
Answer: It’s normal!
In an article for the TODAY show titled 7 Tricks to Help Stressed Moms Chill Out, educational psychologist and parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba says exercise burns off stress and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a walk, a bike ride or a dance-off. “A ten-minute spontaneous dance session with your kids is a great tension reliever whether the music is a nursery rhyme or Coldplay,” states Dr. Borba.
If you’re cramped for space but plan on going for walks to help burn off stress, the 3Dmini Convenience Stroller by Summer Infant might be right for you. It features a full-size seat, a padded 5-point safety harness and a canopy with pop-out sun visor. This budget-friendly model is designed to be lightweight (11 pounds) and collapses for easier storage.
Plan your days and journal
Single mom Katie found preparation was key when her daughter, Edie (5), was first born. “If I had a plan each day, it helped to alleviate my stress. It’s difficult to go from working in a routine to hanging with a baby day in and day out,” she says. “I also began writing a journal to my daughter that reflected my love for her, the transition I was facing becoming a mother and her milestones/personality.”
Jotting down a few highlights of the day in a notebook like the Large Fashion Bound Journal by Designworks INK may help organize your thoughts. You could share it with your child when they get older, or just keep it for yourself as a reminder of all you went through as a new mom.
Take little breaks, find a parenting buddy and ditch the guilt
In this article from Global News, parenting expert and author Ann Douglas says it’s important for parents to avoid burnout, so it’s essential to take breaks, even if only for a few minutes. Douglas recommends making friends with another mom who has a similar dynamic. That way you can take turns at childcare to give each other a night out with a spouse or a day to run errands on your own (so you have time to replenish your coffee supply that always seems to be running out). In her own parenting article for the CBC, Douglas says relieving yourself of guilt is vital to being a good parent. She also reminds moms that self-care is “not selfish, it’s preservation”. You need to take care of yourself and there’s no need to feel guilty about it!
Marley coffee, like the One Love Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Medium Roast, is delicious! A common complaint about K-Cups is that they’re bad for the environment. Not anymore—at least not all of them! Several companies, such as Marley (the brand of the late Bob Marley), produce recyclable or compostable coffee pods.
Let go of perfection and don’t compare yourself to other new moms
Other themes that arose with the new moms I spoke to were letting go of perfection, dealing with unwanted advice and avoiding the temptation to compare yourself to other moms.
Take help when offered and smile politely at advice instead of getting mad
Katie put it best: “Go with your intuition and don’t worry about what others think. You are the child’s mom and know what’s best. Take help when it is offered, as you can’t do it all, and be prepared that EVERYONE knows everything about parenting! Just smile politely.”
You may feel like you’re in a fog most days, with too little sleep and lots of new demands that go hand in hand with having a new baby. Hang in there. Soon enough, new mom stresses will start to fade, and wailing will turn to giggling and gummy grins.
You’ve got this!