27 Sep When Mommy Needs a Break
Perhaps you are in a similar situation as myself: I am a new mom with a very small support system when it comes to people who can help me look after my baby. Both sets of grandparents are in another province and most of my friends work during the day. As a result, this mommy is on duty all the time (except for the two hours in the evening when hubby is home, before Alex goes to sleep!) It is exhausting, even though I love my baby with every bit of my body! I feel very guilty about this, feeling I need a break from my baby, but I have found that after I have had some time alone to ‘re-group’ all my crazy thoughts and just breathe, I cannot wait to be with my baby again. So, if your help is lacking, here are a few things you might want to do to ‘up’ your baby support system
If The Budget Allows
Certain gyms have a babysitting service with professional and trained caretakers where you can leave your baby for up to two hours. You don’t even have to exercise – you can just have a coffee for an hour while a professional caretaker is looking after your baby. I do a yoga class and 20 minutes of cardio (and a quick coffee to end it off) three times a week. This is truly me-time. Seeing a professional therapist once every second week has been very helpful. After chatting to a therapist about not understanding why I cannot be happy when I have such a lovely, healthy baby, she helped me to see where I had to make some changes in my life. Besides being very insightful, these sessions have become an hourly break and ‘breathing space’. I schedule my appointments for my husband’s lunch hour every second week, so that hubby can look after Alex – in that way, I don’t have the stress of asking people to look after my baby.
If The Budget is Tight
When it comes to those evenings by which time you feel depleted, make sure you start making food once hubby gets home – don’t try to have supper ready the moment hubby steps through the door, as this means you had to manage making supper together with looking after baby. Have a little snack ready for hubby once he gets home (how about some banana bread? It’s so easy to make!), then ask hubby to look after your little one while you make food. In this way, making supper can be a bit of me-time. Get baby in a routine of taking a daily afternoon nap. There might be some resistance from your little one at the beginning, but once you have your baby in the habit of taking a nap at more or less the same time every afternoon, it will mean an afternoon nap or some time to cruise the net for an hour to two hours every afternoon. I put Alex in his cot with milk, a ‘blankie’ and a dummy and we have now created a routine where he sleeps every afternoon. If nothing seems to work out for you with regards to having some me-time, how about putting your baby in the pram and heading outdoors? Shopping centres can become boring to your baby, as he sees people and objects every day. Seeing trees, flowers, the road and hearing new sounds seem to fascinate babies, occupying and entertaining them without you having to put in any effort. For me, pram-time outside is truly me-time. I just focus on my breathing while Alex is looking around with big eyes! Then, lastly, and the most important thing I have learned: stop performing with or for your baby… When people are visiting, or you are visiting in-laws, you constantly feel you have to ‘jump in’ and comfort baby the moment he or she starts crying – what would they think if you leave baby crying for 30 seconds? And of course they will jump right in, picking up your baby, making you feel like the worst mother alive. Forget what they think – it’s all about what happens daily with you and baby when no one else is around. He or she knows the love you give at home; he or she knows your face, your presence… what the rest thinks, is their problem! Also stop constantly performing for your baby to make him like you. You are his only mother and he will like and love you without you exhausting yourself for his love. May you find the courage and the peace within yourself to allow yourself some me-time. Don’t be a martyr and refuse to ever ‘step away from’ your baby. Every bit of love and care you allow to flow into yourself you will be able to give back to your baby.