Babies and children learn from the best, you! Which means the first and most important thing you can do for your child is feel calm and relaxed. How you feel in turn reflects on how well you will cope. It really is that simple. I am not saying this to be one of those annoying people who do not understand how hard and stressful it is being a parent - believe me, I have days where I feel like I need to lock myself in a cupboard for a few hours. But it's a lesson so many people just have never been taught. So here I am, as always, to teach and encourage and guide you.
A relaxed parent makes in turn a relaxed baby. When a baby is born, they are not developmentally mature for life in the big bad world. One of the biggest parts that is very immature to a baby is their emotions and how to handle them. So they will look to you, to figure out how to handle emotions such as fear, anger and separation. Reassurances from a parent, will in turn give baby the knowledge that everything is okay, no need to panic or worry. When a parent is calm, they will send out happy vibes to baby, will smile at baby, use softer voices and have a slower pace for everything. When a parent is stressed out, they are less likely to smile, be rushing to get things done and use short sharp language. I know which environment I would rather be in! That all being said, we all have crap days. I am not saying you need to be Mary blinking Poppins all day long but I would say aim for more calmer times than stressed times.
Shower Daily - might sound insane (especially if you are yet to have a baby) but it's important for 5 minutes to yourself and everyone feels better after a shower.
Eat meals, no snacking on chocolate all day long.. Invest in some Tesco's ready meals if you have to, the rubbish collection team won't tell on you!
Sleep - you are not going to be getting much sleep in the first few weeks, so when baby goes back to sleep - catch 20 minutes yourself once or twice a day - will help masses.
Find a cupboard - I use the downstairs loo, but whatever works for you. When you feel like you may be on the verge of screaming - lie baby down in a safe place and walk away for 5 minutes. Baby is better crying for 5 minutes in a safe place than being exposed to a volcanic parent for the rest of the day and you both being stressed out from it.
Breathe - get on youtube, find a relaxation video and watch it - ideal for when you are feeding baby and have some time to sit.
Accept help - whoever is offering, bite their hand off. You don't need to leave the house or even the same room if you don't want to. But let someone else get up and see to baby for an hour whilst you just chill. Or let someone cook you a meal, or load the dishwasher. Don't be too proud to not accept help from those who want to help.
Nice day? Load up the pram and get out for a walk. Standard British weather? Take yourself down to the local shopping centre or even Asda Megastore and walk around there. You will feel so much better than if you just sat at home in your PJs - as tempting as that is when you are tired.
Mummy friends, make some. There are some great apps for making friends locally - facebook groups, NCT, local church stay and plays. Or just be the stalker Mum in the coffee shop who starts talking to other mums because they are a Mum. These people get it, they know what you are going through (whether they admit it or not!) so find them and don't let them go!
So how the frigg do we fit this into normal day to day life, get the house clean, cook dinner, remember to change your knickers and still be happy smiley fancy free Mum? Good question! Short answer, you are not superwoman or man! You are not going to get everything done in the early stages and that is 100% okay!
Newborn baby? What we do need to do is prioritise and this list is a no-nonsense list of prioritisation.
From most important to not getting done this week, maybe month..
1. Looking after yourself- as shown above you can see there is a lot to be getting on with to ensuring you are A-OK! So start with all that first. Baby will benefit to no end, having a healthy and happy parent looking after them. If you can't look after you, how do you expect to be able to look after someone else?
2. Look after baby. No explanation needed.
3. Look after your partner, they are in this too. Even if they are not at home being carer with you all day - it still all very much impacts them. So don't forget that you are still a wife/husband/partner to someone and that they are still in this life with you. It's way too easy to loose site of your relationship.
4. Look after the house, it's bottom of my list because humans are way more important than the china or a bit of dirt. Take care of the humans, then attempt the house.
If I didn't list something then it's not worthy of your time at the moment.