Looking after yourself
The baby is teething and won't stop crying and go to sleep. The four year old is rebellious and constantly testing boundaries. The teenager wants to stay out late.
There's no question that being Mum means that there are going to be times when you are exhausted or very worried. You must devote time to taking good care of yourself if you are going to be an effective mother. Don't feel bad about it and don't neglect it. Have a plan and keep it practical.
Here are some suggestions -
- If you are a two parent family, discuss with your partner how you can share parenting tasks.
- Discuss how you can have time to catch up on sleep, undisturbed by the baby.
- Pay attention to your personal care and dress - it is vital to your self-esteem and personal pride.
- Find somebody who you can rely on and who you trust to provide good care of your child for a couple of hours - sister or brother, grandparent, friend, other young mothers.
- Get some hard physical exercise - it is a great way to unwind.
- Maintain a social life - there is no reason you can not still be able to meet friends for coffee, see a movie just because you are now a mother.
- Be prepared to take some time out - a walk in the bush, along the beach, a browse around the shops, can quickly recharge the batteries.
- Join a new mothers' group, or talk with understanding friends about your experiences, worries and feelings - especially important for dealing with the new parent anxieties.
- Identify the support you need and locate those who can provide it - family members, friends, Plunket nurse, GP
- Regularly revise your personal care plan as time goes by and circumstances change - a mother back in the workforce with a teen has different needs from a new mother.