Baby-Proof Your Sanity: 6 Parenting Tips
4. Accept Help
Stein tells WebMD that women who have insufficient help may feel overwhelmed
by "the daily, unrelenting chores of new motherhood." She says this can
increase the risk of postpartum depression. For a less stressful adjustment to
life with a baby, "family should be encouraged to help, and paid help
should also be considered."
Wishner says, in addition to accepting food from neighbors and friends, she
devised a few shortcuts to reduce chore time. "I'm not one who likes to do
a lot of laundry, so I have enough clothes and sheets to last me two
5. Maintain a Social Life
"It is too easy to become focused at an infant or toddler level of
interaction and stop being an adult," Shapiro says. Making plans with other
adults, particularly new parents who understand what you are going through, can
prevent feelings of isolation and give you an emotional support system.
Wishner says she finds it helpful to spend time with other first-time moms
she met through a prenatal yoga class. "We get together at least weekly and
do [mother-baby] classes and stay busy," she tells WebMD. She adds that she
benefits not just from receiving support, but from providing it as well.
"It helps me to feel needed, knowing that these women who are new friends
look to me for support."
6. Spend Time With Your Partner
If you have a spouse or partner, "fight to spend some time
together," Kovacs advises. Hire a babysitter, enlist the help of relatives,
do whatever it takes to get an occasional evening out for an intimate dinner or
a long walk. "Don't let the relationship idle," he warns. "Weeds
Staying close to your partner is not only vital to your health and the
future of your relationship, "it is the very best thing you can give your
child," according to Shapiro, who is the author of The Measure of a
Man: Becoming the Father You Wish Your Father Had Been. We'll have more on
strengthening your relationship in Part 3 of our series.
If You're Over 40...
If you're having your first child as a 40-something, the transition to
parenthood is likely to be harder in some ways, easier in others. As Shapiro
puts it, you'll have less energy but more patience.
Kovacs agrees. "There's nothing like life wisdom that prepares people
for having a child. You don't have as much physiological stamina, but you're
much better prepared emotionally."
Wishner, who is 41, has found she is the support person for younger moms,
but she doesn't think her age is a factor. "I don't think I would have felt
differently if I had done this 10 years ago," she says, adding, "I've
wanted a child all my life. This was the biggest dream I ever had, and now I
have it. So emotionally, I'm in heaven."