Baby-Proof Your Sanity: 6 Parenting Tips
3. Take Personal Time
Quality time away from your child is just as important as quality time with
your child, says Jerrold Lee Shapiro, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and
chairman of the department of counseling psychology at Santa Clara University.
"You have to nurture yourself so you're not running on fumes," he tells
WebMD. What qualifies as quality time? "Working out, walking, reading a
book, sitting down with a close friend... It can be almost anything that relaxes
and centers you, and takes you away from the immediacy of someone else's
Psychologist Arthur Kovacs, PhD, stresses that your own needs don't
disappear when you have a baby. "Every human has three critical needs --
solitude, human warmth and companionship, and the need to feel productive, that
one is making use of one's talents. If you're a conscientious parent, you may
forget about this. But it's important to spend at least a few hours a week on
something other than changing diapers."
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."