You don’t need to be a parenting expert to know that when you are relaxed, confident and happy, your baby is much more likely to feel the same way. But this is often easier said than done! The challenge begins while pregnant; trying not to become over-tired and worry too much about whether or not your baby is moving enough or growing properly.
Looking after ourselves is something women tend to neglect; we are great at taking care of others’ needs, but often fail to recognize our own, so how do we ensure a good balance? There are a few things moms can do to kick-start their thinking around this. Firstly, my advice would be to consider expectations of your family life and whether they are the same as your partner’s. If not, it’s important you discuss them. An imbalance here can stand in the way of understanding each other’s needs.
Secondly, when you do get to enjoy some time to yourself, think about how you want to use it. Are you an extrovert or introvert? Do you prefer a long lunch with your closest friends, or does a solitary stroll through the park appeal more to you? This can have an impact on how you best relax. Most extroverts love the company of others and would choose to spend time away from their children with friends, while out and about, so get a date in the diary!
Introvert personalities tend to prefer spending ‘me time’ alone, whether it’s a long hot soak in the bath or reading quietly in a café, watching the world go by. Take the time and get to know yourself and what works best for you. There is no point lying in the bath if you would rather have lunch with friends.
Finally, one of the easiest ways to cope with the challenges of parenting is to surround yourself with as much support as possible. It’s not practical to have lots of ‘time off’ but having a solid network of close friends to talk to can make all the difference. Chatting on moms’ forums can be a great way to create a support network, so if you’re interested in giving your daily exercise routine a boost, find out what other local moms are doing to stay in shape, look great...and join in!
Do what you need to do to make sure you are in the position to be the mom you want to be. This is hard to do if you don’t keep yourself on your to-do list. If we don’t look after our well-being the knock on effect can be significant and we can’t keep this up for long before it starts to take a toll. Even small things can make a difference. It’s not selfish to look after ourselves, it’s important.
You can also share your own challenges, and read advice from other moms here on how to look after your wellbeing.
By Kate Nicolle
Parenting Consultant and founder of Kidology
Article courtesy Philips Avent South Africa