Parenting can be wonderful and rewarding. But don’t let anyone fool you: Parenting is exhausting. From the moment he came into this world, your baby has needed your full attention throughout the day and night. Working parents have twice the load. The good news is not only can you survive these tiring years, but with a few tips, you can thrive in them.
Everyone has heard stories of parents who come home from the hospital with newborns who don’t sleep. These stories aren’t true. Every baby sleeps. Unfortunately, many parents use a newborn’s naptime to get caught up with the laundry or other work. The Mayo Clinic warns that this leads to exhaustion. Instead, lie down and sleep whenever your newborn sleeps. This gives you more energy when the baby is awake. As your baby develops and sleeps longer, you will be able to go back to a full night’s sleep.
We are creatures of habit. Everyone has gone through the motions making a bed or doing the dishes simply because its habit. Creating a routine and sticking to it is another way to prevent fatigue. It takes a lot of energy to constantly plan or adapt to new situations. This is as true for your child as it is for you. But routine doesn’t have to mean rut. Instead, think of routine as a framework for your day with set times for meals, cleanup and bedtime. Add new experiences to the routine within that schedule. For example, if you usually eat lunch at noon, but find that you’re still at the zoo, add a picnic to your day. Both you and your child are maintaining your routine within a new experience.
Taking care of a child, much less a family, is hard work. Mothers and fathers need to take care of themselves in order to take care of their family. This includes eating right, exercising and taking a break when you need one. It also means taking time to relax. Leave the laundry in the dryer. Let the phone ring. Make the time to enjoy some of the activities and people you enjoyed before you had a baby.
Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Toddlers and preschoolers can help with simple chores such as picking up their toys or clothes. Your spouse or partner can also shoulder some of the household responsibilities. Additionally, it is vital that you find child care you trust. This allows you the freedom to truly relax when you leave your child.