As nature would have it, moms are biologically predisposed to be nurturers and caregivers. And, society has also played a significant role in shaping parental duties over the past years. As a result, moms traditionally take care of their baby most of the time. Often, this leads to uneven division of responsibilities at home.
Being a mom of two little humans, overcoming the burden of postpartum depression, and sharing my journey with many moms along the way, I’ve discovered a few ways you can surmount that unease and anxiety that naturally follows when you even think of leaving your baby.
Work out a schedule
Much like with all responsibilities in life, we neglect some that are not perceived as priorities. The same goes for those that are not among our parenting duties. Of course, your baby will always be a priority! But, a healthy baby spending time with your partner is no reason to worry, hover or panic. If only someone had told me that when we had our first baby girl, and I felt guilty for leaving her with her dad for a single afternoon!
Instead, create a mutual schedule that includes so-called “baby-free” activities that will prepare you in advance, so that those negative emotions cannot overwhelm you. A routine will also help you cope with anxiety through exercise, pampering, or other relaxing activities that your body craves after days spent caring for everyone other than yourself.
You can start will a smaller amount of time, then slowly increase it as you ease yourself into the schedule. As you move along, share your feelings with your partner and don’t be afraid to ask for support.
Share the baby duties
Your partner may feel left out or pushed aside when it comes to your baby time. You might not even realize this, if you’re too anxious and thus focused on your little one. How about starting slow and inviting your partner to take part in those daily chores, such as bathing, changing or feeding?
Nowadays, some dads are able to take paternity leave to spend more time at home and be with you and the baby. This makes for a perfect opportunity to bond and strengthen the emotional connection among you as a family. One of my most precious memories is that of our son’s first giggle during a bubble bath!
As silly as it may sound, lists are excellent, yet marvelously simple ways you can better manage your time. Use them to chart out your expectations, your needs both as a woman and a mom. This goes for your partner’s needs as a parent as well. Of course, don’t forget to note down everything you feel your baby needs.
As you go over those lists together, you can be confident that your partner’s time with the baby isn’t a reason for anxiety. That’s why I always feel at ease knowing that our little bundles of joy will have a bottle, a couple of warm pram blankets and diapers for every walk or alone time with dad. Preparing ahead and sharing these concerns will gradually help you let go of that unpleasant feeling. And, you’ll enjoy motherhood even more.
Adjust your expectations
Parenting roles have numerous differences. But, perhaps you and your partner’s parenting styles have different variations, which might contribute to your anxiety. First, it’s essential that you accept healthy differences and not try to impose your parenting style. Then, you can move on to talking it out with your partner, because learning about one another can improve your attitude and help you feel better.
Allow for a learning curve and imperfections. Because, no matter how hard your partner tries, they will likely fail to live up to all of your expectations. There is no room for perfection in a learning process. You can both share your opinions and wishes in order to give each other what you need, while also gaining a deeper understanding of your behaviors.
Design your me-time
In addition to that much-needed schedule, that will help you adapt to sharing baby time and devoting time to your own needs and other duties, you should always make room for stress-relieving techniques and methods that will help you cope.
My personal favorite was to do yoga twice a week. It restored my self-confidence and gave me peace of mind. Many moms enjoy a brisk walk in the park, reading a good book, or a girls’ afternoon out for shopping or chatting. The purpose of this non-parenting time is to relieve you of your pent up negativity, fears and worries.
Give yourself time to adjust to your role as a mom. Don’t be scared to explore all the stress-relieving activities you can introduce in your life. Asking for professional advice and guidance is also a valid option! Every mom should have the opportunity to live anxiety-free and joyfully share the earliest, most precious days of her infant’s life with her partner.
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