Motherhood: Adjusting to Life as a Caregiver
You frequently answer questions about caregiving for the elderly, but what about new moms? Caring for my newborn is crazy. I am sleep deprived with an out-of-shape body, a house that is perpetually messy, and “spit-up” on everything.
I miss my old life and nights out with friends! It may be hard to believe, but I miss my job. Being a new mom is not glamorous, not one little bit. I know that I cannot go back, though most days I want to. What can a new mom do to make this work?
Welcome to parenthood! It is clear you are fully immersed in the new reality of caring for a completely dependent human infant. Your observations are correct; there are, indeed, many tasks to accomplish with little time and no glamor.
The good news is you are not alone! The early months of caring for an infant are simply exhausting for most parents. There is a reason for the FMLA that you receive, and now you understand how much it is needed. Luckily those little kids have beautiful moments when all the work becomes worth it. If this was not the case, the human race would be in trouble!
I recommend that you seek-out others who are living a similar lifestyle with young child or children. Many new parents form “play groups” or take classes with other young parents who are doing the same thing. There is tremendous power and camaraderie among people going through the same experience. You will find that sharing your common experiences with others will boost you, helping you carry on.
You will need to leave behind the party lifestyle, at least for, say 18 years. It is no longer your deal. I believe that your old lifestyle got tiresome at times and you longed for family life. Now that you have it and all that it entails, I suggest that you have some fun with it. Plan family outings, find joy in kid-centered vacations, and refocus on children’s activities. Now that my children are grown, I actually miss some of the responsibilities I had. I miss soccer games on crisp, sunny Saturday mornings with a mug of coffee and a warm jacket. I miss movie nights with the kids. These moments are different for every parent and are something you should look forward to!
Let grandparents help. Yes, they will offer goofy advice that is contrary to the way you plan to raise your child. Try not to make too big a deal of it. Unless they are actually harmful to your child, they are a great resource. For all you grandparents out there, try your best to go along with the newfangled way of doing things. I know that it can be difficult, but times do change and new research comes out daily. Who knows? The new ways may be better! You had your chance to mold a child, now it is his/her turn. But let’s get back to you.
Raising a child is work, but it is very important and rewarding work. It is time now for you to seek out the joy in caring for an infant and acknowledge that everything in life worth doing has its challenges. No project at work is always fun, not every outing is sunny, and not every day as a parent will be easy. Revel in the joyous moments and commiserate with friends about the rough ones.
I wish you the best.
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