How to Stay Sane When You Become a New Mom
Canadian-born Alexandra Dietrich is a PR consultant, freelance writer and new mom. A graduate of both FIDM and Concordia University, she’s spent most of her career on the fast-paced business side of the fashion industry. Currently residing in Budapest, (where her husband coaches professional hockey), she recently welcomed her first baby. We asked Alex how being a new mom compares to the rigorous life behind the scenes of the fashion, to reflect the major shift that’s happened in her life, and how she manages to get through the day with a newborn while still feeling life herself.
I am 29 years old and I have worked steadily since the age of 15. I’ve worked in restaurants and bars; I’ve worked in Public Relations and Marketing. I am no stranger to 17-hour workdays; I have endured years of excessive overtime and demanding employers. These days my work schedule is more intense than it has ever been. My new boss has me on call 24 hours a day, he can never explain what he needs me to do, I’m supposed to just know, and sometimes he goes from laughing to crying in less than 10 seconds. Histrionic!
I am the new mom to a 10-week-old baby boy, and I can confidently say that this is the best job I’ve ever had. He is the joy of my life, the only thing I can think of worth devoting hour upon hour to. I liken being a new mom to starting a new career; you need to learn the ebb and flow of the organization, or in my case: the baby. My husband and I weren’t the kind of expectant parents who attended classes or read many books during my pregnancy. Much like the way both of us prepared for our University exams, we thought we’d just wing it and, to be honest, it served us well. I had absolutely no anxiety about my new assignment. (Again: the baby.) When I first looked at my son, I knew we’d work just fantastically together. A real dream team. However, getting into the groove of being a new mom is no walk in the park.
In the beginning, showering will seem like a luxury, you won’t feel like you have the time to eat, and you might feel like crying for what seems like no reason. Also sounds like my days in PR! No two babies are the same, so there is no cookie cutter way to do things. You need to learn to read your new human in order to decipher his needs and wants. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen right off the bat, and the first few weeks can be trying. I’ve got five tips to help you make it through and still feel like yourself.
1. Shower, put a little mascara on and get dressed
Okay okay okay… Maybe not every single morning, but I swear those ten to fifteen minutes are so key in keeping your cool. Don’t panic about baby, he will be quite content in his bassinet or daddy’s arms until you get out. It’s so important to not forget about your needs too. A change of sweats and a warm shower will refresh you for your long day of nursing and snuggling.
2. Sleep when he sleeps and eat whenever you can
Everyone says this and it’s for good reason. I am the queen of FOMO, (fear of missing out), I have never been a good napper. I was so guilty of not sleeping enough in the beginning; it made me a little cuckoo. If you aren’t rested you aren’t doing yourself, your partner or your child any favours. Don’t be worried about missing out on the day; the good news is that there is another one tomorrow. Eat whenever you can and even if you have no appetite. (I had none). It is so important for you and your sanity. No one likes a ‘hangry’ attitude. Order in or call friends to bring you meals. You and your partner shouldn’t feel the pressure to prepare anything. Don’t feel guilty when you’re both eating leftovers out of a container while standing up in the kitchen at 2am.
3. Don’t be shy to show your guests the door
It is perfectly fine to tell friends who have stopped by to see the baby to leave if you feel tired (or annoyed). Especially if they don’t come bearing food, gifts or a desire to clean your house. You don’t need to entertain anyone. What you do need is a friend willing to scrub your bathroom for you.
4. Write a journal
This is one I wish I had done. Write, even if it’s only a sentence or two. You won’t remember much in the first few weeks, so a having a few notes from each day to look back on will be awesome. I’d even include the things you ate and drank, you never know what can upset your little ones tummy and it would be cool to have a reference.
5. Relax, enjoy and soak it all in
Go ahead and let your little one sleep on your chest, feel free to wear him close to you all day and don’t feel guilty rocking him to sleep every night. I swear the most important thing you can do is to not let any baby books, or any person for that matter, make you feel like you aren’t doing what’s best for your baby. Your little one will only be this small once in their life, take advantage of all of the lovely baby cuddles you can.
You can read more about Alexandra’s new mommy confessionals at (keeping my) Cool Mom
What are some of the ways you keep your cool? Share your tricks with us!