Anyone with kids will tell you that successful parenting all boils down to one simple factor – getting enough rest. Tired and sleepy babies are cranky; and the same applies to adults too. Insufficient rest makes us more susceptible to illnesses – everything from the simple flu to aches simply seems far more potent and quite difficult to recover.
It doesn’t help that finding time to rest is almost impossible when juggling an already busy daily work schedule with the added responsibilities of parenthood. Somehow, there always seems to be something that needs to get done now – or yesterday!
Even grabbing 40 winks becomes elusive. There’s always something you’ve forgotten to do and unplanned disturbances to be dealt with, especially when it comes to babies.
While it’s so easy to get sucked into this zombie-like state, note that it’s also possible to climb out of this morass or even avoid it altogether – by planning ahead. Here’s what you can do to give yourself a breather:
Strange as it may sound, applying the same time-management skills from work could be the saving grace when it comes to ensuring your family life doesn’t degenerate into exhaustion. Think about it – do you always jump every time attention needs to be given to your boss, colleagues, suppliers, partners, clients or customers?
Rarely do you react instantly without taking some time to compose your thoughts and have a strategic plan for execution.
Granted, it can be difficult not to drop everything and rush helter-skelter the instant your baby cries. But, imagine the horror your life is going to turn into if everything about your baby is treated like a fire alarm needing immediate attention.
Remember, this goes on until your child is ready to be integrated into kindergarten – that’s at least five years or over 1,800 days! So, smart parents learn to listen to their kids and identify what the signals are before reacting.
In many ways, this is exactly like how you would respond at work by prioritising tasks according to deadlines and such. Most times, babies just need your soothing touch or be made aware of your presence or even that they’ve got your attention – just like at work!
2. Plan ahead
Once your nerves are no longer jangled and you have a clearer idea of what to expect as critical components of your family life, it is possible to anticipate some aspects and prepare in advance.
Take food, for example. You’ll need to ensure sustenance for both yourself and your family. While it may seem like you’re losing your appetite, it is important to ensure you get enough daily nutrition to keep your strength up and stay healthy.
As changes are inevitable once the baby arrives, make changes to your dietary habits too. Better yet, anticipate these changes and adopt these new eating habits where possible – before your baby is born!
Remember that a new mother’s diet is equally important – as is the father’s! It’s hard to eat well if you’re too pre-occupied with your baby, so it’s best to make time always or just continue the new routines you’ve already adopted before the baby arrived.
3. Take care of yourself
Pay attention to diet during the confinement period, especially when a woman’s body needs focus as it reverts back to what she was before the pregnancy. Seek help and advice from health experts if you’re unsure.
Also note the impact of hormonal changes as a woman’s body recovers from the birth. Post-delivery depression can occur and having people around who care will be very helpful for parents to sail through the first few weeks or even months.
Then, as any parent can advise you, languid eight-hour continuous sleep will be almost nonexistent once your baby arrives. So, practise ahead to train your body to this new routine. Try sneaking some ZZZs whenever your baby is sleeping.
All these become easier as the baby grows older and you’ll find yourself facing different but new challenges. Your child crawling, walking then talking can become both joy and stress points, but you’ll be a proud parent all the same!
Upon looking back at the crazy scenario you had braced yourself for or had already been caught up in, getting all these basics in order means you can simply enjoy the time with your family rather than restless days and nights – because you just weren’t well prepared.
What is the most difficult thing for you to handle as a parent to a new baby? Share with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!