Being a new mom is one of the most wonderful experiences you'll ever have, but it can also be very stressful. Make it easier with these suggestions.
- Step 1: Stay connected to your spouse with a technique called "active constructive responding": each person makes an effort to ask questions about the other's day, and then really listens to the answers. It can help couples -- especially new parents -- maintain intimacy during a stressful time.
- Step 2: Don't be so hard on yourself. Most new moms want to be perfect in every way, but obsessing over your perceived shortcomings will only make you crazy. Trust us, your baby will love you even if you make the occasional mistake.
- FACT: Moms ranked child care duties as less pleasurable than eating, exercising and watching TV -- and only slightly more pleasurable than housework, working, and commuting!
- TIP: Check with your local hospital to see if they have a new-mom support group.
- Step 3: Find other new moms to meet with on a regular basis. Though you probably know lots of women with children, new moms are the people who will best relate to what you're going through right now.
- Step 4: Lower your expectations about what you can accomplish while taking care of a newborn. Many first-time moms make a lot of plans for when they're home with their baby, then become frustrated when they can't manage even half of them.
- Step 5: Give yourself time-outs. Being nervous about leaving the baby in someone else's care is understandable, but carving out some time for yourself is important.
- Step 6: Expect to have mixed emotions about motherhood. Caring for a baby is demanding, and it can sometimes provoke negative feelings in moms, especially those with children under age 3. Once you accept that it's normal to feel angry, resentful, and irritable every so often, you won't worry as much that you're a "bad" mom.