3 QUESTIONS to ask Yourself as a New Mumma to help Stay Calm.

3 QUESTIONS to ask Yourself as a New Mumma to help Stay Calm.

Full Disclaimer, I am not a writer. I am simply a mother sharing with you what helped me to stay calm and survive the challenges of postnatal depression and adjustments to parenthood. These suggestions are what helped me on my journey of becoming a Mumma. Every journey is as unique as the individual themselves, so please, read these and take them on board with the understanding that you can and are encouraged to mold these suggestions to suit you. That being said, lets dive into it.

 

  1. Are you filling up your own cup?
  2. What can I let go?
  3. Where can I go/what can I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed?

 

1: Are you filling up your own cup?

In a nut shell:

  • You can’t pour from an empty cup
  • Look after yourself
  • Make a non-negotiable self-care to do list for you
  • Rest/Time Out

Have you ever heard the expression “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? It basically means that you need to be whole within yourself before you can help others. Well, the same notion applies for any parent. It is near on impossible to be the best parent you can be when you are running on empty. It is so important to keep yourself taken care of for you to look after your little one, plus it makes you much better company to be around for others and less likely to take out your anger and frustrations on an innocent by-stander, eg: hubby, like I did mine.

The best way I found to make sure I was looking after myself was to create a list of 5 things that were non-negotiable for me to do every day. It listed little things for me to do that were just for me, not house chores, not things for the baby, but things for me. By creating this list, not only did it make me remember that I was a person with my own needs too, but it also gave me permission to look after myself, GUILT FREE! (Its amazing how guilty a new parent can feel over the most ridiculous things.) For your list to be effective, make sure you fill your list with achievable tasks that doesn’t take up too much of your time. The list will be useless if it makes you feel even more anxious than before due to adding more to your plate, so be sure what you are asking of yourself, is kind to you and realistic. Some examples that were on my list those first 6 weeks of bringing my little man home were

  • Shower every day
  • Brush my teeth
  • Get dressed before 10am
  • Take 5 with a glass of water… and do NOT get up until that glass is empty
  • Go outside

See how these little things for myself are super realistic? To anyone without children, they may think that brushing your teeth or showering daily is a no brainer and strange to be included on a to do list. But when your normal daily routine is thrown up into the wind by becoming a parent, normal daily routine seems to run away along with time. It is amazing how many times I was sitting still in my dressing gown at 4pm realizing hubby would be home in an hour and I still hadn’t brushed my teeth. Giving myself some morning structure was so important to feel somewhat normal, so make sure you choose things that is going to make you feel good about yourself and not add to your work load.

As for my last two dot points, this was my time for rest. Rest is so important for new parents as everyone knows. Just remember rest comes in many forms. I could’ve screamed every time someone told me to sleep when the baby was sleeping. If you can do this, then do it, but this wasn’t for me and it took me a while to understand that this is ok. So instead, when baby was sleeping, I would force myself to sit for 5mins with a glass of water, if the baby woke, I would force myself to scull that water before getting up. This allowed myself a moment to sit and I stayed hydrated, win/win. Going outside was something I adopted when Baxter was about eight weeks old but I wish I did it sooner. I found a whole day could go by not leaving the four walls of my house. I didn’t realise at the time how confining this was to me. Going for a walk or simply sitting in the backyard was enough to give me an extra boost that was greatly needed to tackle the rest of the day.

 

2: What can you let go?

In a nut shell:

  • We now have a little human who is taking up to 80% of our time, meaning we now have 80% less time for everything else
  • Jobs that must be done, lower your expectation of it, keep things simple, be the best cheat on the block
  • The principle behind something done good is better than something perfect done never.

I remember clearly when the midwife came to check on me and my son after the first 24hrs of us being home. I was mortified at the state of myself and the house and stupidly thought that this woman is going to take my baby away from me for sure. I broke down and I cried and she gently asked what was upsetting me so much. When I explained to her that it looks like I’m falling apart at the seams she looked around me and said “Do you know what I see? A dirty plate on the coffee table filled with crumbs, this tells me you’ve eaten today. I see a basket of clothes in the corner there, this tells me you’ve got clean clothes” She gently reminded me that before becoming a Mum, I had my life mapped out for what I had time for (I would even iron my pillow cases and tea towels pre-kids). But now with a tiny human depending on me, that human was requiring 80% of my time which meant I needed to let some things go in order to keep my sanity. Those jobs that must be done, like cooking or cleaning, try and simplify it as much as you can. If you can get someone to cook for you then great, if not, there are so many different stir through sauces now available and cheat meals that you don’t need to be spending hours in the kitchen if you don’t want to. I bought myself a spot mop. I decided mopping the whole floor with a mop and bucket was too labour intensive and time consuming, so I bought myself a spot mop that sprayed water and disinfectant on the spill and then mopped just that area and figured it was sufficient enough. A phrase that has turned me from a perfectionist who was always stressed out to someone who achieves everything she wants/needs with next to no stress is “A good job that is done, is better than a perfect job done never.”

Try and sift through what is important to you, become the best cheat in how to get it done efficiently, and drop the rest.

 

3: Where can I go/what can I do when feeling overwhelmed?

In a nut shell

  • You may not always have the luxury to hand your screaming baby over when you’re feeling overwhelmed
  • My story of laying on the floor next to a screaming baby surrounded in brightly coloured toys, surrounded by baby to do books, toys, nappies, bottles in sink, drowning in baby paraphernalia
  • The power of having a plan before the crisis happens
  • The power of a calming neutral space.

You may not always have the luxury to hand your screaming child over to someone when you are feeling overwhelmed. It’s so essential to have a plan in the back of your mind of what to do when moment like this arise. It’s impossible to think on your feet when the fog of parenthood creeps in with thoughts of not being able to catch a breath. So, when you have a calm moment, think about what helps take you to a calm and happy place.

I remember being so overwhelmed with a screaming baby Baxter, that all I could do was lay on the floor next him in the lounge room and cry with all his baby "stuff" completely surrounding us. Everywhere I looked was something that reminded me of how I was drowning in motherhood. Once I had recovered and in a calmer moment, I realised the impact brightly coloured toys, “how to be the perfect parent” parenting books, and general baby paraphernalia was having on me, I knew I needed a safe space for me and my little man to hide in when we both needed a refuge. I chose his nursery. I took all his brightly coloured toys out of his nursery and created an oasis of neutral tones and anything that I found calming. We spent a lot of time in his nursery together from then on, I would rock the both of us in the rocking chair, listening to calm music, allowing us both a moment to breathe and re-center. Creating an oasis for you to rest in free from anything that you find overwhelming, allows you to start breathing steadily again, which helps to lower your heart rate, which makes you start to think more clearly and the flow effect of this means you have squished “overwhelm” like a bug under the sole of your fluffy slipper. Bye-bye overwhelm.

 

I hope you have found this little blog to be useful in helping you to feel calmer as a new parent. Remember parenting is the hardest thing you'll ever do and (as cliché as it is) the most joyous and rewarding experience. You've got this!

If you have liked this blog and feel it would benefit someone else you know, please share it on. I wish I had known these little tips right from the beginning as a new Mum to help me stay calm and not let the "overwhelm" take over. 

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