Eat, sleep, change… repeat. A new Mom’s life shifts quickly from complex relationships at work, home, and play to a more predictable cycle of wash-rinse-repeat. In life before baby, you likely went to work and then scheduled happy hour with colleagues and a trip to the gym before rushing home for an hour of cuddles during primetime with your sweetheart . Maybe you burned the midnight oil for a work-related presentation. Now you have an infant. Eat, sleep, change… repeat. Much of the spontaneity of evenings out with friends or even a quick trip to the grocery store gains added complexity with a baby in tow, which means your entire social order often feels turned on its head. How can you adjust to your new routine? Where can you find support for all the changes coming your way? Keep reading to find out more.
Support in Likely and Unlikely Places
You’ve likely heard anecdotes or nervous jokes about the overly-zealous mother-in-law who came to stay in-house for a month or more after the new baby was born? These stories come out of a time when mothers, mothers-in-law, sisters, aunts, and other (mainly female) family members came out in droves to support the latest addition. These family members prepared fresh meals and filled the freezer, washed dishes, and kept the house relatively clean while the new Mom fed, changed, and otherwise bonded with her baby. It was also a ready-made support system for all the questions that inevitably arise about how to care for baby and for Mom’s post-partum body.
But that style of living isn’t as common these days. People move all over the country for education or work opportunities, often living a great distance from family who would otherwise stay close after the birth of a baby. The kind of support you’d get socially and in adjusting to new routines is different now than it might have been even a generation ago. You may certainly invite family members to come stay with you for any length of time, and if they have the margin to do so, then wonderful! But you may need to look into other plans. The great news is that there are other alternatives to count on today!
Connecting With Others
Local birthing centers often have prenatal preparation and exercise classes so you can begin connecting with other new mothers just like you before baby’s arrival. Begin building additions to your social network before the big birth-day! Birthing centers often won’t stop at getting you ready to welcome your child. Oftentimes centers have classes and social gatherings that continue to meet for how-to’s, postpartum depression support, exercise, baby care, and new Mom care classes. Another place you might seek support for changes is at your synagogue, church, or other place of worship. Congregations are often eager to organize help for you when the baby is born and provide social groups to adjust to new routines with your bundle of joy. Public libraries and recreation centers also often sponsor “Mommy and Me” reading, activity, and music sessions, so not only can your little one learn to engage the world around him or her, but you can get out of the house and meet other new Moms in a relaxed environment.
Lean In and Lean On Your Partner
Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book Lean In makes the outright claim that both partners should do half the parenting. This might have been audacious in the era of Leave it to Beaver’s June Cleaver style of parenting, but today, your partner is called to invest in your little one completely. This means that his home, work, and social life is also bound to require some adjustment, and yet it also means that there is less strain on any one person in your home. As Sandberg puts it in an article she wrote for Esquire magazine, “Women still do the majority of the housework and child care even though 70 percent of mothers work outside the home. When husbands share in domestic chores, wives are less depressed, marital conflicts decrease, and satisfaction rises.” Lean on your partner. New patterns formed after your baby’s arrival will feel shared and less earthshaking when you have someone who shares both the burden and intimate knowledge of the new routine.
Make New Friends, and Keep the Old
“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”
That’s the old song, frequently sung at camp or scouting events, and it holds a powerful message for Moms adjusting to new routines and developing a social life after the birth of a baby. While there are plenty of opportunities to make new friends in parenting groups, classes, and other activities, one resource frequently ignored is the advice to find ways to still invest in long-term friendships and maintain aspects of socialization you once enjoyed.
For example if you invested in a gym membership that you frequently used during the week, investigate Fairfax mom care services to help free your time up. Many gyms have in-house drop-in hours with low-cost or free childcare facilities run by qualified staff. Infants are often welcomed beginning at 3 months (due to vaccination and health requirements) and up. You can either continue attending your regular gym or find a new facility with a trustworthy childcare center. Maintaining your gym habits will help you continue to invest in your personal health and wellness, give you a regular option to go out, keep your child close, and perhaps allow you opportunities to take a class or run on a treadmill next to friends.
Furthermore, remember when you used to go to Happy Hour or out to eat on a weekday with friends? Or took a walk in the park or in your neighborhood? Or out shopping? Those things are still possible! While you’ll bring a lot more equipment with you (read: a full diaper bag and baby carrier), restaurants and many other public places are increasingly open and used to new parents bringing baby along. Happy Hour will simply have you clinging an extra baby bottle when out with your friends! While you might not maintain a regular dining-out experience as you did in your pre-baby routine, there’s no reason why your old patterns and friendships should be left in the dust. Chances are, they will love an opportunities to spend time with you and your beautiful new little one.
Bring A Night Out to You
Lastly, if you’re not comfortable bringing baby out on the town, bring the town to you. Invite friends new and old over to your home. So, it might be a whirlwind of diapers, bottles, and laundry, but your friends just care about you. Go in on delivery pizza. Defrost and share one of the meals in your freezer. Download a movie from Netflix or enjoy a few hours talking. Your friends are likely a wonderful mixture of those with and those with and without children – and either way, they’re glad to stay close in touch with you.
Eat, sleep, change, repeat… with friends
Your life will change at the birth of your baby. And there are wonderful ways to combine your old routine with the goodness of the new. It won’t be perfect, and sometimes life with your new baby will feel about as comfortable as breaking in a pair of new shoes.
New Mom Care in Fairfax, VA
Remember, you have options within a whole system of both familiar and brand new support. As you find ways to navigate the changes in your life at home, work, and play, you may want some additional help. There’s no “one size fits all” style of adjustment to welcoming a baby, which is why you may need additional help in thinking through the changes in your life. Please contact Caring Hands Matter for more information on new mom care in Fairfax, VA that can help with your new routine and positive support for all of the changes baby brings.