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The winter holiday season is nearly upon us! It’s my most favorite time of year - the traditions, parties, family gatherings….the food! Seriously, it’s just the best. But, even for the merriest and most festive of us, it can also be an exhausting and overwhelming time of year.
Perhaps no one feels this more than our babies (no matter their age). The traveling, visitors and all around joy can actually wreak quite a bit of havoc on their routines and sleep. If you’re like me then you definitely don’t want to miss all of the fun. But if you also don’t want to end up with the Grinch at your holiday gathering, then you’ll want to check out these 5 Pro Tips below!
Parenting as an introvert can feel a bit like a torture chamber. Introverts typically re-charge their batteries with quiet, peaceful alone time and can be easily overwhelmed or exhausted by crowded or loud environments (ie any kid-friendly activity!)
As an introvert myself, I was unprepared for the challenges my innate personality would lend to parenting. Being with my babies all day was exhausting. I came home from play-dates wanting to pull my hair out from frustration and overwhelm. I waited - not so patiently - for naptime so that I could be ALONE. And then I realized why... It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy being with my children, it was that their constant presence literally wore me out.
Even though I’ve realized my limitations and try harder now to put better boundaries in place for myself, I am still learning how to keep up with the energetic (and constantly noisy!) household my kids create each day. But here are a few strategies I’ve learned along the way:
Do you forget to take care of yourself?
I know, it’s hard. I’ve been there. There are so many things going on in your life. So many stressors, right? For many of us, it’s REALLY hard to find the balance - and this is especially true if there is a new baby (or any children!) in the house.
So often we going through the day just trying to survive - juggling multiple plates in the air. Perhaps the deadlines and demanding boss keep you up at night. Or you’re so tired and end up arguing with your partner so much that you can’t concentrate at work. Or you’re exhausted by family drama – your parents, your siblings, your children? Or maybe it’s a bit of everything and you just have NO time for anything else. The plates are all in the air - they’re spinning, you’re spinning - and before you know it everything is crashing to the ground in pieces.
Life can be really amazing, but it can also really wear you down. This is why setting time aside and taking care of you is so important.
Are you confused about your support options after your baby is born? Many of my clients come to me exhausted, overwhelmed and utterly confused about how to get their needs met with their newborn baby. So, I am super excited to share a new blog series with you from Kari at From the Start! Kari is an experienced postpartum doula and Army Vet who is changing mamas lives with her personalized care. To start, here is a short excerpt and brief description of what postpartum doulas may help with:
Parenting is tough. Parenting with a chronic illness can feel downright impossible. As a mom with a chronic illness, I know the struggles you face. I know the feeling you get deep in the pit of your stomach when you have to say, “I’m sorry honey. Mommy isn’t feeling well today.” For the 6th day in a row. I know the guilt you feel when you try to weigh what you can and cannot handle each day or when you have to cancel plans last minute. I know the fear you feel at night when you lie awake worried that your illness is negatively affecting your children. And when it’s all just too much. I know.
But - as challenging as it can be - we know it isn’t all bad. While there is likely more complexity in your motherhood journey, it can also be full of hope, happiness - and lots and lots of love. There is certainly something to be said for having the ability to really take advantage and enjoy the good days....to no longer take it all for granted like you may have done before. I didn't start motherhood with a chronic illness, but I've managed the last several years with one. It's been through this journey - and that of working with other mothers like myself – that I’ve been able to develop several key strategies for maximizing your parenting journey. I know it can be really tough to make it through the day sometimes, but I also know it can be done with as much grace for yourself as possible. Read below for the lessons I've learned.
Here are 5 tips to help you navigate motherhood with a chronic illness:
Surveys of new mothers have shown that between 50-70% felt guilt and shame related to the pressures of being the mother they were expected (or expected themselves) to be. In fact, a quick Google search will show the multitude of opinions on the best way to give birth, to feed and to care for your baby.
The truth is, the answers to none of these questions should be viewed as absolutes. But with the constant exposure to be what is expected of us as mothers, it’s very easy to start believing that there actually is a “right” way – and that you’re failing at it. The overexposure to the myths and expectations can make a new mom spiral into feelings of self-doubt, insecurity and overwhelm.
Through Mommy-SOS, it is one of my goals to help bring light to the common myths of motherhood. As you read the myths below, take a moment to review them yourself - and find what resonates for you. Let’s challenge the myths of the good mom, remove the guilt and enjoy motherhood in our own unique ways.
Jennifer Howard, CLC, CHBE
As a maternal mental health and pediatric sleep expert, I am passionate about helping tired mamas thrive throughout the many seasons of motherhood. I'm a Nationally Certified Professional Life Coach and Masters Level Therapist specializing in parental mental wellness, marriage/partnership strength and pediatric sleep and soothing.
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