What were we thinking! promote confidence and reduce distress in parents with a first baby

A Whole New Level of Busy!

By Marigold

A Whole New Level of Busy!

Throughout my pregnancy everyone told me that having a baby around keeps you busy, but I didn’t comprehend just how busy it would be until Isabelle arrived on the scene. I had a vision of downtime between feeds, time to exercise, to work from home and maybe even learn a language in my spare time… oh how naïve I was!

Days and nights seem to merge together now, filled with feeding, burping, nappy changes, bath time, play time, washing and of course, staring lovingly at our baby girl.  It took me a while to adjust to this new schedule and accept that I wasn’t going to be able to get as many tasks done in a day as I used to. I continued to make long to-do lists and ran myself ragged trying to squeeze everything in to the day. Not only did I get exhausted, I also found myself getting frustrated with Isabelle if she didn’t settle quickly or woke sooner than I expected.

A few days ago I made a conscious decision to change my mindset and give myself (and Isabelle) a break. I realized that caring for a baby really is a full time job and I should place value on the time and energy that it takes. As soon as I accepted this and stopped trying to ‘do everything’ I began to feel much more patient and relaxed and really started to enjoy my role as a mother. It has been the most fantastic change!

Expert response from What Were We Thinking! expert, Jan O'Connell

Parenting really is a full time job. It’s not until you become a parent that you realize how quickly the day passes and you seemingly don’t get much done! And yet you have been busy all day, often finding it difficult to fit in even having a shower, eating or clearing up the kitchen.

It’s worth remembering that feeding Isabelle takes approximately 8 hours a day in the early weeks which is in itself a full paid day’s work. Add to this all of the other components of caring for a young child, and that it is spread over a 24-hour period every day, it is no wonder that you get tired and don’t get through much on your ‘to-do list’!

Expectations and reality are often different, as you've found. In paid work a ‘to-do’ list might work but in early parenting it frequently adds unwelcome pressure that along with lack of sleep, can erode confidence as well as tolerance levels. Being kind to yourself, putting Isabelle’s needs first and learning new ways to do things does make a difference for enjoying and delighting in the changing phases of her life.

Sometimes parents find that caring for an infant can become quite overwhelming particularly if they don’t feel the joy and delight that other parents may talk about. If this is the case, speaking to your doctor or nurse is important so they can support you and also to build a secure and lasting positive relationship with your child.

Posted in:  Baby 5-8 weeks