Here you are, a new mom, thrown abruptly into a whirlwind of adventure, a new life completely transformed and you don’t want to miss a thing or any of your baby’s first milestones and leaving your baby so that you can relax, may be the last thing on your mind. For most new mothers, the life change that takes place immediately after you first bring baby home can be an overwhelming, emotion-filled state but realizing and accepting that you need to keep a fine balance between being Super Mommy and taking time for yourself, is one of the biggest factors in producing a happy baby and a happy mommy.
According to many local new mommy’s, three of the most commonly felt emotions when leaving baby for the first time are guilt, worry, and inadequate preparedness. In this age of the crazed Supermom, you will need to learn to let go of the idea of perfection, you’ll settle into a more manageable motherhood that’s healthier for your family. When you start to reach certain milestones of your own, you will learn to take time out for yourself because you will realize that you do not have to be everywhere and do everything, all at once.
- You give up on trying to keep a perfect house
- You stop trying to create the perfect baby
- You stop comparing yourself to other mothers
- You realize the nobody’s perfect
Some moms figure this all out in the first year. Others take longer (I know I did), and still others never get it. The sooner you stop trying to be Supermom, the better and the sooner you will free up the time needed to take an hour or two a day to enjoy some quiet time alone or with a friend.
When to go, and for how long
According to a Canadian Living article by Kat Tancock, we learn that timing is a personal choice and depends on factors such as whether your baby breast feeds exclusively and if you have willing babysitters that you trust available. Make the decision based on your own comfort levels. Pediatrician Dr. Cathryn Tobin, author of The Lull-a-Baby Sleep Plan, suggests taking brief trips out until you feel confident. “Keep it short and sweet until you know how your sitter and baby cope,” she says. Remember that different couples’ choices differ.
At two weeks old he’s likely to be settled enough for you to leave him at home for a short while with a trusted adult. You may be surprised to find that you miss him more than he misses you! That’s why you should try not to feel guilty. It’s likely that your baby will cry when you’re first separated, but this is entirely natural and will lessen as time goes on.
Ease the Guilt
Realize the difference between self care, and selfishness. You need adult time away from baby so you can unwind and relax, if you are constantly doing baby things, you are only going to burn out and that is not good for baby or you. “Do it gradually, in small doses,” says local mom Annie Torillo. “This may make for an easier transition as well as try leaving a T-shirt of yours with baby, the familiarity will keep them at ease while you are away.”
- Think of time apart as a way of staying healthy, if you aren’t healthy, how can you care for your baby?
- Recognize that you have worked hard, you have earned your time alone.
- You need a chance to miss your baby and for your baby to miss you too!
- Write everything down for your sitter, from feeding times, to nap times
- Show the sitter where everything is located such as diapers, bottles, blankets etc
- Give them any unique tips that have worked for you when baby won’t stop crying
Use Technology To Your Advantage
- With smart phones, we can now use video to check in with the sitter for that extra reassurance.
- Skype (now available on most smart phones via a downloadable app) will allow you to to check in on baby. Just be sure to keep it brief, or else you are defeating the sole purpose of having time away!
- Quick texts here and there to your sitter, or a quick snap of a photo of baby sleeping soundly are good ways to ease your mind.
When a new mom decides to take on the challenge of leaving baby for the first time, it will take time to accept this as a normal venture, but doing it in small steps, gradually, you will start to feel a sweet and wonderful balance that is motherhood, and you and your baby will grow and develop and reach many more milestones together.