They say that starting a new job, moving to a new home, and having a baby are the biggest causes of stress. Wow – what if all three come at the same time?
That’s happened to us in the past, and I can truly say IT WAS STRESSFUL. Not staying sane was never an option. Keeping one’s cool,and trying to find the best solutions to keep panic at bay,can seem daunting,but more often than not, these stressful changes bring about great things in the long run. And again, I can truly say this from personal experience.
What’s the old adage? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
Here are a few things that I’ve found helpful when trying to stay sane, while facing major life changes.
This too shall pass.
More often than not, rough times don’t last forever (and for those of you whose experience has been the opposite, I am truly sorry), and often these hurdles are just bumps in the road to a better destination. It may seem really hard to see past the sharp curves, but if you can try focus on the future, it can help. And when you have the mindset that there is almost always someone that is having a more difficult time that we are, it’s easier to deal with our own trials.
Get out pen and paper.
Write down the pros and cons of the situation. Look harder for the pros! Yep I’m getting all Pollyannaish. Gosh I loved that movie. Yep it’s sappy and gooey, but who cares. It’s really true – when you think of the good things, and not dwell on the bad AND when you put the welfare of others before yourself, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s gonna make you feel a whole heck of a lot better.
Stop and think…what can I do right now, to make things a little better? Well, that depends on what is causing your stress. For today, I’d like to concentrate on what I know of best…having a new baby. I’m the mom of 10. 9 times I brought home little bundles of joy (the 10th time was a bit different as the bundle was not so little, as we adopted an older child – but he still brought joy). Yes, with each child, certain things became easier, but others were sort of multiplied. I learned to ask for, and accept help, prioritize, not sweat the small stuff,and to cherish the moments, as they fly by, even if it doesn’t seem so at the time.
Asking and accepting help did NOT come easy. But when someone dear to me explained the by asking for and accepting help from others, I was able to allow them to receive the blessings of service. That really hit home with me. I’ve always been a giver. I love to help, and when I stopped to think about it, I realized that helping others made me feel great, so why should I deny that feeling to another? As time wore on, I learned how to ask for the type of help that I needed and then used that knowledge for the good of others. When someone else had a new baby, I didn’t show up at their house and say “ok, I’m here to do your laundry”, because that may be something that they are very particular about. Instead, I would say, “i’m here and I can stay for 3 hours. I’m happy to do laundry, or your dishes, or maybe sweep and mop the floors. Or maybe you would like me to just sit with the baby while you take a nap? Tell, me, what is the best way for me to help?” More often than not, the recipient would then open up and tell me what she would prefer. In turn, I was able to do the same thing for myself.
Now prioritization. Basically I needed to keep myself and my family fed, the baby in clean diapers, and when I had more than one child, the other’s occupied and safe. In our church, it’s pretty much a given, that when you have a new baby, casseroles are heading your way. And for many, that’s great, but with my picky husband…enough said. First, I planned ahead, and had some meals put in the freezer that I knew he would enjoy and that would be easy to just throw in the oven. When others provided meals that we all loved, it was great. More dinners stocked away for another day. Heck, loads of times we would eat breakfast for dinner,which was easy peasy, and when the kids got cereal for dinner – they were ecstatic.
Ordering groceries online, and having them delivered can be a huge help. Oh, if only this had been available when my children were young. Grocery shopping can be tiring after having a baby, so this is a great resource to use. Better yet – using a meal service for a week or two is would be awesome.
So, if I’m going to be totally honest, YES – I LET ME KIDS WATCH TV. Not for hours and hours on end, but more than usual, during those first weeks of having a newborn in the mix. I also tried to have a few extra new toys and craft supplies on hand for the older littles, to keep them occupied.
What tips do you have for households with a new baby?