"Be patient with yourself. Put on your gas mask first, because you're useless to everyone else if you're too stressed out. Know when to take a break." –Kristen Bell
You’ve been at this parent gig for nearly a year now (say what?!). You’re a champion diaper bag packer, snack and sippy cup prepper, temper tantrum diffuser, and blowout changer. Your most impressive feat? Getting through each day when you are utterly, inconceivably exhausted for every second of it. There are times when you can’t even tie your own shoes, let alone your baby’s (which is why you now wear slip-ons exclusively).
Running on empty can feel lonely, overwhelming, and frustrating, leaving you to wonder if the fatigue and fog of “baby brain” will ever clear. The answer is: Yes! This season is relentless, we know, but it won’t last forever. If you’re missing pieces of your old self, focus on what you can do to make life a smidge easier. While it’s not realistic to prioritize ALL the things like sleep, a squeaky-clean diet, daily exercise, and an indulgent self-care routine, you can take baby steps (you know about those, right?) to get there. Pick one or two bite-sized ways to take care of yourself this month. Could you limit your phone use at night to see if it helps with that “tired and wired” feeling? Aim to get some sunshine every day, even if just for a few minutes? Set an alarm so you’ll actually remember to take your vitamins every day?
Your body has been through the wringer this year (especially if you’re the birthing parent), so it’s normal to feel physical and emotional burnout. When all else fails, remember to ask for help. If the offers have tapered off since your cutie arrived on the scene, it’s probably time to send out the distress signal to friends and family. PS: Loved ones want to support you, so spell out your needs. Can someone pick up your groceries next week? Clean your bathroom? Bring a meal? Please and thank you!
PRO HACK – If you haven’t already, seek out a local or online support group so you can connect with parents in the same boat as you. These communities chat about everything–sleep issues, poopy diapers, and how to cope on the hard days. These are your people!
SUPER PRO HACK – While not exactly a hack, many new parents forget that they have health needs, too. Consider whether physical therapy, acupuncture, counseling, or a general checkup with your doctor is in order. Then, ask your support network if they can watch your little rascal during the appointment. (A trip to the dentist has never felt like such a luxury!)