If you were lucky enough to find a new house and then have a new baby, congrats! A new home along with a new addition to your family is a big adjustment. Then, if you take a maternity leave, you go back to work with this new identity as a working mom. This is more change piled on top of your big transition into a new home and into motherhood.
It can all be very overwhelming! Here are five tips to help ease you through this big transition period of your life.
Finding the Right Place for Everything in Your Home
When you moved into your new home you unpacked all of your belongings. When your baby was born you made room for all the baby gear and clothes. Things can feel cluttered with this massive amount of stuff! Until every item in your home has its designated spot, or it's home, you will feel like your home is cluttered with "stuff".
Unless your significant other is a great organizer the organization responsibility rests on your shoulders. Every few months your baby's needs change and with that they'll need new stuff and you'll purge their old stuff. The process of finding the right home for all this stuff will always be a work in progress.
So how do you organize all this stuff plus work a 40-hour work week?
Before yous start base the goal of your organizational project on the amount of time you have and how much energy you have. Tackling something too big will make you feel defeated so avoid setting yourself up for failure.
Break your house up into very small chunks. For example break your living room up into chunks like the right corner of the room, the left corner of the room, the area around the couch, the TV area, and the end tables. Focusing on small chunks like these helps keep you focus on what you set out to do.
Once you have found a good home for your family's belongings it is your duty to instruct your significant other where things. Explain that this will be a work in progress so every few months share where you've put things so you are not always the one putting stuff away. Before you share your organizational changes with your significant other get eye contact to get their attention and then share.
Create a Nice Exit Area
Let the busiest time of your day, like coming home from work, help you decide how to organize your entrance way or exit area. Where do you dump everything when you get home? Do you walk around putting things away? Do you drop everything in the corner so you can just sit down?
When you get home put your keys on a hook for easy access during your morning rush. If your purse isn't too heavy (because that's bad for your back) put this on a hook, too. As for other bags like work bags laptop bag, baby bag, breast pump bag, and lunch bag (gosh that's a lot of bags isn't it?) dump them on the floor to be unpacked later or in a large basket. Except for your breast milk, get that right into the fridge!
Create Small Daily Goals and Priorities
An unfocused mind is vulnerable to things like mommy guilt, the comparison game, or aiming for perfection.
Set your sights on a few small goals like have a great morning exit, complete a few work projects, and take a bath at night. This taste of daily success gives you joy during this big transition.
Make a Spot in Your Home for You
When the day is done pick a spot in your home to retreat to. This can be a spot where you relieve some stress with your guilty pleasures like binge watching TV while eating ice cream or reading your magazines.
Have a basket near your spot with all of your entertainment needs. In the basket put your magazines, the book you're reading, your tablet and earbuds, your journal, and/or adult coloring books and pencils. This basket could also store paperwork you need to fill out and your weekly to-do list. The basket can be for things to relax with as well as work you need to complete.
Create a Self-Care Plan You Can't Resist
Doing something for yourself is probably the last thing on your mind and this is a huge mistake. If you have a plan to follow you'll stand a better chance of taking care of yourself often so you can take better care of everyone else.
What are the things you like to do other than take care of your baby, keep the house clean, and perform well at work? Drawing a blank? During those 1 AM feedings, when you're surfing your favorite social media platform what posts or pictures are you envious of and why? Put those kinds of things on your self-care to-do list and then plan out time.
Some things you could put on your self-care plan is creating healthy lunches so you don't spend your lunch break driving to find food. You could learn relaxing yoga moves and practice them right before bed for a better night sleep. You could wear the sleeping mask at night if the baby monitor light is too bright for your eyes. It's these special things that treat your body well that will get you through tough times.
Form Your Support System
They say it takes a village to raise a family because it's true. You are not meant to do everything on your own. The first step to forming a support system is learning to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength! Start off with small requests to your significant other. They are capable of doing what you do. Perfection is not the goal here, good enough is.
Next, get specific about what you need from your support system. Know the five W's, who could help you, what you need them to do, where you'd need the help and when, and why you need them. When you have the five W's defined you are able to set expectations both with yourself and your support team.
Get Up Early
Get into the habit of waking up before your baby. Start your day off slow with a hot cup of coffee, a good book, meditation, or writing in your journal. It's so much better to start the day on your own terms instead of someone else's.
You don't feel as rushed and feel prepared for when the baby wakes up needing you. Plus you get to appreciate the new home you have.
Change is hard to cope with. You are thinking about many challenges like picking out new furniture, re-decorating, watching that your baby is hitting their milestones, sick kid appointments with a new doctor, calling in sick but you're not sick your baby is, mommy guilt, and trying balance work with your new life. This is the best time in your life to be easy on yourself.
Now it's time for a pep talk: Believe in yourself. This time in your life is confusing because of all the unknowns. Trying to communicate with someone who can't talk back is hard work! But you were born to do this. You will figure it all out. Take care of you and everything else will take care of itself because you'll have the energy to do so.