mom and baby smiling at each other

Coping with Quitting – 8 Ways to Battle New Mom Syndrome

Have you recently had a new baby?  Do you feel tired and bit lost?  Are you reading this with your hair in a ponytail, wearing sweats, wishing you’d been able to take a shower in the past day or two? If so, you may have New Mom Syndrome. Even though it is rarely discussed while you’re pregnant, the first year being a parent can be exhausting!

Coping with Quitting - 8 Ways to Battle New Mom Syndrome

Before I was married with children, I was a successful career woman. I had big responsibilities, big prestige, and a big paycheck. After I got married and we were expecting our first child, however, my husband and I decided it would be important for me to quit my job and stay home with our kids. We knew it would be a financial sacrifice; but, it was a sacrifice that we were willing to make.

I looked forward to the day when I would be my own boss, be home raising our precious child, and be able to really get my priorities in check.

The feelings I had after I was actually at home with a newborn baby, however, were shockingly different than what I had expected to have. The transition from career woman to motherhood can be bumpy one.

Here are some practical tips for dealing with some of those unexpected feelings:

 

Feeling like you aren’t getting anything done

When you are used to having a career, it can be very frustrating to suddenly be at home and not have anything tangible to show your husband that you’ve accomplished at the end of your day. Sometimes getting out of bed, changing diapers, and feeding a baby don’t feel as significant as what you used to do at work.  Here are some new stay at home mom tips for feeling a sense of accomplishment:

  • Make yourself a To Do list – It can be very hard to think clearly about what needs to be done when you are sleep deprived. Make yourself a list of daily chores that you’d like to accomplish and then you won’t have to waste any precious time thinking when an opportunity presents itself.
  • Keep Track of Everything you accomplish – Remember, if you’re able to take a shower that day, write it down – it counts!
  • Be sure to make daily goals for yourself – You will feel better if you are able to accomplish things throughout your day above and beyond feeding and changing your baby. But your time will be very limited for awhile so keep your goals realistic.

mom smiling while pulling babies in a wagon

Feeling like you aren’t contributing because you don’t earn a paycheck

When you are used to bringing home a paycheck, it can be quite a letdown to no longer do so. Here are new stay at home mom tips with practical advice for battling these feelings:

  • Realize the value of your new tasks at home – How much would you spend to have someone else clean your house, be a nanny to your child, run errands, etc.  Tally up the cost of these services to give yourself a realization of your worth.
  • Find ways to save money – You can look through sales ads, cut coupons, do tasks yourself instead of having them hired out, and many other things in order to save your family money. Get creative with this one and watch your household costs go down.
  • Think of how much money you save by staying home – You can eat out less, buy less expensive clothing, save gas money, etc. when you don’t work outside of the home. Again, tally up these costs to get an idea of how much money you are saving your family.

Feeling like you are losing your friends

When women work outside of the home, they are often surrounded by other people throughout the day.  It can be quite a shock to suddenly be at home alone with a baby with no other adults around.  Here are some new stay at home mom tips for things you can do to stay in contact with friends:

  • Schedule play dates with other moms – When babies are really little they won’t care where they are; but as they get older, this will also give them a social outlet as well. It’s a win-win situation.
  • Attend church functions with other women – Get involved in a Bible Study, a Mothers Of Preschoolers group, or with any other group of women who share your interests. Many daytime women’s groups offer childcare as well, to give moms a much needed break.
  • Stay in touch with some of your closer friends from work – Schedule lunch or an evening out with them occasionally. Even a 10-minute phone call on their break can help – that reconnection to the adult world can do wonders for your attitude.

Feeling like you are growing apart from your spouse

When you are tired and busy with a new baby, it’s easy to take your spouse for granted. This might be the first time in your relationship that you haven’t had your spouse on the forefront of your mind. Many new moms feel more distant toward their spouse than they ever have – too tired and grungy-feeling for intimacy and too insecure about their new bodies.  Here are some new stay at home mom tips for overcoming these feelings and regaining that closeness with your spouse:

  • Regular Date Nights – Date nights are especially important when you have a young baby. Try to enlist grandparents to babysit, if possible, and use this time to reconnect with your spouse.
  • Special Time With Spouse – New babies sleep a lot. Be sure to take advantage of this time to have some special time with your spouse. Throw a picnic blanket on the ground in front of the fireplace and have a romantic glass of apple cider. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – in fact, the simpler the better as the baby might wake up at any time. Just find a simple activity to do together or have a short conversation about anything other than the baby to help keep your relationship fresh.
  • Focus on being a good wife – When you are tired and anxious about a new baby, it is easy to focus on yourself and your needs. Try to remember that your husband is also going through a transition and try to give him what he needs as well. Moving the focus from yourself to your husband will actually help you to feel better as well.

Feeling like you are losing touch with the outside world

When you have a new baby, especially if the weather is colder, you will find yourself spending a lot more time at home than you are used to. This can easily cause new moms to feel isolated. Here are some new stay at home mom tips for staying connected with the outside world:

  • Turn on the TV or the radio – Listen to a talk show or listen to music that you enjoy. Hearing those human voices can help you to feel more connected.
  • Utilize e-mail or the telephone – You may not be able to get out as much as you are used to, but you can chat with friends through e-mail or on the phone. Having a close friend who checks her e-mail often can be your lifeline to the outside world.
  • Enjoy running for errands – Take advantage of trips to the grocery store, to the beauty salon, or to the laundromat. Bring a glass of your favorite tea with you.  Listen to some relaxing music while you drive.  You will find that if you go to these places during the day, people are in much less of a rush. The pace is slower and friendlier and you will be much more likely to bump into a fellow customer or cashier who would also appreciate a short conversation and a smile.

mom and toddler son smiling

Feeling tired and depressed

All new moms feel tired and many of them will also have some mild feelings of depression. Sleep deprivation, aching muscles, and demanding nursing schedules all contribute to a new mom not feeling her best.  Here are some new stay at home mom tips for feeling your best and maintaining a positive attitude:

  • Take a shower every morning – Even if have to put the baby in his or her car seat and bring it into the bathroom with you, it’s refreshing to take regular showers. Also, take a few minutes to put on some light makeup and to do your hair whenever possible. Even just brushing your teeth and running a brush through your hair helps!  You will feel better about yourself and this will have an amazingly positive effect on your attitude.
  • Sleep whenever the baby sleeps – It can be tempting to sit and gaze at your newborn baby whenever they are sleeping. You need to resist this temptation sometimes so that you can catch up on some of your sleep. This is especially true if you are nursing and are handling all the night time feedings by yourself.
  • Take a bubble bath on a Saturday morning – When your husband is home, you need to let him help out with the baby. Ask him to be on baby duty for an hour and draw yourself a nice, hot bubble bath. This will be renewing for you – and it will help your husband to bond with the baby as well.

Feeling like you are losing your own identity

New moms are understandably preoccupied with their newborns and their needs. But over time, they can start to start to forget who they are as a woman. Fortunately, there are some simple things new moms can do to rediscover who they are. Here are some stay at home mom tips for rediscovering yourself:

  • Leave the baby with your spouse and get out of the house – Try to have occasional short trips to the store all by yourself. This will give you a chance to think – and to get refreshed so you’ll be able to better take care of your baby when you return home.
  • Give yourself a treat – Buy yourself something small, have your favorite food, go shopping… do something small for yourself. This will help you to reconnect with the inner you.
  • Quiet Time for yourself – Read a book, have some devotional time, get your scrapbook caught up, spend some time on your hobby… give yourself short bursts of time when you do something that you enjoy. The best time to do this is when the baby is napping.

Feeling like your brain is turning to mush

Days filled with changing diapers, feeding a baby, cleaning the house, and laundry can sometimes feel mentally draining – especially when you’re used to having a career outside of the home. Fortunately, you can find things to do which will help you to keep your mind active.  Here are some stay at home mom tips for keeping your thinking sharp:

  • Maintain a hobby – Continue doing some of the things that you enjoyed before you had children. I loved to spend time doing genealogy research on the computer when my oldest son was a small baby. I would wait for him to take his nap and then jump on-line. Scrapbooking, reading, and other indoor hobbies are also wonderful ways to stimulate you mentally while your baby is sleeping.
  • Puzzle books and card games – Work some crossword puzzles, logic puzzles, word searches… even spider solitaire on the computer can help you to feel challenged mentally.
  • Television – Be careful about this one because watching endless amounts of TV can make your brain feel even mushier. But watching educational or home improvement programming can be a great way to occasionally spend time while you’re feeding the baby – and help you to learn something new at the same time. Home improvement shows, especially, helped me to dream about projects I wanted to try around the house. And that helped me to have a more positive attitude as well since I was suddenly spending so much time around home.

As you can see, there are lots of simple things you can do to improve your outlook when you are a new mom. And having a positive attitude will help everything in your day to seem better. Before you know it, your newborn will be toddling around the house and you’ll wonder where the time went. Hang in there! The transition from career to home can be tough – but it will be one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. And you’ll know it was worth all the sacrifice and the work every time you see your child smile at you.

Coping with Quitting - 8 Ways to Battle New Mom Syndrome
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Question:  Have you recently quit your job to stay home with a new baby?  Have you found other clever ways to avoid some of these negative feelings?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below!