Column: Reducing stress for new momsMay 4, 2021
By ALICIA SLATON
Youth First Inc.
Being a new mom brings a wide range of emotions, whether you’re a first-time mom or a seasoned veteran. New babies pose new challenges and worries.
If you plan to be a working mom, whether you decide to stay home for six weeks or three months, the time will come when you must return to work. This too presents a whole new set of challenges.
The responsibilities and expectations from home continue as you add on stress and expectations at work. It often feels like you must make difficult decisions and set aside one for the other.
For example, you might be faced with the need to work overtime, which then means your kids eat a fast-food dinner from a drive-thru. Or perhaps you have to drop your children off at daycare early so you can get to work and catch up from the day before.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to help you balance work and home life. It is OK to continue working without feeling you are neglecting your children. It is also OK to spend extra time with your children without feeling that you are failing at your job.
Here are some suggestions for easing the transition back to work as a new mom:
• Ask for help when you need it. They say it takes a village, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Instead of dragging the kids to the grocery store each week, schedule a grocery order pickup and ask a family member to pick it up for you. This will save more time (and stress) than you know.
• Put off unnecessary tasks. The laundry is washed and dried but not put away. So what? It’s OK to live out of the clean laundry basket for a week, I promise. Also, there are often ways to hire affordable help for tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
• Stay connected. Whether it’s a night out with the girls, a daily check-in phone call with a parent or a kid-free date night with your spouse, stay connected to your loved ones.
• Focus on stress management. According to verywellmind.com, “stressed working moms often find themselves less able to connect with their children or focus at work, which may lead to acting out by the kids, time-consuming mistakes at work, and other things that increase stress for working moms and their families. Therefore, taking a proactive stance on stress management is quite important.”
It’s essential to have several quick stress relievers in your toolkit. Breathing exercises and reframing techniques (alternative ways of looking at stressful situations), as well as long-term strategies such as regular exercise, meditation or a hobby, can help relieve stress for working moms and their families.
There’s no such thing as a “perfect” working mom. The important thing to remember is that you are a good mom and a good employee. All you need is a healthy balance between the two.
Alicia Slaton, LSW, is the Youth First Social Worker at North Elementary School in Posey County. Youth First Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening youth and families, provides 64 Master's level social workers to 92 schools in 11 Indiana counties. Over 60,000 youth and families per year are served by Youth First's school social work and after school programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors and maximize student success. To learn more about Youth First, visit youthfirstinc.org or call 812-421-8336.
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