When a second (or third, or fourth, etc) child arrives, the new constraints on your time and energy can leave you feeling anxious and extremely tired, so it is especially important at this time that you enlist the help and support of any willing family members and friends.
Getting your partner to help out
If you are part of a two-parent household, make sure your partner is ready and available to help out even more than before, with the practical side of seeing to your older child while you attend to the baby and vice versa. Take it in turns to see to the baby through the night, so that you both get a chance to catch up with sleep and re-charge your batteries for the challenges of the next day.
For working parents, having another child to look after can be a real shock to the system. Where before, you may have had some time to yourself in the evenings after your child had gone to bed, you now have to deal with the demanding needs of a baby. Looking after another child means lots of extra work: an extra meal, extra cuddles before bedtime and, although it may be a wonderful feeling to know that your family is growing, it also means more of your own time is devoted to the family.
Talk about your feelings
Talking to someone - your partner, family, friends, a support group (e.g. mum and baby group) - about your feelings, worries and parenting stories, can help you to feel less alone in your anxieties and physical tiredness. When the people in your life know what you need, they will be in a better position to support you: some babysitting, so you can have a rest or a night out, or just knowing that you’d appreciate a call to sound off about the day. It all helps to give you back some time, so that you're not left feeling that your own personal needs have been forgotten or substituted for your children’s.
Family Lives top tips
- Don’t feel guilty about wanting to take some time out for yourself to recharge your batteries. It may just be a soak in the bath (providing the kids aren’t around and hammering on the door!) or a cup of tea while watching your favourite soap uninterrupted.
- Think about your own interests and doing something for yourself once a week such as an evening class or exercise session. If you are a lone parent, you could ask a friend to babysit and offer to return the favour.
- Even if you are on a budget, try to find some way to pamper yourself as it will help you to feel rejuvenated.
- Book some time in for yourself rather than filling every available minute doing chores. Sit and read a magazine in your lunch hour rather than tearing around the shops or pop around to see a friend while the children are at school. By doing that you’re not tempted to do housework!
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