How to Smooth Your Way Into Mommyhood

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There’s a baby coming, bringing with him or her out countless hours of joy … as well as spills, puke and sleepless nights when you’ll be wondering why they won’t stop crying. It’s an emotional roller-coaster, to say the least, but the positives will outweigh the negatives if you make the right preparations. That’s especially important for single mothers-to-be who have no partner to rely on. No matter what your relationship status, keep your head up and follow this advice.

Write a Birth Plan

It’s a document that lets doctors, nurses and midwives know how you would like to give birth, including who is present during labor, what forms of pain relief you allow yourself to use, and what to do with the placenta. The experts at Parents have drawn up a checklist to make it easy for you to create the perfect natal environment, but bear in mind that your preferences may be ignored in the case of an emergency.

Get the Right Gear

A stroller, clothes, diapers: The costs certainly add up. Luckily, an experienced mother with Eco Baby Steps has come up with a list of things that you will definitely need, followed by others that would come in handy. Prioritize and use your baby shower wish list wisely. Plus, the other mothers in your life may have some things left over from raising their children. You may not have to pay much at all if anything.

Prepare Their Room

You want to make sure that you have easy access to everything you need to care for a baby in their room. A designer writing in lifestyle magazine Today suggests keeping diapers, wipes and other changing items to the side of your dominant hand. As for the overall theme, it can be exhausting to choose one, because there are so many options. Start with the furniture, followed by a color palette and decorations to match.

Simplify Your Daily Routine

Now, back to you. Time is of the essence once taking care of the baby becomes your first priority. But your household isn’t going to take care of itself, so you need to streamline your tasks to get them done quickly. The first step is to automate all of your bill-paying so you don’t waste precious time on finances, then find ways to speed up your morning routine and save time on cooking by preparing food in batches.

See a Therapist Now

Even if you’re not dealing with any negative emotions now, they’ll help you determine your susceptibility to postpartum depression based on a number of factors, such as the history of mental illness in your family or incidences of abuse during your own childhood. It’s good to understand your treatment options now just in case you need to see someone later.

Make Self-Care a Priority

Start with the basic elements of overall good health. That means getting some exercise, eating healthy and staying hydrated. Moreover, you should find ways to relieve stress, and there are plenty of ideas to consider, such as taking a walk, practicing yoga, deep breathing or watching the sunrise or sunset. Don’t be afraid to pamper yourself at the spa. You’ve earned it!

Reach Out to Friends and Family

As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. Create your support network now by talking to friends and family about the help you’ll most likely need. That could be someone taking care of the baby, helping with the cooking and cleaning, or taking you to the doctor’s office. There’s always paid help if you can fit it into your budget.

Talk to Other Moms

You’ll find plenty of wisdom and comfort from women who have already been where you’re going, whether it’s advice on putting your baby to sleep or just a shoulder to cry on when the going gets tough. Nowadays, you’ll even find plenty of helpful communities online if there’s no one who can be there for you physically.

It may seem like more than you can handle, but there’s plenty to look forward to, like the baby’s first words, first steps and first day at school. One day, you’ll look back and wish you could do it all again.

Amanda Henderson

Check out more by Amanda at http://safechildren.info/

How to Successfully Stay Sober While Being the Best Parent Possible

Photo Credit: Pexels,        Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

Making the decision to be both sober and be the best parent you can be is the best gift that you can give your child. It is a great decision to make, and while it is certainly possible, it will not be easy. But you want to show your child that it is better to live a life that is happy, useful, and sober. You want to show your child that it is possible to cultivate coping skills outside of drugs or alcohol.

Addiction causes severe disruption in families, and usually it is the children of addicts who suffer the most. Whether you are an expecting parent looking to start parenthood with a clean slate or you have been a parent for awhile and you are ready to become sober, your child can only benefit from your sobriety.

Staying Sober

To be the best possible parent, you have to first tend to your own needs. Unfortunately, parents tend to overcompensate for this by putting their needs on the back burner. Preserving sobriety requires you to prioritize self-care, so be sure you maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen. In addition, manage stress, get adequate sleep, and do not forget to have fun with your child.

Having a routine is an important part of staying sober, but having a child can mess up your old routine. Do not let that deter you. Just develop a new routine that incorporates caring for your child and yourself. It may take a bit to get into a rhythm, but that is normal for any parent.

Being a parent does not mean you cannot ask for help. In fact, most parents need support from their spouse, loved ones, friends, and coworkers. Although you may not have a spouse, you can ask a neighbor, friend, or family member to help you, even if it is just for 30 minutes so you can take a shower and eat a warm meal.

Child Care Woes

If you find it difficult to attend a mutual-help meeting because you lack sufficient child care, ask if you are able to bring your child. Some meetings are specifically tailored to recovering moms and/or dads. These programs not only understand if you need to bring your child, but they are great for helping you learn to integrate self-care into a daily lifestyle as a parent.

You can do several things to merge self-care and childcare. If you like to walk, use a stroller and take your child with you. Perform yoga stretches while your child plays on the floor with you, and some exercises use your baby as part of the routine. You can place your child in a playpen or special baby seat while you shower or clean.

Remember to be grateful. Stay focused on your sobriety by writing down five things you are grateful for every day. They can be the same things, or you can switch them up. Chances are, you will include “family” fairly often. Family means a great deal to people so spend as much time as you can with your family. This does not just mean those whom you are related to; friends count as family too. Surrounding yourself with people who love and support you is crucial.

Join an online recovery forum to help you stay sober. They offer live chats, online meetings, online resources, and more. Staying sober can be a daily battle, but your health and happiness, as well as your child’s, are worth the effort. By staying focused and remembering to care for yourself and ask for help, you can successfully stay sober and be a good parent.

- Michelle Peterson believes the journey to sobriety should not be one of shame but of pride. Her mission is aligned with that of Recoverypride.org, which is to celebrate sobriety and those who achieve it.