New motherhood is a rocky transition period, spotted with sleepless nights, physical discomfort, and the confusion that comes with caring for a newborn baby. We’re of the belief that new parents deserve all the support they can find—and none of the negatives that society so often piles up against them (hello, stress and shame, we’re talking to you!). To that end, we’re highlighting four new mom habits we’re urging every parent among us to let go of this year.
Putting everyone else first
As parents—more specifically, as moms—we’re conditioned to put our children above everyone else, including ourselves. Of course, when our babies are dependent upon us to meet every one of their basic needs, there are certainly some situations we can’t ignore: Count feeding and diaper-changing among them. But each time I find myself stretched too thin, I remember the safety instructions of every airline out there: In case of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks above your seat will deploy, please place the mask on yourself first and then assist your child or other passengers. You can’t help others, if you don’t take time to tend to your own needs first.
This year, I challenge every new mom to take time for herself. Leave your little one in your partner’s care and take a long, hot shower—or maybe a yoga class or a walk. Whatever it is you do, make sure you only have to worry about one person—you.
Feeding into mom shame
Does it ever seem to you that the Internet exists solely to shame moms for their parenting decisions? No matter where you click, you’ll find someone poised to poke fun at you—or worse, verbally harass you—for every choice you make where your baby is concerned. Make this the year you decide to ignore other’s opinions of you. You alone know what’s best for your child, whether that’s co-sleeping or bottle-feeding. Should someone come your way with a rude remark, smile and move on.
Over-stocking the toy box
As your baby grows, you’ll find that your family and friends cannot resist spoiling him or her with toys. The result? A home that’s exploding with children’s toys and a complete sense of overwhelm and chaos. As my child grows up, I’m focusing on a one-in-one-out method, meaning we handpick toys to pack up and donate to charity when we bring a new item home. During the holidays, I’ll routinely set aside a few toys as well to reintroduce at a later date, meaning there’s less clutter hitting my living room all at once. Worried you’ll somehow deprive your little one? Don’t. A recent study showed that fewer toys spark a toddler’s imagination more effectively and result in better quality playtime.
In 2018, make a pact with yourself to step away from Instagram. Not only do strangers not need to see every waking moment of you and baby’s life—but the social media platform has also been linked in multiple studies to negative mental health outcomes, most notably hikes in depression rates. If your social addiction is strong, consider weaning yourself away slowly: delete the app, set special times for social networking, or choose a new account to unfollow each week. If all else fails, remember this: the images we see gracing our feeds are curated moments from a messy human life. We’re viewing the highlight reel and there’s no comparing that to the full life experience we’re living day-to-day.