Find Time for the 'Other' in Motherhood
Parenthood can be an all-encompassing occupation, especially for mothers.
From the very first, mother and child become utterly absorbed in each other - after all, it is the strongest and most fundamental bond in life. While this absorption is, in many ways, necessary and joyful, it needs to be treated carefully. All too easily you can start to lose track of the other responsibilities and motivations in your life. You become a mother and nothing else. Obviously, the first few months are necessarily like this, but as time goes on, a balance needs to be established. You need to find time for other things, because these are vital for coping with the frequent pressures of parenthood.
Find time , for workEver since feminism came along, many women are determined to stick at their careers without letting the business of having children get in the way. They see themselves bounding back to their demanding job just weeks after giving birth. But the closeness, anxiety and the utter absorption surrounding the new baby can mean full-time work becomes very taxing. It's hard to put as much enthusiasm into it when your young child is waiting back at home. A good coping mechanism is flexible, part-time work. Giving up work completely is a bad idea as everyone needs a little intellectual employment - it's very important for your mental state. A flexible job is therefore a good compromise, at least until they're slightly older.
Find time, for friendsSpending so much time with your child can also mean you start to lose a grip on the rest of the social world. Spending time out with your friends is an important way to clutch onto your identity. Having friends who are going through the same experiences - i.e. they have children of a similar age - can be a real help getting you through the more trying stages of early motherhood. This way you have the best of both worlds: friends to have real conversations with and animated conversations about your favourite topic - the baby! You can even have play dates with these friends, looking after children together and chatting simultaneously.
Find time, for loveMake sure that you and your partner can find time apart from your child. It will be extremely important for your relationship, because time devoted to that is completely disrupted by an infant. If you're a single mother, it may be many months, maybe years, before you feel like seeing anyone again. But when you do feel the time is right for a new romantic adventure, make sure you find the time to start dating. Loving relationships are important.
Find time, for yourselfMost importantly of all, find time for yourself. A great way to do this is to set a day of the week where you will spend some time free from mothering duties. Book it in with your partner, babysitter or family member on a specific night of the week and make it a weekly event. Then you can do what you like on this night - keep up your health, practise that choice hobby or spend time in London dating. You will have the luxury of freedom to do whatever you want.
Naturally, you do need to spend a lot of time with your child, but don't get so absorbed in them that you forget to be anything other than a mother. Balance your time carefully and you'll find that you're able to cope better.
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