Being a brand-new parent can feel overwhelming sometimes. It may feel like you spend every waking hour feeding, rocking, bathing and changing your baby. Leisure activities like reading, gardening and fitness begin to seem like a distant memory as you devote all your time to looking after the needs of your demanding infant.
Before the baby arrived, you and your partner promised yourselves that you would still make time for date nights and time alone, but now that the baby’s here, you find yourself too stressed out and exhausted at the end of a long day to do anything other than flop down in bed and immediately fall asleep. But making time for yourself – and each other – as new parents is essential for your sanity and well-being. Here are some helpful tips on how to carve out those precious hours.
1. Choose an at-home hobby.
Maybe you and your partner loved taking weekend trips to visit countryside wineries, or finding new challenging hiking trails to inspire you. Obviously, those pastimes won’t be possible with a newborn, so find a new hobby you can do at home.
Challenge yourself by learning a new language or starting an at-home fitness routine. Take up drawing or painting, either on your own or with your spouse. Or, put a bird feeder near a window in your home and learn to identify the species that are native to your area.
2. Plan activities after you put the baby to bed.
Once you’ve rocked your little one to sleep and tucked him or her safely away in bed, make time for you and your partner to enjoy each other’s company. Find recipes you can cook as a team, play board games, watch a movie or just enjoy a quiet conversation. Don’t miss opportunities to connect with your spouse – the two of you are going through the journey of new parenthood together.
3. Meet a friend for lunch.
It’s worth rearranging your schedule occasionally to make time to meet with friends. Don’t neglect friendships because you are a new parent. Getting out for some “adult time” is especially important if you’ve chosen to be a stay-at-home parent.
4. Schedule a playdate.
If your friends have little ones too, getting together with them and their children is a fun way to maintain friendships while still spending time with your child. As your baby grows, playdates can also serve as an essential way to help develop his or her social skills.
5. Find activities you can do as a family.
Just because you’re focused on your baby doesn’t mean you have to drop everything you used to love before becoming a parent. You can do some of the same activities with a baby that you enjoyed before, though you may have to scale them back slightly to accommodate your baby’s needs. For example, if you were an avid runner, you can still visit your favorite parks and trails with your baby in tow, though you may have to settle for a brisk walk instead of a run.
Parenting Is Life’s Greatest Challenge
Obviously, having children is a life-changing experience. It will alter your world in ways you could never have predicted, but you can still find time for yourself and your partner in this new role. Embrace it and learn to grow as a parent, and you’ll find joy in every stage.