Adjusting to life as a stay-at-home-mum can be tough if you’re used to having a full-time office job. Here are three tips to ease you into this transition.
WORDS REBECCA WONG
Establish a Routine
Most mums agree that the first few months of having a newborn are overwhelming, and go by in a haze. When things settle down, it may be beneficial to establish a weekly routine. “That involves coming up with a rough guideline of what your week looks like from Monday to Friday, incorporating exclusive time with the baby, bonding with your husband, or a dinner with friends,” describes Silvia Wetherell, counsellor and psychotherapist at The Choolani Clinic and co-founder of support group Mindful Mums.
Having structure also prevents you from waking up stressed about what to do for the day ahead – Wetherell relates how many mothers are particularly anxious on Sunday nights, when their husbands have to return to work on Monday, and they’re left with the baby for the rest of the week. Of course, flexibility is always necessary, but planning ahead can help you regain a sense of control and calmness in the midst of such monumental changes.
Make Time for Yourself
We can’t emphasise this enough, but taking time out for your own needs and desires is absolutely essential. “The motherhood role needs to be integrated into who you are – if you become completely mother-centric, you are out of balance,” cautions Wetherell.
Pursue something meaningful that isn’t baby-related,
be it a hobby such as baking, photography,
exercise or even studying an online course.
Anoushka Beh, psychologist, family therapist, and director of Abehpsych Counselling Services (www.abehpsych.com) also recommends time-out through daily reflection, journaling, and nurture other parts of yourself, such as your role as a wife and friend to those around you.
Most importantly, don’t let guilt get in the way of carving out “me” time. “A lot of mothers tend to feel guilty about this, but taking care of your baby is only sustainable if you’re refilling your tank,” notes Beh. “Loving your child better comes from you being fulfilled, and permission to be other versions of yourself is absolutely realistic.”
Ask for Help
Last, but not least, know that it’s perfectly fine to ask for help. We all want to be seen as strong and independent women, but going at it solo not only sets you up for exhaustion but the risk of post-partum depression as well, reminds Wetherell.
Be vocal about needing support from
your husband, parents, friends, or a private therapist.
“Women have shared how speaking to a professional or trained volunteer can offer encouragement and empathy,” advises Tan, who recommends additional sources for support including the AWARE Helpline (1800 774 5935, Mon - Fri, 3pm - 9.30pm) and Family Service Centres where women can learn about the financial support schemes they qualify for.