5 Secrets for Stress-Free Parenting

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It’s official. We are the most stressed out generation of parents. Stress-free parenting does not seem to be the norm nor the exception. 

A new study from the DDB Worldwide Communications Group revealed that millennial moms feel more pressure and stress than their own mothers did before them in the baby boomer generation. 

In short, mothering today is much more intensive than it was even ten or twenty years ago. Gone are the days of kicking kids outside to play alone and calling them home for dinner. Today’s parents are conditioned to be heavily involved, emotionally invested, career and self-esteem coaches, and all-around selfless vessels of undying love.

But the heavy-hitting form of parenting comes with a price. As an article in the Chicago Tribune explains, “About 30 percent of the young moms surveyed said they felt like they lost their identity because they were moms, compared with 10 percent of older moms.”

Not exactly great news for newly-expecting mothers, right? But the good news is, you can (and should) prepare during your pregnancy to be a happy, stress-free mom. 

Image via J & J Brusie Photography

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Secret #1}

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1. Give yourself time to get your body back. There is an unbelievable amount of pressure for new moms to “get their bodies back” after having a baby. And while I fully, fully understand how the post-partum period can be hard because you just don’t feel all like yourself, I can also assure you that the benefits of enjoying your baby are so much more important than stressing over your body. You will start to feel like more of yourself again, I promise, but for some women, it simply takes more time than others. Give yourself at least a year or until you are done breastfeeding (it’s my theory that breastfeeding actually makes you hold onto excess weight) before you worry about whipping yourself into shape. You won’t remember the time you spent exercising but I guarantee you that you will remember those precious moments cuddling your baby.

Image via Flickr/ Preston Smalley

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Secret #2}

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2. Educate your partner on the signs of post-partum depression. While it’s incredibly important for you to know the signs of PPD, especially if you’ve had an unplanned pregnancy, it’s even more important that your partner is aware of the signs too. When you are suffering from PPD, it’s easy to push away help or deny the situation, but if your partner is aware and on alert for what to watch out for, he may be able to intervene more quickly.

Image via Flickr/ Lee Haywood

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3. Establish communication now. The single hardest part about becoming a mother? The shocking and overwhelming reality of it all. Sure, in theory, you may think you know what having a baby is like, but the truth is, once junior arrives on the scene you may very well be blown away by how difficult and time-consuming having a baby is. It is so easy, especially if you are breastfeeding, to find yourself growing resentful of your partner’s role; so early on in your pregnancy, set up open lines of communication so you can freely head off problems before they explode in those sleep deprived first days. Even something as easy as, “Hey, honey, I’m feeling like you’re not understanding how hard breastfeeding is,” can do the trick to get the conversation going.

Image via Flickr/ Renee Barron

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4. Don’t lose sight of fun. Just remember, it doesn’t all have to be hard. There have been times when I’ve been so exhausted that a screaming baby in the middle of the night makes me want to whip a dirty diaper at my husband’s head; instead, I’ve found if we learn to laugh about it, that nighttime screaming session suddenly gets a whole lot easier. Keep your sense of humor about pregnancy and navigating parenthood and I promise, it will make all the difference.

Image via Flickr/ Helga Weber 

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5. Give yourself permission to change your mind. You may have been dead set on attachment parenting or certain you would never allow your baby to have anything except breast milk. I get it. We all want to be the best parents we can possibly be. But sometimes (or most of the time) parenting is a fast lesson in on-the-job training. The most important thing you can do to ensure that you are a stress-free is to give yourself permission to change your mind. No guilt allowed.

Image via Flickr/ Esther Gibbons

How are you preparing for parenthood? Do you think becoming a parent will be stressful? 

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5 Secrets for Stress-Free Parenting

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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5 comments

  1. Toljiana says:

    I have 3 children, 4, 11, & going on 17. being flexible is definitely a must. I am newly retired after an accident, so I have a little more time on my hands to deal with the kids. When I was working it was a killer o get everything done and all the exra curricular activities they have. Each has their own personality and are at different stages of life so we have to adjust to them in order to do the best for them. Even not working, it’s still a difficult task. I agree that going with the flow helps, but they still need some kind of schedule for certain things. m 11 yr old has special needs & scheduling helps me keep hi on task, if not all goes to hades in a hand basket! There’s no book for it so each child is different and I fel you have to go according to them for their sake and your sanity.

  2. Maggie says:

    These are great tips…. for pregnant, soon-to-be moms. But what happens as the years the go on? How do you still maintain “stress-free parenting”? My son is now 3 years old and I feel more stressed out now than I ever did before. As far as getting back to pre-pregnancy body, I didn’t really have an issue with that; I was back in my regular jeans after like 3 months, and I breast fed, and the father wasn’t around too much at the time and I also worked full time as a bartender, which meant late hours, and I never had any PPD problems, much to my surprise as depression has always been a struggle for me, but I feel I handled it all very well. Now, three years later, I am a wreck! I have been out of work now for about a year and job hunting like crazy; it’s almost become an obsession now, and I am a full time student which obviously means no income, therefore I am stuck living with my very over-bearing mother. Luckily for my son, his father has finally come around. I feel like the PPD was a late bloomer and is just now hitting me. So I guess the point I’m trying to get at, is that as helpful as these tips may be, I don’t think they extend to after the baby is an infant

  3. Wendy says:

    I am a mother of 4 boys from age 3 mo to 11 yrs. I have learned to go with the flow and forget the schedule! I work full time, 9hrs a day 5 days a week. Flexibility is must in my home to prevent the stress. Kids need to learn to be flexible with their schedule. Sometimes you get stuck somewhere unexpected and the kids are fine and go with the flow. I tried the schedule with the first one, but what a pain! If I was late on feeding or nap time, what a disaster! Screaming kids! Ugh! My kids are still well behave and mannered even though the schedule was thrown out the door!

  4. Brenda says:

    I wish I would have read these during the ending of pregnancy/beginning of motherhood. I agree, it was tough to really find yourself back after dealing with an emotional rollercoaster. Finally, after 3 months of fighting a daughter to get her on schedule, I decided to change my parenting ways and “go with the flow”. It worked so much better for the both of us. I just wish I wasn’t so stubborn in the beginning to not straying away from a schedule. I agree with these and think they are helpful tips for any mom-to-be.

  5. Bethany says:

    These are some good tips to keep in mind. We can’t be perfect parents, and can only try our best.

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