Balancing Work, Leisure and Love After Having a Baby
By Kathryn E. Livingston
Naturally, nothing matches your love for your baby. But when you've totally given up on romance, work is a nightmare, and your personal interests seem like distant memories, it's time for a balance check.
How can new moms find a better balance?Make Love a Priority
Research shows that when couples enjoy loving, happy, optimistic lives together, they're more likely to raise emotionally stable children, says Maryann Troiani. Attention, appreciation, and affection toward your partner will enhance your baby's emotional environment. That doesn't mean you need to plan a complicated, romantic getaway; the solution can be as simple as turning off the TV and spending an hour with your mate chatting over a glass of wine or a cup of tea.
Ease Back Into a Working Schedule
Instead of plunging into a full-time workday, try to build some balance into the transition. "Take one small step at a time," advises Troiani. "Women who put a lot of energy into their baby and then try to put just as much into work will just drain their batteries dry." If possible, ease back into work; try two or three days to start, or ask if you can work at home for part of the week.
Make Time for You
For some women, feeling good about their body is important, so that may mean putting your baby in a sports/health club childcare for an hour a day. Other moms might prefer to read a book, play the piano, get together with a friend for lunch, or get involved in community service.
Enlist Dad, your neighbor, a close friend or relative, but try to discover a way to have some personal time, even if it means spending your baby's naptime reading Sense & Sensibility instead of mopping the floor. "Your unique balance is what works," says Heitler, "and the test of a good balance is your emotional state."
Organize Your Priorities
While your baby is indisputably the star, you'll be a better mom if you're shining too. Moms share their advice on how they manage to get time to themselves: