My mother in law warned me that the transition from full-time work to full-time motherhood would be difficult after my first daughter was born, but, did I believe her? Absolutely not. What could be better than spending all my time in my pajamas snuggling with my newborn? Right? Well, fast forward to about three months ago when my husband pointed out to me that I had seemed less talkative and more tired all the time. I hadn’t noticed anything but the more I thought about it, the more I found myself feeling frequently lonely, drained, and unmotivated.
Finally, I called my doctor and explained to her what was going on. Turns out, being a new home mom can be a lot harder than it seems, and feeling a little down is totally normal in the transition from office to home. So! Here are some tips I have put together that have really helped me to become happier than ever alhumdulillah.
1. Get Dressed
For the first 6 months or so after I had my daughter and left work, I pretty much lived in sweatpants and baggy t-shirts. No rush to get ready for work in the morning, no more checking my hijab 10 times a day to see if it’s still pinned perfectly in place, no more pinchy business shoes... Comfy clothes all day every day and it was awesome. For a while anyway. But getting dressed in the morning is actually a huge and helpful push to start your day and get out of the house with your little one. Which brings me to the next tip...
2. Get out of the House!
Getting a week off work near Eid to lounge around the house is awesome. Getting an indefinite amount of time off work because you’ve had a baby and you have chosen to be a stay home mom... is a whole different ball-game. Rest when you need it, but don’t stay in your home all day every day, trust me. Take your children or baby to the park, on a walk, to the grocery store, a museum, the DMV, just anywhere that will allow you to feel not so isolated. Remember, your home should never feel like a jail!
3. Get Help.
For a while I didn’t want to ask for any help with my newborn because I felt silly. I have many friends with three or four children and I can’t handle one? Don’t think like that. Everybody can use a little break sometimes, be that from doing the dishes, washing the laundry, or manning the baby monitor. You are a great mom, and asking for assistance doesn’t change that.
(Pro tip: Call your mom or mother in law. They will probably be ecstatic to provide any assistance.)
4. Take Time for Yourself
This can be a hard one, but it is super important. Go to that spa you saw an ad for in the community newsletter, take a bubble bath while your kids and husband are asleep, find a quiet spot in a park and read a book for a few hours. It doesn’t make you a bad mom to have some “me” time once in awhile.
(Added bonus: This can be a great opportunity for your husband or in-laws to spend quality time with your kids!)
5. Teach Independent Play
My daughter is still a little young for this one, but my friends and doctor tell me this is maybe the most important tip. Teach your child to play independently and occupy themselves, especially if they are an only child. Independent play is equally as important for your child’s development as it is for your own sanity. Knowing how to play contently both alone and with a parent or in a group is an indicator of creativity and thinking skills within children. In addition, it will allow you a moment to breathe without having to constantly entertain.
6. Remember How Important You Are
Stepping away from your work routine and into your stay-home mom routine can feel like it’s a step-down. If your previous job was anything like mine, every day was full of people relying on you, complimenting good work, and trying to be as absolutely as productive as possible. But don’t be fooled! There is no job more important than motherhood, and even if nobody is there constantly recognizing and complimenting your hard work, that doesn’t mean what you do isn’t valuable.
Never forget, The Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said, “Your heaven lies under the feet of your mother.” (Ahmad Nasai).