Sunday, November 21, 2004

Who comes up with these ideas?

When I logged on this morning, I saw this on the AOL parenting page..'New Mom Stress Busters--6 Strategies to make you feel calmer, fast!'

I'm still LOL.  Here they are, and what I think of them:

1)  Break a sweat:  "Exercise for 20 min a day or more can reduce stress and build confidence."  Followed by 'easy' ways to fit these 20 minutes in like:  walking with hubby and baby in stroller, joining a mommy n me exercise class or new mom yoga classes.

What are they thinking?  Any new mom I've ever spoken with, given the choice of walking with hubby and baby OR taking a nap while hubby walks baby is gonna sleep.  Or shower.  Or take this time to clean the artwork the older toddler has left all over the house while she's been bonding with the new baby.  Or work on her hand-stamped, calligraphy baby announcements, the ones she vowed to send out immediately after the cherub's arrival but still sit on her dresser 4 months later.

2) Get out:  Plan a regular activity that gets you out of the house.  Have hubby, a relative or a sitter watch your baby (don't forget to pump a bottle if you're nursing) and join a book or cooking club.

There are several problems with this one.  A regular activity that gets you out of the house...hmm, let me see.  Grocery shopping?  Picking up other kids from school?  Football practice?  The weekly jaunt to Target to get more diapers, more wipes, and tp?  Have your hubby or a relative or a sitter watch the baby...Um, ok.  "How long do you think you'll be?" is usually the first question asked of you, and you grit your teeth, so he says "not that I'm saying you have to rush" and it pisses you off so you take jr along anyway, and then ALL the kids want to come, so you let them, and there you are, in the tp aisle at Target, with a screaming newborn while your milk lets down, wrecking the crappy tshirt you are wearing, and the other kids have gone running down the aisle to the toy section and you hear the inevitable crash that you know you will ultimately be responsible for as you realize that said hubby is home, recharging by taking a nap.

Don't forget to pump a bottle of if you could forget that you are lactating when the random baby in the store starts crying and you make a mad dash for the bathroom in hopes to stem the coming tide.  Just consider yourself lucky if your baby WILL take a last two kids wouldn't and it was hellish for anyone involved to take care of them.  So barring work, they went with me (and still do) EVERYWHERE.  Join a book or cooking club...yeah, I think reading while the baby sleeps and whipping up coq au vin are the first things on a new mom's mind.  Can you say Domino's?  I think that # was on speed dial at one time...

3) Eat.  Poor nutrition can sap your energy level and increase stress.  This one included tips like have the whole family load the fridge up with healthy snacks and drinks (so you can grab a meal while you are caring for the baby the next day) and putting a mini fridge in the 'nursery' so you could store more healthy snacks and leftover formula or breast milk.  And nursing moms should avoid dieting because it could 'compromise' the quality of breast milk.

They must not realize that to a toddler, a healthy snack can be anything from string cheese to the leftover cheerio they find under the couch.  Grab a meal while taking care of the baby the next day...I remember staying up all night with one of them and then grabbing a poptart and glass of milk while he slept in my arms, and downing it like I'd been stranded on a desert island.  Put a mini fridge in the nursery...What, are we all living in houses that are so large we can't make it to the kitchen?  The 'nursery' in our house was the spare bedroom. And obviously, this missive about nursing moms not dieting because it will compromise the quality of breast milk, is a little off the mark.  If you are nursing, the first six weeks or so involve some of the most intense hunger and thirst known to man.  Seriously, you could drink gallons of water and still want more, and you are starving pretty much all the time.  I don't think dieting is the first thing on anyone's mind at that point, unless you are a Victoria's Secret model and it's time to go back to work.  The only thing sapping your energy is the little being determined to suck the life force out of you.

4) Pamper yourself.  Get someone to watch the baby while you schedule a manicure or facial.  Or you can hit the makeup counter where the sales reps are usually happy to give you a free makeover.  OR if you can't get away, shut your bath and bedroom doors and take a LONG, steamy aromatherapy shower.

Okay, say you do find someone to watch the baby.  You probably won't have remembered to schedule that manicure or facial "No, ma'am, there's no appointment here for Mrs. Jones.  Hey, wait a minute.  It's NEXT Tuesday, not today Tuesday..."  As for the make up counter makeover, have they not seen some of the over the top women (and I've seen guys too) staffing said counters?  "Look, honey, I got a free makeover."  is not so appealing when you come home looking like a retired Las Vegas showgirl and you need a paint scraper to recover your face.  A long, steamy aromatherapy shower?  You better hope that your doors are reinforced, because they won't stay closed for long if they aren't...I still frequently come out of the shower, only to find fingers sliding under the door to announce the presence on the other side, and that's just my husband!  A long shower...hmmm, would that be the shower that is long enough that you could shave BOTH legs and underarms without interruption, or are we talking just long enough to let your body see the water before someone comes charging in with an emergency?

5) Enjoy date night at home.

HA! HA!!HA!!!  So you get everyone in bed early, and manage to light a candle or two.  Dinner is good, and you may even be conversing comes "I need some water" "I can't sleep" "I need to go to the bathroom" "What was that noise?" "Can you tuck me in again?" "That smells good, can I have some?"  "Why were you laughing?"

Date night at home...are you kidding me???

6)  If you get overwhelmed with stress, you can and should seek professional help/counseling.

Could it be considered 'professional' help to put in whatever video is the favorite of the moment?  Before my first was born, I swore I'd never, ever resort to this.  But then I discovered that it might buy me a half hour of sanity to let him watch Barney.  And I let him watch.  We've now graduated to the root of all evil, the video game, and now I referee whoever is feeling he didn't get his turn (UGH) but a few minutes peace, is well, a few minutes peace.

And there's always that bottle of tequila when all else fails.

Perhaps I am wrong in the assumption that people who write for parenting pages are actually parents, and not some 20- something writer doing his/her time until they get a real job.  But you know what they say about assuming... 

 Calmer?  I'd have settled for showered, rested, fed, and no knockdown, drag-out fights to settle.  Calmer would have been the bonus!!

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