Being a new parent is one of the best jobs there is, but it’s also one of the hardest and most stressful. There are so many things to consider, including the big things, such as how to ensure your child stays safe and healthy, and smaller details, such as finding the time to clean the house.
When you’re a parent with a disability, it can be even more difficult to worry about taking care of anything other then the baby, but it’s important not to lose sight of your own needs and health concerns.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to balance self-care with your child’s care, from taking naps at the same time to enlisting help in getting chores and errands done. No one can do everything alone, and when it comes to having a new baby in the house, it’s imperative to keep in mind that you won’t be doing either one of you any favors if you are completely exhausted.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to balance self-care with the care of your newborn.
Self-Care Tips and Ideas for Parents with Disabilities
Ask for help
Many new parents are ashamed to ask for help because they feel it indicates that they can’t live up to the myth of the “perfect parent.” The truth is that there is no perfect parent; everyone is just doing the best they can. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to getting things done, especially during the first few weeks your child is home.
Sleep at the same time as your baby
This can be tricky to maneuver, especially when it’s time for you or your partner to go back to work, but it’s important to try to get on the same schedule. There are some training techniques that have been beneficial for some parents when it comes to finding the same circadian rhythm as their newborn; these might help. Being able to get some good rest–especially in the first few weeks–will help you handle anything that comes your way.
Get in a workout
It may sound completely out of the question, but many new parents feel much better if they can get in a short workout each day. If you have a physical disability and limited mobility, you might practice chair yoga or do a quick arm workout to your favorite music while the baby naps. Incorporating an activity with something you already enjoy doing will help you stay physically healthy, and it can boost your mood and your energy level too. Don’t feel pressured to get to the gym for an hour; breaking up a workout into two fifteen-minute increments is just as good for you, and will be easier to maintain.
Take safety precautions and consider modifications
While you won’t have to worry about baby-proofing your home for a little while, there are some precautions you can take to ensure that your home is safe and sound and meets your own needs while you’re taking care of your little one. This might mean adding skid-free mats in the kitchen and bathroom, or placing a grab-bar in the bathtub for easier use while bathing the baby. Think about your specific needs and which modifications might work best for you.
Balancing self-care and all the other responsibilities that come with being a new parent can be difficult at times, but with a good plan and some help from your friends and loved ones, you can make sure both you and your baby are well taken care of.
Article written by Ashley Taylor of disabledparents.org