7 Survival Tips for Any New Parent
As an author, podcaster and public speaker, Amber Trueblood brings clarity and inspiration to busy moms. In addition to running her own personal development brand, Amber has an MBA, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and is the mother of four homeschooled boys between ages 8 and 13. She has developed a variety of tools to reduce overwhelm and increase fulfillment in daily life. You may have heard of her debut book, Stretch Marks: A Self-Development Tool for Mothers Who Are Being Stretched in Every Direction.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Amber. There are truly so many topics that Amber could speak on, but we narrowed in on her 7 tips for helping a new parent survive. Seasoned parents don’t be turned-off – Amber’s tips can help you at any phase of your parenting. They are all great, helpful tips that will help you and your children live at your fullest and happiest potential. Let’s get to the tips:
Tip 1 – Get Restorative Sleep
Getting sleep may seem like a no-brainer, or an impossible task to parents of newborns. There’s a ton of research on how important sleep is, but not a lot of information on exactly HOW to get that sleep. But, Emily came up with 3 simple and easy ways to help yourself get a little more, and more high quality, sleep. First, she suggests unplugging 60-90 minutes before bed so you can signal to your brain and body that it’s time for rest. Second, she suggests resetting your body before bed with a routine, whether that’s stretching, a hot shower or a physical act that separates your busy day and your restful sleep. Last, she advises to reset your brain before bed with breathing, meditation, writing in a journal or praying – whatever you can do to put your mind at ease. Don’t be dismayed – your bedtime routine doesn’t need to take an hour. You can stretch for 2 minutes, meditate for 3 minutes – and be ready for bed in just 5!
Tip 2 – Find Ways to Be Emotionally Supported
It’s hard to feel good in any area of your life if you’re not coming from a place of self-kindness and self-honesty. This can be especially hard for new parents. Find ways to support yourself through self-kindness – if you are coming from a place of judgement and shame, it’s really hard to grow from there and move forward. Also, reach outward towards other support systems like friends. Women need 20 minutes a day of connecting with other women to feel emotionally connected. Amber warns against staying away from the “vampires” who suck your energy or the “zombies” in forms of scrolling through your phone on newsfeeds.
Tip 3 – Communicate Your Needs More Effectively
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone around us could read our minds when it comes to needing help? Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and we need to learn how to better communicate that we need help. If you need something specific as a new parent, overwhelmed parent, etc. – ask specifically for it! Be direct, specific, and most importantly, be genuinely appreciative of the help when given. Amber and I both share examples from times in our lives when we were struggling and hoped that someone would just show up to save the day. Of course, that never happened and we had to learn to ask for help in order to receive it.
Tip 4 – Take Care of Your Body
When you’re a new parent, it can be easy to feel like your body doesn’t belong to you. But, it’s yours and you need to take care of it! Be kind to your body when it comes to eating – don’t restrict yourself or feel like you need to eat “perfectly”. Doing this will only cause you to feel like you’re failing, and give up on any good habits formed. Amber shares a great mantra that she repeated to herself when struggling with her body after having 4 kids: “I’m so thankful that I eat and drink and breathe in a way that’s healthiest for this body.”
Tip 5 – Keep a Small Part of Yourself Alive
Amber shares an amazing analogy between motherhood and a sourdough starter with this tip. She shared that there comes a time when you’re raising kids that you look around and think “who am I?” It’s so easy to lose ourselves in parenthood and not keep anything that makes us feel truly alive. Amber encourages you to find something that makes YOU light up and that is just for your own enjoyment – no one else’s. While this “spark” might not always have room to be a full fire in your life, it’s important to always keep a spark of it in your heart and mind.
Tip 6 – Know When to Get Serious Help
If you are struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety or rage, you are not alone. These issues get missed a lot by health care professionals, because you are the only one who truly knows how you are feeling. Even if you think you’re only struggling a little, there’s no harm in just reaching out and speaking with your medical provider to get a grasp on the situation and your options for help. Remember, you are the only one who knows how you’re feeling, so be completely honest with your provider to get the right help.
Tip 7 – Give Yourself Permission to be Imperfect
When you’re struggling as a parent, it seems that everyone else is doing it perfectly. But that’s never the case. Just because someone may seem that they have it all together, doesn’t mean that they aren’t also struggling. Give yourself the space for imperfection. The most likeable, fun, people to be around are people who live in their imperfections. To be clear, Amber doesn’t suggest you mope in your imperfection, but celebrate it, acknowledge it, then move along. Imperfection facilitates connection, bonding and closeness.