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Coping with Daily Tasks

posted Mar 24, 2014, 10:39 AM by AndrewandSarah Witzel
Ideally, a new mom will have enough support to be able to focus on caring for herself and her baby instead of about household chores or errands. Unfortunately, women are often on the hook for these sort of responsibilities even shortly after giving birth, due to partners returning to work, lack of family nearby to help, or being a single parent, for example. For mothers dealing with perinatal mood disorders, this feels even more overwhelming. I have a few suggestions to make dealing with daily tasks a little bit  easier.

Lower your standards - I stopped matching up socks after my daughter was born. Ironing? Not a chance. I still don’t dust very often, even though my child is now a toddler. Not everyone is ok with slightly wrinkly clothes or grimy shelves, but it is not realistic to maintain all the standards that you held before. If you had arthritis or another physical condition, this would seem obvious, but people with mental health conditions often feel that they should be able to do more than they can.

Simplify your errands - A quick trip to the store is no longer simple with a fussy baby in tow! Many items, such as prescriptions and even groceries, can often be delivered right to your house. When do you go out, stock up on staples.

Do a bit at a time - If the idea of washing a whole sink of dishes feels overwhelming, wash just one or two. It is easy to fall into an “all-or-nothing” mentality, but that mindset can be destructive, driving you into a cycle of guilt and procrastination.

Work while the baby is awake  - When my daughter was a young baby, I had not yet discovered babywearing (see my post on that topic here). As a consequence, I got very  little done while she was awake (which felt like most of the time!) and felt like I needed to work while she slept, because otherwise we would have no clean dishes or laundry. Put your baby in a sling or carrier (remember it is not safe to work with chemicals or at the stove while babywearing) and take naptime to take care of yourself.