Learning to say no is something new parents often struggle with. But how often have you wished you’d been honest with your feelings, instead of playing it nice and ending up overcommitted? Here’s how to deal with these scenarios.
“Can I come over in a few minutes to see your new baby?”
Of course, you want your friends and family to meet your newborn, but avoid over-committing yourself. If a visit doesn’t suit you because, say, you are tired, or your baby is unsettled, or your house is a mess, then politely tell the prospective caller that you are too busy right now.
“Don’t you feel wonderful all the time being a new parent?”
Some new parents feel they are on cloud nine, totally consumed with the excitement of caring for their new baby. For most of us though, those early stages are challenging, tiring and disempowering. You don’t need to pretend that everything is delightful and under control.
“While you are out shopping, could you get me a couple of things?”
Isn’t it annoying when others assume that because you are shopping in the supermarket for your baby, you will be happy to do their “little” shopping as well? Adding those few extra items means more time shopping and more things to carry, both of which you can probably do without.
“Will you look after my child as well because you are at home anyway?”
Resist that reluctant childminder trap. Chances are, your entire attention, energy and resources are consumed by your new baby. Looking after someone else’s child is never straightforward. Just because you are caring for one doesn’t mean you can care for two.
“Aren’t you just dying to get back to work?”
People often assume that you can’t wait till your maternity leave finishes, and that you are desperate to get back to your previous employment. If that’s how you feel, fine. But if you are having a great time at home with your baby, don’t be afraid to say so.
“Are you getting enough sleep?”
You can never get enough sleep as a new parent. The 24/7 demands drain your physical energy, and even when you do sleep, you are likely to be woken up prematurely by your baby’s cries. Anyone who asks you that question doesn’t understand the stress of new parenting.
“Have you thought about when you’ll have your next one?”
You’ll probably simply laugh at that question because you are so absorbed with this baby that you have had no time to consider the next one. Anyway, even if you did think about a second child, it’s far too early to start making plans. You need time to adjust before thinking that far ahead.
(Also read: Can you afford to have another child?)
“Are you getting enough help?”
Like it is with sleep, you can never get enough help when you are a new parent. A second pair of hands is always welcome, whether it is helping you directly with baby care, giving you a short rest break, or doing a household chore for you. Always be prepared to accept support if it is offered.
(Also read: How not to fight with mum-in-law over weaning Baby)
“Do you feel confident as a new parent?”
Increasing your parenting skills is a steep learning curve. You’ll need lots of time and experience before you feel confident in managing your baby – there is so much to learn. And just when you think you’ve got it right, your baby moves into the next phase of development.
“Have you all adapted well to your new family life?”
The new baby’s arrival changes the lives of everyone in your family. Some take more time to adapt than others. It’s not reasonable to expect that everyone in your family has made the adjustment so quickly.